The giant burrowing cockroach


Though the size of a small mouse, Macropanesthia rhinoceros is a harmless – and valued – member of the ecosystem.


The giant burrowing cockroach is found in tropical Queensland.
The giant burrowing cockroach is found in tropical Queensland.
CSIRO

The giant burrowing cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) looks like a monster but is in fact a harmless creature. The gentle giant lacks wings and is not regarded as a pest.

The Australian native, mainly found in tropical parts of Queensland, is one of the largest cockroach species in the world, with individuals weighing up to 35 g and reaching 8 cm in length. (The only real competition for the title of biggest cockroach is Blaberus giganteus, the Central American giant cave cockroach, which weighs a little less but grows a little longer.)

The creatures make their homes by burrowing down about 1 m into soil, and play a vital ecological role by consuming dead leaves and other matter.

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