Every living organism, including roaches, is equipped with a basic set of tools that help them survive in the environment. However, this does not necessarily mean they should have higher functions such as emotion, critical thinking, and memory. Similarly, we ask ourselves whether roaches have brains.
Yes! Roaches have two brains one located in the head called the nerve ring while the other is located across the thorax and abdomen in form of a cord. The brains of a cockroach perform two primary functions,
- Process Sensory input from anteenas, eyes and other sensory organs.
- Control motor function like limb and anteena movements.
The brain is a cluster of billions of neurons that function in unison to control the body from simple to complex functions such as intelligence and memory. Cockroaches lack true brains. Instead, they have clusters of neurons called ganglia. The ganglia are designed to function in a limited capacity and lack more advanced functions.
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Cockroaches don’t have a brain like Humans
Unlike humans with a complex brain with billions of interlinked neurons, Cockroaches have a very simple brain to execute the basic survival functions.
Roaches have two technical but not actual anatomical brains inside the head called nerve ring. One is located in front of the esophagus called a supra-oesophageal ganglion and has a sensory function.
The second brain is located behind the esophagus and has a motor function. It is also called a sub-oesophageal ganglion. Both brains are connected with each other and the rest of the body by a double nerve cord that travels through the thorax and abdomen.
The brain is connected with a series of ganglia in the thorax and abdomen constituting the nerve cord. These ganglia also serve as a relay function between the peripheral and central nervous systems (Reference).
The brain and the rest of the ganglia give rise to nerve fibers that comprise the peripheral nervous system. These nerve fibers reach every part of the body and help bring in and out the information.
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Are roaches smart?
Nature has designed every living being with a set of basic instincts. For example, a new born baby is equipped with a sucking reflex (Reference).
Similarly, a baby chicken is equipped with the phenomenon of imprinting, where the chick considers the first moving object as her mother (Reference).
The definition of smart dictates the answer to are roaches smart? If smart means having basic survival instincts, then roaches are smart; if it means having long-term memory, logical reasoning, and having emotions, then roaches are not smart.
Do roaches have emotions?
Emotions are the psychological and physical responses to external stimuli. It comprises seven fundamental types happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, and contempt.
Roaches are designed to survive the forces of the environment. Therefore, they do not have advanced emotions and are devoid of specialized pain receptors.
However, simple basic emotions like fear, reward, and responses to pain are built-in in their genes to make them survive.