Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cockroach Decapitation

Scientific American has a short but interesting article concerning the oft-repeated claim that a cockroach can live for weeks withoug a head. Well, it turns out that's true - and the head can live without the body for an extended time as well. In fact, this ability is used in scientific studies.
Cockroach decapitation may seem macabre, but scientists have conducted many experiments with headless roach bodies and bodiless roach heads. Decapitating roaches deprives their bodies of hormones from glands in their heads that control maturation, helping researchers investigate metamorphosis and reproduction. And studies of bodiless roach heads shed light on how their neurons work. Plus, it provides just one more testament to the cockroach's enviable endurance.
The article goes into detail about just how the cockroach is able to survive in this condition.

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