Indian Domino Cockroach

Indian Domino Cockroach Therea petiveriana

Type of Animal:

Under/amongst leaf litter/loose soil in scrub forests & dry shrub forests

S India & Sri Lanka

Black to blackish-gray w/ white spots, looking like a domino, orange-yellow abdomen upperside (hidden by leathery front wings), similar coloration to six-spot ground beetle but more compact, males have longer hairier antennae & smaller than females, females have short straight antennae

Decaying organic matter (both plant & animal-based), rotting vegetation, leaf litter, fruits, vegetables, carrion, cereals, kitchen scraps

Status in Wild:

Habitat monitoring/preservation, captive breeding to reduce collection from wild

Colonies usually number from 50-700

Additional Info:

Young: Nymph
Group: Colony

40 days

Life Span:
11-26 months

Male: 0.78 in
Female: 1.18 in

Male: 0.78 in
Female: 1.18 in

Also called Seven-Spotted Cockroach & Desert Cockroach.

These insects are active at dawn & dusk (crepuscular) though sometimes active later in evening.

Multiple males follow single female & female mates w/ one, kicking other males away w/ hind legs.

Females produce 1-13 oothecae (egg cases). Each ootheca has 1-16 eggs. Eggs laid in substrate. 

In single hatching, there can be as little as 1 to as many as 208 nymphs hatching.

When nymphs hatch, they stay buried in substrate until reaching maturity at 10 months old.

Play important role as decomposers.

These roaches can be seen as biological indicators of habitat health due to being scrub & shrub forest specialists. Habitats often dry much of year w/ rainfall being concentrated in monsoon season.

These insects have symbiotic flagellates & bacteria in gut to aid in digestion.

They’ll raise wings when alarmed/disturbed.

Communicate w/ each other via pheromones.

Though they have wings, they can’t fly.

Fun Fact(s):
Oothecae (egg cases) look somewhat like poop.

Pattern evolved to mimic the six-spot ground beetle, which sprays chemical irritants. This is defensive mimicry. Unlike the beetle, the roaches don’t have those kinds of defenses. They can, however, secrete much less potent defensive chemicals to warn other roaches of impending danger.

These cockroaches often kept as pets & are very popular w/ insect hobbyists.

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