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American Cockroach Food Chain

American cockroaches are omnivores that consume a wide variety of foods, including cosmetics, milk, plant shoots, soap and fermenting fruit. American cockroaches will also eat sweets and starchy items such as book bindings, glue and wallpaper paste. Although American cockroaches can spoil human food and destroy clothing, goods and surfaces, they do provide ecological benefits as they break down organic matter.

The American cockroach is prey to many small mammals, birds, spiders, amphibians and reptiles. In the tropics, their predators include mantids, ants and spiders. They have also been found in the stomachs of fish, salamanders, toads, frogs, turtles, geckos and lizards. Among their mammalian predators are opossums, porcupines, monkeys, rodents and cats.

Cockroaches also sometimes suffer from parasites and viruses. These parasites include bacteria, protozoa and fungi, as well as wasps. Certain wasp species feed solely on cockroach eggs.

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