Friday, 1 October 2010

Gromphadorhina portentosa – Madagascan Hissing Cockroach

This cockroach is 2-3 inches long and a wingless member of the cockroach family. It dwells in Madagascar but little of its behaviour in the wild is known. Much like that of deer and peacocks the males cockroaches look and act differently i.e. the males have what’s called pronatal humps on their thorax which look like horns and use these to defend their territories or defend from other males. The hissing which they are renowned for is a warning for intruders in aggressive situations. It is also used in communication and there has been research into finding that it can be a necessity in courtship.

Top female antenna
Bottom male antenna

Unlike Humans the cockroach skeleton is on the outside of its body and can actually outgrow the skeleton (This information is gruesome stuff which will be awesome to put into my transformation.) And also the cockroach brain is spread throughout its whole body which is why if you cut off their head they will only die a week later through thirst/starvation because only a bit of a nervous system is held in the head where as the belly side of the cockroach has brain scattered along it. Cockroaches have compound eyes which are made up of 2,000 lenses which allow it to see in almost all directions of its body simultaneously.

Madagascan hissing cockroach   

Also the popular belief that roaches are capable of withstanding a nuclear apocalypse isn’t 100% true. Yes they are more resilient to radiation, 7 times that of a human, but even that is not capable of helping it survive for prolonged exposure to radiation.


Human Skeleton
Things that I could play with when creating my hybrid is that cockroach’s mouths can also smell which could conjure up a nice idea of adapting the skull so that the mouth and the nose are just one gaping hole maybe. Also roaches have hooks at the end of their limbs and a sticky pad which are used for climbing which would be a good thing to play around with in splicing my hand with this idea.

Electron micrograph of Madagascan roach limb, showing hooks and sticky pad used in climbing. 50x actual size.
The legs of cockroaches also act very similar to that of a human which will make it easier to interpret them into the splice skeletal system

  • The trochanter acts like a knee and lets the roach bend its leg.
  • The femur and tibia resemble thigh and shin bones.
  • The segmented tarsus acts like an ankle and foot. The hook-like tarsus also helps roaches climb walls and walk upside down on ceilings.

After I have finished my drawings of my hands and a couple of face perspectives there will be drawings looking into starting to splice the anatomies together.


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