Insects believed to be albino cockroaches are actually newly molted cockroaches. When a roach outgrows its exterior casing, known as the cuticle, it splits the cuticle and sheds it. The soft skin beneath appears white. Within a few hours, the new cuticles will harden and darken, appearing more like the typical coloration of its species. In some species, this molted exterior serves as a food source for both nymph and adult roaches.
Cockroach nymphs emerge from the ootheca through the use of collective force. These newly hatched pale nymphs are only briefly pale. The number of molts a cockroach nymph undergoes varies by species. With each progressive molt, the cockroach nymph appears more and more like its adult counterparts.