In the big city, it's a rat race. Or is it dog eat dog? Or is it a roach race for table scraps?

As you ponder those metaphorical puzzles, also consider the recent Journal of Economic Entomology report that the Asian cockroach species Periplaneta japonica has been confirmed as a resident of New York City.

Rutgers University insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista, whose work documents the presence of that uninvited guest, theorize that the creatures probably stowed away in the soil of imported ornamental plants used to adorn High Line Park on Manhattan's Lower West Side.

Professor Evangelista offers the reassuring insight that the newcomer will not pose a serious threat to native bugs because it "is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment."

Professor Ware explained that competition will likely restrain the proliferation of the japonica ranks "because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction."

Yet Professor Ware added: "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. I could imagine japonica being outside and walking around, though I don't know how well it would do in dirty New York snow."

Well, sure, "dirty New York snow" can present a survival challenge to most species, including our own.

We, of course, prefer the quirky charms of the omnipresent palmetto bug that thrives in these parts.

But don't underestimate the staying power of the japonica - or any other breed of cockroach.

After all, roaches were here long before humans, with fossils of the durable insects dating to more than 300 million years ago.

And unless we avoid self-annihilation of our destructive kind, roaches will likely be here long after we're gone.