Rare cockroach moult

Presenter Caroline Howard has captured a Madagascan hissing cockroach undergoing its latest moult on camera.


Cockroaches moult several times throughout their lifetime, but unlike reptiles which shed a layer of skin, cockroaches moult out of their own skeleton.

Caroline said: “It is rare to actually capture a cockroach moult when you have a camera to hand, so I was lucky. It is fascinating to watch with the process only taking a few minutes.”

A cockroach has to moult as its hard outer covering, known as the exoskeleton, doesn’t grow meaning it has to periodically develop a new covering underneath the old.

Caroline explained: “When it is time to moult, the old exoskeleton splits from the head right down the thorax before the cockroach crawls out.

“The new covering is soft and white and becomes harder and turns the familiar dark brown colour over a few hours.”