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.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.