The much maligned cockroach is more sophisticated, and social, than we thought, according to new research.

Scientists are discovering that these supposedly crude, and creepy automatons are much more sophisticated than we thought.

By unveiling the secret lives of these insects, they are finding out that cockroaches are actually highly social creatures; they recognise members of their own families, with different generations of the same families living together.

Cockroaches do not like to be left alone, and suffer ill health when they are.

And they form closely bonded, egalitarian societies, based on social structures and rules. Communities of cockroaches are even capable of making collective decisions for the greater good.

By studying certain species of cockroach, we may even be able to learn some insights into how more advanced animal societies evolved, including our own.