This image shows the back and front of Pseudophoraspis recurvata, one of the newly described species.
Cockroaches have been crawling on the planet since before the time of the dinosaurs, and today there are more than 4,500 species known to science. Researchers are adding three more to that list.
Though they fall into the giant cockroach family (Blaberidae) these newly found, yellow-bodied creatures are small compared with some of their cousins — they grow just a little more than an inch (3 centimeters) in length in adulthood, compared with Blaberus giganteus, for example, which can reach lengths of 4 inches (10 cm).
The recently discovered insects are the first of the genus Pseudophoraspism to be found in China, researchers say. Until now, cockroaches of that genus had only been documented in Southeast Asia, never north of Vietnam.
"We found three new species from China, located in Hainan, Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces respectively, which extends the range of the genus Pseudophoraspis northward," entomologist Zongqing Wang of China's Southwest University said in a statement.
The new species — which are named Pseudophoraspis clavellata, Pseudophoraspis recurvata and Pseudophoraspis incurvata — were described online this week in the journal ZooKeys.
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