Last week I wrote about the top ten new species of 2011, and was pretty impressed by the disgusting 2-inch leech found up a girl’s nose in Peru. What I didn’t pay as much attention to was the discovery of jumping cockroaches which are perhaps not as disgusting by are still near the top of things you just don’t want to discover as a new species!
Imagine turning on the kitchen light for a drink in the middle of the night and seeing cockroaches scurrying under skirting boards and under your fridge! Now imagine the same scenario but with them bouncing up around you! Apparently they can jump “many times their own height“! I think I’d never go near a kitchen again in my life!
The new roach species was discovered in 2006 near Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa, studied and a science paper was published last year in Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny (click this link for the PDF version of the scientific paper) announcing the discovery of “Saltoblattella montistabularis” (the name means “jumping small cockroach, Table mountain”). In the science paper they discuss the morphological differences between the new species and the common cockroach, and also an extinct species of jumping cockroach.
The “leaproach”, as it’s been nicknamed, was found by South African zoologists Mike Picker and Jonathan Colville inside the Table Mountain National Park while sweeping for flies for a research project. They thought the jumping bug was an unusual grasshopper, but in the lab noticed it was something much rarer… a jumping roach! Let’s see it in all its glory, in a picture taken from the science paper…