Humans display distinct personality traits, and apparently cockroaches do too. While this might seem surprising and unbelievable to many, a study performed at the Université Libre de Bruxelles offers strong evidence supporting this conclusion.
About the study
According to the study, just like humans, cockroaches can survive in and adapt to inhospitable surroundings. The different personality traits of the roaches impart them with excellent decision-making abilities, says a report from Reuters.
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The study took a sample of 16 cockroaches for each of its trials, and carried out tests for over three months. The cockroaches were released in a round arena, under a bright light, and that arena had two round ‘shelters,’ in the middle to provide shade to the dark-loving insects. The insects were left in the arena for three-hours, and their movement was recorded by a camera.
Also, a chip was placed on the back of all the cockroaches. The researchers were interested in monitoring the locations of the cockroaches, such as whether they prefer staying in the dark or chose to come out in light. The experiment was conducted two more times on different days.
Cockroaches left researchers surprised
The researchers expected that since the cockroaches are nocturnal in nature, that they would flee to shelters, but surprisingly, they took unpredictable intervals of time to seek out shelter. This was attributed by the researchers to individual personality traits, such as shyness and braveness, among individual cockroaches. It was observed that the shy cockroaches first observed the actions of their friends, and then ventured towards the shelter.
Issac Planas, a lead researcher of the study, told Reuters, “The fact, and we didn’t expect it, is that they always reach this consensus.” Planas told that initially they expected the ability to resist consensus or seek a shelter would vary among the cockroaches, but the researchers were surprised as they found that each time the insects “always finished aggregated.”
“Cockroaches are a simple animal, but they can reach a complex decision. So with little information, with little interactions, only knowing if I have a partner here or not, only with this information, they can make complex decisions,” he said.