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Can Roaches see in the Dark?

Nature has designed insects, including cockroaches, to adapt to various environmental factors, including darkness, humidity, and temperature changes. This is how insects have successfully managed to outlive dinosaurs are other creatures over millions of years.

Roaches can see in the darkness thanks to the millions of photoreceptors in the compound eyes. However, the sight of roaches is minimal to a few centimeters, and they can only sense changes in the intensity of light.

Insects, including roaches, are so well adapted to their environment that they are thought to see in the dark. A very minute change in light intensity will activate the photoreceptors inside the roach eyes, helping them sense an incoming danger and threat.

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How Roaches see in the Darkness?

Insects, including cockroaches, have two types of eyes: simple and compound eyes. The compound eye is the one that helps roaches to see in darkness.

The compound eye contains millions of photoreceptors in repeating units called ommatidia. In nocturnal insects, including roaches, these repeating units are placed in such a manner to favor photosensitivity over visual acuity (Reference).

Once a photon of light strikes the photoreceptor, a cascade of signals passes down to the nervous system, helping them adapt to the environment.

Do you know why roaches fly towards you? Read this article to know more.

Do Cockroaches see better in the Dark?

Have you ever wondered why you don’t see roaches moving around in the day, whereas you often encounter them when lights are switched off? This is because cockroaches are nocturnal species; they are most active in the dark.

Cockroaches have compound eyes with millions of photoreceptors arranged to favor photosensitivity over visual acuity; therefore, cockroaches see better in the dark. Moreover, a dark environment provides the slightest changes in light, making roaches see better.

The nocturnal photoreceptors are more low-passing and provide more response amplification in dim light (Reference).

Will keeping lights on keep Roaches away?

Cockroaches are adopted to see better in darkness and therefore prefer to move around at night. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t see in light or avoid coming out when lights are kept on. This is because the biological clock inside the roach body will direct roaches to come out at night without considering the status of the light.

Therefore, If you think that keeping lights on at night will keep roaches away, you probably are wrong.

Additional Read!