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Ten new cockroaches found

Ten new species of cockroach have been discovered in Tasmania since 2014, three of them in the Launceston backyard of Natural Sciences Collections Officer, Simon Fearn, from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Mr Fearn said only about five out the 5,000 known species of cockroaches were pests, contaminating food and spreading disease. “Most cockroaches never come into your house, they just live in the bush and they play a vital role in breaking down nutrients and leaf litter, and pollinating plants,” he said. “Just a handful of urban, introduced cockroaches are giving the whole group a bad name, whereas the majority are actually doing us a service.” Mr Fearn said the new Tasmanian species have yet to be formally described by a taxonomist, a lengthy scientific process. Mr Fearn told The Examiner he had identified 700 different species on his cockroach-rich quarter-acre block.

5 December 2017, Edition 190

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