How Many Legs Do Cockroaches Have? Roach Guide And Facts

Christian Mba
Feb 29, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
Male Madagascar hissing cockroach
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

It is common knowledge that it is hard to get rid of cockroach infestations in homes; an insect, like a cockroach, can be a real nuisance for any household.

Cockroaches, the most common insects found in houses, are known to search for food in garbage bins, sewers, and food storage. Cockroaches have been on this planet for millions of years and have successfully adapted themselves to survive every environmental challenge they face.

You might be surprised, but there are 4,000 species of cockroaches out there. If we look at the anatomy of a cockroach, they have an oval body with long antennae. Many adult cockroaches have wings capable of making them fly, yet only a few cockroaches are seen flying.

A cockroach's life cycle has three stages. Depending on the species of the cockroach, they can lay anywhere between 16-50 eggs. Interestingly, a cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes underwater and still survive; these insects are known to hold their breath for a long time while maintaining the functions of their bodies. They can run at a fast speed in a forward direction as well.

Read further to know about how many legs cockroaches have. Afterward, also read how many legs do ladybugs have and how many legs do lobsters have!

What do cockroach legs look like?

There are many insects known to climb ceilings using their legs, but how would you identify a cockroach from all of those? There are many ways in which the legs of cockroaches stand out.

Cockroach legs are unique. In general, cockroaches' legs are spiny, slender, and have a joint. They look like an average insect's legs if we go by their number. Their legs are divided into three pairs of legs, and each of these is attached to a segment of the cockroach: the thorax, the abdomen, or the torso part of the cockroach's body.

The cockroach's three pairs of legs have different names and purposes for the body of the cockroach. The pair of legs located behind the small head is called the prothoracic legs, which help the cockroach to slow itself down. They are the shortest legs of its body. The pair of legs located in the middle is called mesothoracic legs, which help the insect speed up and speed down as required. The pair of back legs is called metathoracic legs, which is the cockroach's strong pair of hind legs.

Back legs or hind legs gain speed when the roach is moving in a forward direction. As roaches walk, they move their middle leg on one side, with the front and back legs moving to the opposite side. They alternate their steps in this way which allows them to control their movement and grants them the ability to climb walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.

If you know about the legs of cockroaches, you can easily identify them from other insects when they are climbing the walls of your house.

How many legs do cockroaches have?

Cockroaches are insects that belong to the order of Blattodea. The legs of cockroaches are complex; each cockroach leg has a spine attached to it as well.

The anatomy of cockroaches, according to scientists, suggests that cockroaches have a flat, oval body, a small head, and these pests have six legs in total. Their body has been clearly divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen.

A lot of cockroaches have developed the ability to fly, thanks to their wings. So, the answer to how many legs do cockroaches have is six legs; cockroaches have six legs that are capable of some unique things that the legs of other insects cannot do. They help cockroaches to run at the speed of 3 mph (4.8 kph) in your house, which is not possible for many other insects.

Cockroaches can regrow their lost legs, but this pest cannot regrow its head if chopped off. Like many other insects such as beetles and ants, cockroaches possess a regeneration ability, but it takes a variable period of time for a cockroach to redevelop its lost leg. Like beetles and other insects, a roach's body can survive and continue living their normal life even if they lose one or two legs. Even if they lose more than two legs, they can still survive; the only issue would be the time needed to regrow the limbs they lose. Even if they lose an entire pair of their legs, it would have no impact on the life span of the insect, and they would continue to live up to their normal age.

You might think that if cockroaches lose legs, they will bleed and die, but that is not the case with roaches. Insects like cockroaches have a circulatory system, which ensures the blood inside their body does not face any pressure. So even if they lose two or more legs, they would not bleed out as other animals would. The circulatory system helps them with a loss like this.

Cockroach on wooden surface.

Do all cockroach species have the same legs?

All species of cockroaches have six legs which allow these insects to search garbage bins for food and to climb the walls of your house.

There are multiple roach species out there. The German cockroach is known for being the most common species in the world. They have a length of about 0.5-0.6 in (13-16 mm), and they usually have a lifespan which is around 12 months.

American cockroaches, one of the largest cockroach species, have a yellow band-like marking around their shield head. American cockroaches have a two-year-long lifespan which is more than many other species of cockroaches.

Brown-banded cockroaches grow up to 0.5 in (13 mm), and only the males of this species have the ability to fly using their wings. These bugs have a lifespan of about 11 months which is short compared to other bugs of this species.

You might want to know what the difference between a roach and a cockroach is. Both of them have an appearance similar to that of a beetle and have long antennae attached to their body. When someone talks about a roach, they refer to all species of cockroaches, whereas cockroach refers to a particular species of the order to which cockroaches belong. Roaches are the same as cockroaches; it's just that the term roaches sees too much usage these days.

The question of how many legs cockroaches have does not change with different species of roaches.

Male Vs. Female Cockroaches

According to pest control experts, there are multiple ways in which male and female cockroaches differentiate.

Size is one of those things which you will instantly see a difference in when looking at male and female roaches, and this difference comes from the fact that they need different space for their reproductive organs.

The larger cockroach is generally the female, and the smaller one is a male roach. Male roaches can fly, whereas females do not possess this ability. Male roaches have styli, whereas the female roach does not have styli. Female cockroaches are seen with other groups of roaches, and they have a habit of pushing male roaches out of the group. Male cockroaches do not form groups and remain in solidarity.

Their gender does not really matter; if you see a cockroach infestation in your house, getting pest control in is necessary.

Even after conducting various studies, researchers still can't unanimously say if cockroaches are capable of feelings or not, so don't worry about whether they'll feel bad if you call the pest control people.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'How many legs do cockroaches have?', then why not take a look at 'How many legs do scorpions have?' or 'Cockroach facts'.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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