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Giant burrowing cockroach
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Blattodea
Family: Blaberidae
Genus: Macropanesthia
Species: M. rhinoceros
Binomial name
Macropanesthia rhinoceros
Saussure, 1895

The giant burrowing cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) is also known as the rhinoceros cockroach and litter bug. They are native to Australia and mostly found in tropical parts of Queensland. Some people like to keep them as pets and describe them as easy to care for, although they are somewhat difficult to obtain outside of Australia. They are the world's heaviest species of cockroach (although not the largest by length) and can weigh up to 35 g (1.2 oz)[1][2] and measure up to 80 mm (3.1 in)[1] in length. They can live for up to 10 years.[2] Unlike some other cockroaches, they do not have wings and are not considered pests. The cockroach plays a vital part in the ecosystem by consuming dead leaves, eucalyptus in particular, and recycling other matter. True to their name, they may burrow down in soil to a depth of about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in)[1] where they make a permanent home. Males and females can be differentiated by the "scoop" on the head; the male has the scoop and the female does not. They grow by shedding their outer shell 12 or 13 times before the cockroach reaches full size. When a cockroach moults it will appear pure white except for the eyes. The species is ovoviviparous.


  1. ^ a b c The rhinoceros a pet?
  2. ^ a b "Pet facts: giant burrowing cockroaches". Retrieved October 2005.  

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