Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cockroaches Have Personalities Too

The cockroach is my favourite insect although ruthless humans have no qualms to squish, squash and stamp on it when it is sighted. But the next time a cockroach approaches you, please think twice before whacking it to death.

Believe it or not, they’re better than humans, especially those vermin that are disguised as BN politicians.

Sure, cockroaches may be yecchy to many – although I wish to disagree – but according to scientists from the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, they have “personality”.

Entomologists have discovered that cockroaches have individual character traits. Okay, they may not be as smart as you and I – but then again, I cannot be 100% certain that this is true – but researchers were fascinated when they observed the way the insect behaves when it is out in the open.

For the study, 304 four-month-old male American cockroaches – Periplaneta Americana – were fitted with RFID tags on their thoraxes and placed in an enclosed area with both well-lit and shaded sections.

In this one-week study, the scientists noted that some of the creepy-crawlies were more apt to check out their surroundings and hunt for food, while others quickly sought shelter in the darker areas – and stayed put.

"Shy individuals are those that spend more time sheltered and explore less the arena or the surroundings", explained Isaac Planas Sitjà, the lead author of the study. Naturally, adventurous and intrepid cockroaches have better chances in finding extra food. But that also means their risks of being preyed upon increase simultaneously.

The roaches showed consistent "shy" or "bold" behavior. In the end, however, herd mentality won out. All of the roaches – including the bold explorers – eventually bunched together with other members of their group beneath the same shelter.

“There is a collective dynamic – a social influence – that dilutes the individual personality differences”, Planas-Sitjà said. “So in the group, you end up with a similar behavior (as) everyone”.

In any case, different personalities are thought to help the survival of the species because by driving different behavior it increases the chances of at least some surviving when disaster strikes. 

The study was published online February 04, 2015 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

And the next time when you are tempted to call somebody a cockroach, please stop insulting the bug. It is not that stupid. It has a personality.

Did I hear somebody say that they know a Toastmaster who is a cockroach? Hmmm, I suppose he or she was referring to me. Not to worry – I consider it a compliment.

On Tuesday, I was at the Money Mastery Toastmasters meeting in Petaling Jaya and I delivered a humorous speech titled “No Woman No Cry”, i.e. CC speech #6. 

I was evaluated by Haji Hashim Adnan. The latter also presented an Advanced speech and I was tasked to evaluate him. In fact, I was voted Best Speaker and he was voted Best Evaluator! 

BTW, my score for this meeting is a 7 over 10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting take on cockroaches. Guess the groupthink mentality happens to animals as well.#surprised #intrigued #Iwhackemwheniseethem