Monday, July 15, 2024

KOKO Knows: Cockroaches Can Live Without Their Heads

Ever wondered why cockroaches don’t die easily? Well we have the answers for you and its not because they have nine lives or anything so dramatic. Cockroaches are infamous for their tenacity, and are often cited as the most likely survivors of a nuclear war. In fact cockroaches can live for several weeks even with their head chopped off. Surprised? There is actually an explanation for that. First of all, cockroaches do not have blood pressure the way a mammal does.

They have an open circulatory system. As a result, there is no chance of uncontrolled bleeding because a cockroach’s neck seals off just by clotting. A cockroach’s heart is a simple tube with valves which can pump blood backwards and forwards through the insect. Moreover, there is an ability to slow down the heart rate and the heart can even stop for some time without any harm.

The cockcroach breathe’s passively through a network of pipes connected to holes called spiracles along the length of their body. They don’t rely on blood circulation to move oxygen around and their body fluids are at a much lower pressure anyway. Their brain mostly handles the sensory input from the eyes and antennae, with many other behaviours, like running and reacting to touch, handled by ‘mini brains’ called ganglia in each body segment. 
A decapitated cockroach will eventually starve to death but this can still take 
several weeks.
Photo Credit: Getty

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