When I first saw this bug, with its red back and gold sparkles, I thought for sure it was a beetle. But it turns out, it only resembles a beetle. It is in fact a cockroach, which left me with slightly less warm thoughts about it.
But it turns out that the Pacific beetle cockroach is quite interesting. It’s one of a few that are viviparous, meaning that it gives birth to live offspring. A couple of years ago, this cockroach was in the news because the ‘milk’ it feeds its young is a more complete food than cow’s milk and was being touted as the next superfood. Not that cockroach dairies were about to be set up, but the thought was that the protein crystals in the milk could be reproduced in labs.
This hasn’t happened yet, but who knows. I bet Gwyneth Paltrow is out there, milking cockroaches, even as I post this.
Thanks to Hawai’i Insect Identification for help in identifying the Pacific beetle cockroach. For more information about Hawai’i Insect Identification, go to flickr.com/groups/hawaii-insect-id/pool/.