The Vine

Friday, June 18, 2004

A New Species

Okay, I just got back from the Patti Smith concert, and what I will say of my rock goddess' performance: it was okay. Firefly and I did'nt go way up front, like we usually woulda, maybe that had something to do with it, or all of us being so old. I love Patti Smith, I really do, but the best show she's done lately was a free show at Waterloo Park few years ago, just before Gung Ho. Haven't gotten the new album yet.

But! The new species which of which I have now seen two representatives, right here in my own very permeable home! It is shaped like an American cockroach, but about 3/4 of the size. It is a roach of some sort, but just because of it's different coloration, and its mellower temperament, and obviously not being a cockroach, I choose not to smash it. Its wing covers (elytra) are sandy grey-brown, with darker speckles. And the elytra don't lie as closely pressed to the thorax, giving the critter a lighter, fluffier appearance. A lot of which I find disturbing about cockroaches (German or American) is their spazzy motion - the scurrying and the flying-at-your-head. This new species has mellower movements, as if it has not been subjected to the evolutionarily selective force of millions of swats over thousands of generations, to have the erratic, hyper-evasive manouevers of the pest roach species.

It reminds me, of when I used to be a produce-slogger at Wheatsville Food Coop for so many years. If there ever was a bug in the store, an employee would call on the PA system. I was defacto, the HUMANE bug removal point-person. My boss, MC, once defended leave the spiders that inhabited the light fixtures over our workspace, because they caught and ate flies, which are know to carry human pathogens. I was so proud of her. But one day, in a box of bananas from Guatemala, a live critter crawled out which was exactly the size and shape of an American cockroach, but because it was bright spring green, with a white running-stipedown its side, nobody found it to be disgusting. "Pretty" was even mentioned, and as I released it into the garden, it went with best wishes from many of the staff.


At 6:20 AM, Blogger AustinPan said...

I too have been the designated cockroach remover since I was a child. Even today at an organic garden center people scream for assistance when one of these critters comes their way. These same people will delight in all types of insects but scream when a little roach scurries through. I just grab them and make a quick trip to the chicken house. Now when I walk past the chickens they all run towards me. Apparently roaches make for some juicy eating if your a bird.

Growing up on the Texas coast I would delight in the roaches friskyness when cold fronts came through. Amazing that a creature that can fly so well would spend so much time scurrying around on the ground.

OK television references aren't cool but I did once watch a program on the life of cockroaches and found it illuminating. They are very clean creatures because they use scent to get around. They have to be clean to smell the world around them. Cleaning an area not only removes food but also removes their phermone trails (insect highways). The narrator of the documentary thought culturaly we gave roaches a bad rap. He proposed we rename roaches after the naturalist David Attenborough. I liked his approach.

Now when I find a roach in the bathtub I exclaim "come see the cute little Attenborough in the bathtub" right before I flush the little bugger down the drain!

At 7:36 PM, Blogger dragonfly jenny said...

hmm, a fluffy roach, without the spazzy motion ... yeah, I could almost not kill that.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger drc said...

Eeeewww!! This is why I do not live in Texas!


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