variously called the "desert cockroach", "seven-spotted cockroach"
or "Indian domino cockroach", is a species of crepuscular cockroach
found in southern India.
are members of a basal
within the cockroaches. This somewhat roundish and contrastingly
marked cockroach is mainly found on the ground in scrub forest
habitats where they may burrow
under leaf-litter or loose ground during the heat of the day.
The black and white pattern of adults is believed to have evolved
the pattern of the
aggressive ground beetle Anthia sexguttata
that has strong
defenses, including the ability to spray chemical irritants. The
upperside of the abdomen is orange-yellow, but is hidden by the
. The spots on the asymmetrical
tegmina are placed so that when closed the spots appear
symmetrical. The right tegmen has a lobe that is bright
orange-yellow. The species has been said to be one of the few
cockroaches with "grace and beauty". The head is bent back
underneath the pronotal shield (hypognathous) and the ocelli
(simple eyes) face forward, helping sense
light and thereby time foraging activity during early morning and
Once a female has copulated with a male, she does not allow other
males to approach, kicking them away with her hind legs. The eggs
are laid in leaf litter
. Up to 13
are laid by a female over 3 to 40
days (blocking the ocelli of the females has been found to inhibit
the laying of eggs). The oothecae are produced as in other
cockroaches by the asymmetrical colleterial glands of the females.
Once the ootheca is extruded it is deposited in suitably moist leaf
litter. Nymphs lead a life hidden below the ground and may go as
deep as 30 cm during the dry
This is the type species
for the genus
. The species epithet is after James Petiver
(1663-1718), who obtained
specimens from Madras and its vicinity (probably from the surgeon
at Fort St. George). Carolus
placed the species under Cassida
described C. petiveriana
and another that he called C.
, now considered a synonym
Like other cockroaches, T. petiveriana
to communicate with each
other. When disturbed, they are said to raise their wings and evert
lateral glands on the second and third abdominal segment
. Their glandular
secretions were found to contain volatile compounds
N-3-methylbutylacetamide (MBA) and N-3-methylbutylpropanamide
(MBP), making up nearly 60% of the volatile fraction. These
chemicals appeared to induce alarm behaviour.
Like termites, these cockroaches have symbiotic flagellates and
bacteria in their gut that aid in digestion.
This species is popular as a pet in many parts of the world and are
easy to keep.