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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Periplaneta japonica

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.

There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.

Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Periplaneta japonica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Japanese cockroach

The Japanese cockroach (Periplaneta japonica), also known as the Yamato cockroach,[1] is a cockroach native to Japan that is adapted to cooler northern climates.[2][3][4] It has a flexible univoltine or semivoltine (one or two year) lifecycle, depending on the timing of its hatching, and is unusual in being able to spend two winters as diapause nymphs before reaching maturity.[3]

Freeze tolerance[edit]

Nymphs have been observed in the wild hibernating in sub-freezing temperatures during winter months in snow-covered habitats.[5] Overwintering nymphs were able to survive laboratory supercooling experiments in the -5 °C to -8 °C temperature range, enduring twelve hours of tissue freezing,[6] as well as recover from burial in ice.[1] The ability to walk on ice was also found to be unique among several cockroach species tested.[1]


Initial first-instar nymphs are dark brown, with white or brownish white tips of the maxillary and labial palps. Adults measure 25–35 mm in length, and have a shiny, uniformly black to blackish-brown body, with brown tarsi and maxillary and labial palps. The adult male's wings extend slightly beyond the body's length, while the female's wings are around half the body's length.[7]

Unlike most cockroaches, the major hydrocarbon in P. japonica’s cuticular lipids is cis-9-nonacosene.[8] Males have significant amounts of cis-9-heptacosene not found on females.[8] Glucose, myo-inositol, scyllo-inositol and trehalose were found in overwintering nymphs and are thought to be a factor in their freeze tolerance.[6]


Primarily an outdoors species, populations are adaptable to living indoors in houses and buildings where food is stored, prepared, or served.[7][9]


P. japonica nymphs that are alone or in sparse populations accumulate a viscous secretion along its rear dorsal surface, droplets of which it can be splashed some distance toward a threat through a shaking action. A study found that the presence of an aggressive species of ant, Formica exsecta, triggered this defensive response, rendering the ants helpless.[10]

Invasive species[edit]

Originally from Japan, P. japonica has spread to China, Korea and southeast Russia, though it is considered a common pest primarily in central and northern Japan.[4][7][9][11]

The species was found in New York City in 2013, the first time the species was found in the United States.[12] It was found by an exterminator beneath plantings in High Line, a Manhattan park, and was able to survive over a cold winter.[13] Scientists who confirmed the identity of the species through genetic testing theorize that it may have been imported in the soil of ornamental plants used in the park.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Tanaka, S (May 2002). "Temperature acclimation in overwintering nymphs of a cockroach, Periplaneta japonica: walking on ice". Journal of Insect Physiology 48 (5): 571–583. doi:10.1016/s0022-1910(02)00077-x. 
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Life. "Japanese Cockroach - Periplaneta japonica". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  3. ^ a b Tanaka, Seiji; Uemura, Yoshinobu (August 1996). "Flexible Life Cycle of a Cockroach Periplaneta japonica with Nymphal Diapause". Journal of Orthoptera Research (Orthopterists’ Society) (5): 213–219. JSTOR 3503596. 
  4. ^ a b Forman, Rob (9 December 2013). "Cockroach Never Seen Before in U.S. Is Identified in New York". Rutgers Today. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Yuichiro, Tabaru; Atsushi, Kobayashi (1971). "Outdoor hibernation of Periplaneta japonica (Blattaria: Blattidae) in snowy area". Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology (in Japanese with English summary) 22 (2): 76–77. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Tanaka, Kazuhiro; Tanaka, Seiji (October 1997). "Winter Survival and Freeze Tolerance in a Northern Cockroach, Periplaneta japonica (Blattidae : Dictyoptera)". Zoological Science (The Zoological Society of Japan) 14 (5): 849–853. doi:10.2108/zsj.14.849. ISSN 0289-0003. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Robinson, William H. (14 April 2005). Urban Insects and Arachnids: A Handbook of Urban Entomology. Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-521-81253-5. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Morris Rockstein (2 December 2012). The Physiology of Insecta. Elsevier Science. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-323-16157-2. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Resh, Vincent H.; Cardé, Ring T. (22 July 2009). Encyclopedia of Insects. Academic Press. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-08-092090-0. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Ichinose, T; Zennyoji, K (1980). "Defensive behavior of the cockroaches, Periplaneta fuliginosa Serville and P. japonica Karny (Orthoptera: Blattidae) in relation to their viscous secretion". Applied Entomology and Zoology 15 (4): 400–408. ISSN 0003-6862. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Catalogue of Life – 19th November 2013: Species details". Catalogue of Life. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Cockroach that can endure cold moves into NYC". USA Today. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Frishman, Austin M.; Bello, Paul J. The Cockroach Combat Manual II. Author House. p. 8. ISBN 978-1-4918-2064-3. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
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