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Old 08-06-2015, 04:10 PM
cahutchins is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 8

Why do cockroaches die on their backs? Hydraulics and gravity!

Regarding "Why do cockroaches die on their backs?" I have a simple theory, and I'm prepared to demonstrate it with the most convincing research tool available — a poorly drawn diagram.

So we know that insect legs operate with a sort of biological hydraulics system, where circulating body fluids are used to extend leg joints. As we all know, when an insect or spider dies, its legs tend to curl up underneath them.

I propose that in the process of a roach (or other arthropod pest) giving up the ghost, their hydraulic system starts to fail, and their limbs begin to curl up. As the limbs curl, the bug's natural center of balance shifts until they simply fall over. I include here a link to a (very) crude drawing that may or may not illustrate what I think is happening.

If this mechanic is really what happens, it easily explains why you usually find dead bugs laying on their backs — no need for wild theories like neurotoxin spasms or skydiving accidents. It doesn't matter what kills 'em, it's hydraulics and gravity that flips 'em.

Last edited by cahutchins; 08-06-2015 at 04:12 PM.


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