Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Periplaneta americana - American Cockroach

American Cockroach - Periplaneta americana American? - Periplaneta americana - male American? - Periplaneta americana - male Atypical variation - Periplaneta americana - female Atypical variation - Periplaneta americana - female Flying insect in home - Periplaneta americana Galveston roach - Periplaneta americana American Cockroach - Periplaneta americana
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Blattodea (Cockroaches and Termites)
Superfamily Blattoidea
Family Blattidae
Genus Periplaneta
Species americana (American Cockroach)
Other Common Names
Palmetto Bug
Size
38 mm.
Identification
The four species of Periplaneta cockroaches found in the US are easily confused. See the distinguishing characteristics of these species on the Periplaneta page.

Adults have wings and will occasionally fly. However, they are awkward fliers and prefer to run when disturbed. Males and females are about the same size and look very similar. Both have a pair of cerci, finger-like appendages, at the tips of their abdomens. The cerci are used to detect air currents in the cockroach's surroundings. In American cockroaches, the cerci are long and tapered which helps to distinguish it from other Periplaneta species.


Male cockroaches have an additional set of appendages called styli on their abdomens. The styli are located between the cerci but are smaller and more delicate. The presence of styli is the easiest way to distinguish male from female cockroaches.


Immature American cockroaches resemble adults, except they are wingless.


The American cockroach egg capsules are mahogany brown and about 1/3 inch long.
Remarks
They are significant pests throughout the world. They are not native to the Americas at all. They come from tropical Africa. They were probably transported to the Americas on slave ships.