Cockroaches Have Individual Personalities

Some are shy; others love to explore, researchers say
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2015 6:10 AM CST
Cockroaches Have Individual Personalities
This cockroach could either be an explorer or a shy guy.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Before you spray that bottle of Raid, take a minute to consider: You could be killing a brave little fellow, or perhaps a shy one. That's according to new research indicating that "cockroaches have personalities," as scientists say in a statement. Specifically, they have two, the Guardian reports: Some are what researchers classify as "shy or cautious" while others are "bold or explorers." How do you determine a cockroach's character? Just look at how it behaves when it's released into an open area.

Some cockroaches will quickly head for shelter; others will focus on "exploring the surroundings" and will "spend less time sheltered," lead author Isaac Planas Sitjà tells the Guardian. The researchers reached their findings by attaching small radio ID chips to hundreds of cockroaches and tracking their movements in a controlled environment, Science reports. Though they varied in their approach to finding shelter, they eventually all ended up in the same place. That shows that "there is a collective dynamic—a social influence—that dilutes the individual personality differences," Planas Sitjà tells Science. (A recent incident in Chicago proves cockroaches can definitely be arrogant.)

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