A new invasive species of cockroach has been found in New York City, with researchers warning that it has the ability to withstand freezing temperatures.
Rutgers University insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista stated the new species, Periplaneta japonica, is found in parts of Asia but has never before been confirmed in the U.S.
The findings were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology with the researchers adding that more studies need to be done to understand the species impact.
"Because this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment," Evangelista told NBC, "they likely will compete with each other for space and for food."
Michael Scharf, a professor of urban entomology at Purdue University, said the discovery is something to monitor.
"To be truly invasive, a species has to move in and take over and out-compete a native species," he said. "There's no evidence of that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be concerned about it."
The new species was first noticed in New York in 2012 in a newly renovated public space known as the High Line. It is thought that the cockroach was transported in the soil of some of the imported plants used for the High Line.
"Many nurseries in the United States have some native plants and some imported plants," Ware told LiveScience.com. "It's not a far stretch to picture that that is the source."
Periplaneta japonica is known to be able to withstand freezing temperatures prompting some concerns that local officials may need more than Mother Nature to get rid of them.
"There has been some confirmation that it does very well in cold climates, so it is very conceivable that it could live outdoors during winter in New York," Ware said. "I could imagine japonica being outside and walking around, though I don't know how well it would do in dirty New York snow."