Cockroach Grooming: Insects Clean Antennae To Maintain Sense Of Smell, Scientists Say (VIDEO)

By Elizabeth Pennisi

Though often associated with dirty environments, cockroaches are actually quite fastidious, especially when it comes to their antennae. They clean them often by grabbing one in with a front leg and drawing it through their mouth.

Researchers have long observed that many insects groom themselves, and now they know why. When scientists restrained American cockroaches or prevented grooming by gluing mouthparts for 24 hours, they noticed a shiny, waxy buildup on the antennae that clogs the tiny pores that lead to odor-sensing cells.

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Cockroach Grooming: Insects Clean Antennae To Maintain Sense Of Smell, Scientists Say (VIDEO)


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