Monday, 25 June 2012
Cockroach essential to earth's delicate ecosystem
People need to stop stamping on cockroaches, as one of the most despised of all insects is essential to our planet for converting nitrogen into fertiliser, experts have said.
Cockroaches live in the most unsanitary conditions, and it is no wonder the first reaction of many people on seeing the insect is to try to exterminate it. Few people would shed tears at the thought of the entire species dying out, the Daily Mail reported.
However, according to biologists, the insect is essential to the survival of the earth's delicate ecosystem.
Srini Kambhampati, the Indian-origin professor and chair of the biology department at the University of Texas in Tyler city, the disappearance of cockroaches would play havoc with the nitrogen cycle.
"Most cockroaches feed on decaying organic matter, which traps a lot of nitrogen. Cockroach's feeding has the effect of releasing that nitrogen (in their faeces) which then gets into the soil and is used by plants," Kambhampati, a leading expert on the insect, told the Huffington Post.
"In other words, extinction of cockroaches would have a big impact on forest health and therefore indirectly on all the species that live there," the expert said.
Kambhampati said the earth's 5,000-10,000 cockroach species are also an important source of food for many birds and small mammals like mice and rats, and thus an important part of the food cycle.