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Death’s head cockroach

Blaberus craniifer

death's head cockroach

The death’s head cockroach is also known as the giant deaths head cockroach. They are called this as it has a black skull on its dorsal plate (head) that resembles a skull plus its black wings which are like a cloak. They are flat making it easier to hide; although they do have wings they can not fly nor can they climb smooth surfaces. 

The female lays up to 30 eggs, once they hatch the nymphs stay under ground for the first few weeks. The young will mould several times before they finally grow their wings.

This species is not aggressive but do give off a mild odour if frightened. They are quick to move and detect movement in the air through their legs and antennae. These insects are nocturnal animals who scavenge for their food. The death’s head cockroach has an enormous appetite and eat half their body weight in one sitting.


  • Animal Class: invertebrate (insect)

  • Habitat: I am found on forest floors in amongst the leaves and dead wood.

  • Diet: I will eat basically anything making me an omnivore.

  • Size: I can be up to 8cms in length and 3cms wide.

  • Location: I am found in Central America and south Florida

  • Conservation status: The IUCN has not yet evaluated the status of this cockroach sue to its large numbers.

  • Threats: The main threat is habitat loss and degradation.

  • Current population: unknown

  • Zoo population: unknown

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature