A new Belgium study has revealed that, similar to humans and other animals, cockroaches have personalities and thus exhibit complex personality traits, such as shyness or bravery.
The study was performed by scientists at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, who found that cockroaches have personality traits and can be eager to explore their environment, be bold or reluctant and shy. The researchers studied the creepy crawlers and how they seek shelter when exposed to light. For the experiment, the species Periplaneta Americana was studied. The results of their study were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Isaac Planas-Sitja, PhD student at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and lead author of the study, said that the Periplaneta Americana cockroaches are simple creatures capable of making complex decisions. He continued:
So with little information, with little interactions, only knowing if I have a partner here or not, only with this information, they can make complex decisions.
For the study, researchers attached tiny radio tags to the back of the cockroaches to track their every movement. Then, the insects were loaded inside a corral with two shelters and were subjected to a very bright light. The scientists wanted to observe which creatures scattered to find shade and which ones stayed to explore their surroundings before trying to find shade.
Amazingly, they found that there were some shy individuals who explored the arena less than bold individuals. They also spend more time sheltered, as opposed to bold ones who spent more time in the bright lights. Every time the experiment got recreated, the same cockroaches reacted in the exact same way.
The interesting thing about this cockroach social experiment wasn’t just the find that there are shy and bold individuals, but that the personality of some cockroaches can influence the whole group. Planas-Sitja said that in the end, they all reach the same consensus.
So, what is the significance of this experiment and its findings? The authors of the study believe that finding that a group of cockroaches having both exploring and bold individuals as well as shy ones, will help people understand why cockroaches are so resilient and so well adapted to surviving in various environments.
Image Source: Structurae