Stripy Cockroach Looking Bug With Tail
March 2, 2010
I found these 2 little bugs nesting happily underneath a computer on top of a plastic box. They were a pair, one with a long smooth hard black tail thing and the other without one. I’ve never seen anything like them before, can you tell me what they are? They look a little like trippy cockroaches to me. The house they were in is on the mountain, with the surrounding terrain mostly in it’s natural fynbos state. The room itself has a lot of damp in the walls which perhaps they like.
Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa
These are definitely Cockroaches, and not the species that are normally associated with home infestations. They are actually quite pretty. The tail on the one specimen is actually an ootheca or egg case. In many species of Cockroaches, the female carries the ootheca about until she finds a suitable location for it. We recently posted an image of Cape Mountain Cockroaches from South Africa, but your species is different. While attempting to unsuccessfully identify your species, we stumbled upon the All Pet Roaches page on Angelfire, though your species is not pictured. Perhaps one of our readers can assist in this identification.
Daniel and Jo:
They look like Cape Zebra Cockroaches (Temnopteryx phalerata). According to Wikipedia the Cape Zebra Cockroach is “is endemic to the Fynbos biome of the Western Cape province of South Africa”. The Field Guide to Insects of South Africa has a brief write-up and a photo if you scroll down. According to the Field Guide there are six other similar Temnopteryx species, all endemic to South Africa, so it could actually be another species in the genus. Regards.