According to a study at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, roaches have personalities.

In each trial, two round “shelters” were placed in “an arena” with sixteen cockroaches under some bright lights. Periplaneta americana (the American cockroach) hates bright lights. It also likes being in a protective group of other roaches.

The roaches were left alone for three hours, equipped with tracking devices and surveilled by a camera. From trial to trial, over the course of three months, researchers have learned that the roaches made their own decisions as far who’d like to run around in the light and who’d like to go away and hide.

Some would hide and convince others to huddle up. Others, the “brave” ones, run around and explore. All were ultimately responsible for their own choices.

In the end, as head researcher Issac Planas points out, “they always finished aggregated” and under a shelter, the desired result for the group.

This individualist thinking sets the roaches apart from other insects like termites or ants who make follow a social hierarchy of their large group. It could also explain why cockroaches are so efficient at adapting to hostile environments and are said to out-live humans.