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An insect of the Blattidae family, of which there are over 3,500 species - mainly living in the tropics. They have long antennae, biting mouthparts, and can fly - but rarely do. The variety found in Britain is "The Common Cockroach" or "Black-Beetle" (Blatta Orientalis"), is nocturnal, omnivorous, and contaminates food - so are extreme pests in kitchens.
Two other species "The German Cockroach" (Blattella Germanica) and "The American Cockroach" (Periplaneta Americana) have been introduced with imported food, and have also become severe pests. All are difficult to eradicate.
Cockroaches are a gourmet"s delight in parts of China, Thailand, among Australian aborigines and in French Guiana.