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Top 10 - 2011

Jumping Cockroach

(Male Saltoblattella montistabularis prior to take off; male; female - images courtesy of Mike Picker)

Name: Saltoblattella montistabularis

Common Name:  Leaproach

Family:  Blattellidae

How it made the Top 10:  This new species of cockroach exhibits unusual morphology.  It has legs that are highly modified for jumping. Prior to its discovery jumping cockroaches were only known from the Late Jurassic. This extant cockroach has jumping ability that is on par with grasshoppers. In addition to the leg modifications, it has hemispherical shaped eyes that protrude from the sides of the head instead of kidney shaped and the antennae have an additional fixation point to help stabilize them during jumping.

Reference:  Bohn, H., M. Picker, K.-D. Klass and J. Colville. 2010. A jumping cockroach from South Africa, Saltoblattella montistabularis, gen. nov., spec. nov. (Blattodea: Blattellidae). Arthropod Systematics and Phylogeny 68(1):53-39.

Type Material:  Holotype - South African Museum (SAM), Cape Town, Republic of South Africa. Paratypes – SAM; Natural History Museum (BMNH), London, UK; Museum für Tierkunde (MTD), Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen, Dresden, Germany and Zoologische Staatssammlung München (ZSM), München, Germany.

Type Locality:  South Africa, Western Cape Province, Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve, 34°04′30″S 18°23′55″E.

Etymology:  Saltoblattella is the Latin translation of “jumping small cockroach”. The species name refers to “Mons tabularis”, the old Latin name of Table Mountain near Cape Town where the species has been found; montistabularis is the genitive of “Mons tabularis” and therefore indeclinable.

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