Why Is A Cockroach Called A Cockroach – History of Roaches

Everyone knows what a cockroach is. They are one of the most unnerving pests a household can have. They are expert scavengers who you’ll occasionally find scurrying across your kitchen at night as they are looking for food sources. But when you think about it, why is a cockroach called a cockroach?

why is a cockroach called a cockroach

Why Is A Cockroach Called A Cockroach?

Cockroach is definitely an interesting name, especially for English speakers. But the word cockroach derives from Spain and the Spanish name of “Cucaracha”. This term has been around since the early 1600s. When the English became more familiar with these insects, the name quickly transitioned to what we now know as Cockroaches.

How Long Have Cockroaches Existed?

Scientists don’t know the exact year that cockroaches first existed, but we do know they’ve been around for quite a long time! The first sign of cockroaches was over 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous Era. Although these ancient cockroaches are slightly different than modern-day cockroaches, they are of the same family and descendants.

Since the Carboniferous Era, there have been many species of cockroaches that have come and gone. That being said, most modern cockroaches are actually larger in size than the prehistoric cockroaches!

How Cockroaches Have Changed Since Prehistoric Times:

Modern cockroaches and prehistoric cockroaches come from the same family so they look relatively similar to each other. That being said there are a few key differences:

  • Prehistoric cockroaches featured a tube live ovipositor that helped them lay eggs, and modern cockroaches don’t feature those parts. You might be wondering, do cockroaches lay eggs when killed?
  • Prehistoric cockroaches were actually much smaller than modern-day cockroaches!

Final Thoughts On The Origin Of Cockroaches Name:

As an English speaker, the name cockroach can be quite confusing and maybe even concerning. That being said, the name has nothing to do with the common slang name of human anatomy.

The origin of cockroach comes from the Spanish name of Cucaracha, and as the English became more familiar with this term, it got translated into Cockroach!

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!