Morphology and Anatomy of Cockroach

Cockroaches belong to the order Blattodea, the family of Blattidae and the Genus Periplaneta. There are around 4000 different species of cockroach around the world. However, only a few of them can be found in the Indian subcontinent. 

Some of the common species include – German cockroach (Blatella Germanica), American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana), oriental cockroach (Blatta Orientalis) and the brown-banded cockroach (Supari Longipalpa). To know more about the different species of cockroach and their scientific names, refer to our morphology and anatomy of cockroach notes.

Fun Fact: it is said that cockroaches run faster than any other insect.

Morphology and Anatomy of Cockroach 

In this section, you will delve a bit further to examine the morphology and anatomy of cockroach. 

A cockroach has three main body parts, namely the head, thorax, and abdomen. It also has a hard outer-body covering known as the exoskeleton. This exoskeleton is composed of two compounds – cuticulin and chitin. Its function is to provide attachment to muscles and protect the internal organs. 

You can also go through cockroach anatomy video to gain a better understanding.

The three main body parts along with cockroach anatomy have been discussed in detail below – 

  1. Head – The head contains the eyes, pair of antennae and mouth. It also contains the brain. 

  1. The antennae are also known as antennal flagella. It is a threadlike object which is movable. Cockroaches use them to smell and feel.

  2. The eyes are made of photoreceptor cells and are surrounded by a ring, which is known as ocular sclerite. 

  3. The mouth is made up of labrum and labium which act as lips. It has teeth like objects for cutting and chewing, which are called mandibles. 

  4. The mouth also has an organ which helps in moving food around while chewing.


Fun fact: the body of a cockroach can live on for several weeks without the head.

  1. Abdomen – this is one of the crucial parts of cockroach anatomy. The abdomen is divided into ten segments. It contains the heart, the digestive organs, trachea or respiratory tubes, reproductive system and sensory organs. 

  1. The heart pumps blood and transports it to other organs through a hollow space known as hemocoel. Blood is colourless since it does not contain haemoglobin. 

  2. The digestive system forms another crucial part of cockroach anatomy. It has an alimentary canal and digestive glands. The canal is further divided into several sections which include mouth, oesophagus, buccal cavity, crop and proventriculus. The digestive system of a cockroach is specially developed to consume all kinds of food particles, including cellulose and wood. 

  3. The abdomen also contains sensory organs which help it to detect air movement.

  4. The respiratory or air tubes open on side through respiratory pores called stigmata. These tubes bring in air directly to the tissues. You can read through on anatomy of cockroach class 11 to learn in detail about respiratory functions.

  5. The excretory organs in cockroaches are known as Malpighian tubes.

  6. Male and female cockroaches can be differentiated based on their sex organs. Male cockroaches have pair of testes, genital pouch, vasa deferentia, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory duct and conglobate gland. 

Female cockroaches have a pair of ovaries, oviducts, median vagina, a pair of colleterial glands and spermathecae. Go through our anatomy of cockroach class 11 ppt to understand reproductive process in cockroach.

  1. Thorax – A cockroach has three pairs of legs which are attached to the thorax. The three pairs of legs are – 

  1. Prothoracic – these are situated near the head.

  2. Mesothoracic – these legs enable the insect to increase its speed or to slow down.

  3. Metathoracic – these long back legs help the insect to move forward.

Thus, this insect may be small in size, but the morphology and anatomy of cockroach is significantly complex. To learn in detail about cockroach anatomy, you can download anatomy of cockroach pdf available at our website. You can also install Vedantu’s app in any smart device to take your notes with you wherever you go. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Mention the three main parts of alimentary canal?

The three main parts of alimentary canal are foregut, midgut and hindgut. The canal is further divided into several sections which include mouth, oesophagus, buccal cavity, crop and proventriculus.

2. What is fat body, and what is its purpose?

The fat body is a loose tissue present in body cavity. This fat body stores surplus food in the form of fat, glycogen and albumen.

3. How many nervous systems are there in cockroach anatomy?

There are three nervous systems – central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and sympathetic nervous system. These extend throughout the length of a cockroach’s body.