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[[quoteright:350:[[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tgwtg_langoliers_6456.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"Writing a time travel plot ain't easy, do it wrong and [[Literature/TheLangoliers all-devouring death maws]] come after you."]]

->''"2. Infest the timestream with time-beavers."''
-->-- '''Justin B. Rye''', [[http://jbr.me.uk/chrono.html#f Twenty Fun Things To Do With A Time Machine]]

[[Creator/MarxBrothers Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana;]] Clock Roaches like causality.

Time, like [[DeathTakesAHoliday Death]], hates being tampered with. It uses things like HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct to [[TemporalMutability stop changes to itself]], and the ButterflyOfDoom to exact roundabout retribution, but sometimes the determined chrono-criminal can find ways around these defenses.

In cases like these, time likes to get its hands dirty and ensure a less ironic and more graphic end to these revisionist historians with the help of Clock Roaches.

Clock Roaches are time's clean-up service. They eat and destroy people and things that directly threaten time with a TemporalParadox. Like roaches, they "eat up" the crumbs and mistakes of time travelers, and if they directly make nuisances of themselves, eat them as well. Also like roaches, you can never kill them all, nor hope to survive against their mindless fury for long. At best, you can delay them, and hope to fix whatever it is you've messed up and marked you as Roach-Chow.

The concepts of Clock Roaches probably stems from the difficulty in representing the threat of creating a time paradox. It's hard to ''show'' that the whole of existence is about to slip down the [[TimeyWimeyBall timey-wimey chaotic vortex of fate]], and that it's definitely bad. It's much easier to write when anybody who dares to transverse the spacetime continuum gets eaten by an EldritchAbomination. You could call them [[GaiasVengeance Chronos' Vengeance]].

One of the possible results of a TimeCrash. When it's a civilization doing it, not some kind of natural force, it's TimePolice. Compare to the NecroNonSequitur, a gratuitous and Rube Goldberg-y way for time to deal with interlopers. Not to be confused with the ButterflyOfDoom, in which the insect punishing the time traveler for interfering with the natural progression of events does so by dying, when it's not just a metaphor to begin with.

TimePolice is similar, but is where creatures like this are part of a formal organization. Not related to the insectoid ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' construct of the same name; they, and any other [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant roaches made of clockwork]], are a kind of ClockworkCreature.

Similar are creatures out for those who mess with space. You may look for examples in HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace. Has absolutely nothing to do with the Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/HumanityHasDeclined'' offers an inversion: collapsed temporal paradoxes turn into [[{{Pun}} time paradogs]].
* ''Manga/RaveMaster'': This is the origin and purpose of [[EldritchAbomination the Endless]]; to destroy the world created by someone's tampering with time. It could only be killed by Etherion, specifically stated to be the power to create something from nothing, and even then, only under very specific conditions.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Aztec Ace'' includes "Doxie-Glitches", which are giant monsters that show up when a paradox threatens time and fix it by killing everyone in the vicinity.
* ''Time Beavers'', a graphic novel by Timothy Truman, postulates that a race of time-sensitive beavers monitor the Dam of Time, which separates the relative order of the universe we know from utter chaos. The Dam is composed of items of considerable historical importance, such as "Fat Man" and "Little Boy". Several such items are stolen by the Beavers' mortal enemies, a shape-changing species of sentient rats who want chaos to run rampant.
** The setup is similar to the one used in the ''Blinx'' video game franchise.
* ''ComicBook/UltimateFantasticFour'': The spider-shaped Argiopes, who would eat any time travel-created doubles to avoid paradoxes.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The "agent-in-place" from ''FanFic/HarryPotterAndTheNightmaresOfFuturesPast'' is a somewhat less omnivorous version of this trope. We don't know a lot about him, but he is apparently at Hogwarts, knows of the original timeline, and is working behind the scenes to ensure that certain events (such as Ginny getting possessed by the Diary Horcrux) come to pass in spite of Harry's manipulations. Notable in that Harry has no idea the agent-in-place exists, and therefore doesn't know ''why'' certain things seem determined to happen.
* In ''Fanfic/TheParselmouthOfGryffindor'', [[CloudCuckooLander Luna Lovegood]] believes in the existence of Clockroaches and asks Hermione if she's seen any after she gets her Time-Turner. According to her, they're also known as [[AlliterativeName Time-Tigers]] or [[Literature/TheLangoliers Langoliers]], and they [[ImAHumanitarian eat time-travellers with onions and hot sauce]].
* ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** The Blank Wolf in Shining Armor's arc erases things that aren't supposed to exist, such as anachronisms brought into being by a non-God RealityWarper. The good news? [[spoiler:It's after the BigBad, Makarov/[[HumanoidAbomination the Shadow of Chernobull]], and is implied to be one of the ways Shining can stop him]]. The bad news? [[spoiler:Shining is ImmuneToFate due to being a temporal distortion, meaning it's after ''him''.]] However, [[spoiler:it obeys the Gods, so having Cadence nearby gives him protection.]]
** Also from the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', the Cosmic Concepts ''themselves'' play this role -- in extreme emergencies (when paradox threatens the whole continuum), the Alicorns and Draconequii will combine forces to ''erase the offending timeline''. [[spoiler:This is what happened to the G3 universe]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the ''Franchise/FinalDestination'' movies, Death itself manages to act as a Clock Roach. The protagonists have a vision of their own gruesome demise and save themselves along with a group of their friends, and the remainder of the movie consists of Death finding [[NecroNonSequitur increasingly gruesome, sadistic, and physically impossible]] ways of correcting the error. [[spoiler:This is eventually subverted, when it's revealed in one of the later films that showing the protagonists a vision of their death is part of ''Death's'' plan, and the "corrections" to the error are actually their proper fated deaths to begin with. It turns out Death is just a dick who likes to play with his food.]]

* In the [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffyverse]] collection of short stories, ''Tales of the Slayer, Volume 2'', the short story ''Again'' by Jane Espenson has these after Buffy, Willow, and Xander are returned to their high-school selves. The roaches in this case manifest as mobile shadows that attach themselves to things they find in the wrong time, causing excruciating pain as they (presumably) eat them. They appear to be somewhat physical, as Buffy manages to cut one off of her arm, cutting her arm in the process.
* ''Franchise/CthulhuMythos'': Literature/TheHoundsOfTindalos chase down time travellers; the only way to hold them off is to eliminate all angles in the immediate area, since they can only travel through these. Note that they're not portrayed as necessary or helpful; they just '''[[EldritchAbomination are]]'''.
* ''Literature/TheLangoliers'' in the book and movie of that title by Creator/StephenKing. In the story, several airline passengers find themselves trapped in a moment in the past, which is slowly fading and winding down as the present time moves further and further away, until the moment is completely eaten by the titular Langoliers.
* ''Literature/SingularitySky'' by Creator/CharlesStross: the invention of faster-than-light travel brings with it the ability to travel through time. This in turn leads to the potential for whole new strategies of warfare and unpleasant weapons taking advantage of the ability to meddle with the past... but it is all prevented by a particularly powerful AI which uses its own (particularly effective) causality violation devices to smite any would-be temporal saboteurs with godlike amounts of overkill.
* ''Literature/TheSistersGrimm'': The pink eraser things in book ten, since the book they are in was magically linked to the time of fairy tales, and any changes change history, so Mr. Editor guy has his pink erasers eat everything and he resets the story.
* In Vasily Golovachev's ''Time of Troubles'' series, messing with time attracted a race of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s called "chronosurgeons" who threatened to erase the Universe (and all its parallel branches) from the point of the Big Bang itself. Note that those abominations had no motivation of "protecting causality" (their motives, like those of any good little eldritch abominations, were inscrutable), but merely trying to mess with time drew their attention.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** The original series serial [[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E5TheTimeMonster "The Time Monster"]] has the Chronovores, which are similar enough to the Reapers (giant winged things that eat people's timelines) that they may as well be considered a related critter. It's worth mentioning that the Chronovores were fleshed out in a novel by Paul Cornell, who later wrote "Father's Day". Some fans speculate that he wanted to feature Chronovores in "Father's Day", but was prevented by some sort of legal issue. Given how we know the Doctor [[UnreliableExpositor just often makes things up sometimes]], they could even be the same creatures, just under a different name that he made for them this time.
** The Reapers, [[MonsterOfTheWeek Flying Killer Time Gargoyles]] from [[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E8FathersDay "Father's Day"]]. The Ninth Doctor describes them in terms similar to white blood cells -- when a paradox is triggered, they clean up the "wound" by erasing everything inside it. "Before" the Time War, the Gallifreyans kept paradoxes in order in a much less destructive way, but now they're gone.
* ''Series/EerieIndiana'': The garbage men in "The Lost Hour". To them, the garbage is Marshall, since he's not supposed to be there and then.
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'':
** A speedster carelessly meddling with the past risks summoning a Time Wraith to seek out and destroy the meddler. When Barry asks [[spoiler:Thawne]] why he has never encountered them before, he is told that he's been incredibly lucky. Besides, at most, he's affected one day before (when stopping Mardon and Savage). [[spoiler:[[BigBad Zoom's]] careless use of a speedster's time travel abilities ultimately catches up to him when Barry lures the Time Wraiths out and gives him too much of a beating to escape. The Time Wraiths age Zoom nearly into a skeleton and then [[DraggedOffToHell drag him away screaming to a]] FateWorseThanDeath.]]
** It's implied that [[spoiler:Time Wraiths are former speedsters, who were caught by other Time Wraiths for messing around with time travel and turned into one of them.]]
** ''Non''-speedster time travelers don't seem to bother the Wraiths, as demonstrated on ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow''. Come season two, however, we see exactly what happened to [[spoiler: Zoom]] - he's been turned into the Black Flash and is now hunting Reverse-Flash for being a walking time paradox. [[spoiler:It ultimately catches him and completely disintegrates him.]]
** The only known weapon that can kill a Time Wraith is a high-intensity low-frequency sonic attack. Luckily, Hartley Rathaway (AKA the Pied Piper) knows a thing or two about sound.
* ''Series/SapphireAndSteel'': You're never quite sure what the agents of time look like, but you definitely don't want to hang around and find out.

* In the ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'' audio plays, they have Vortisaurs, creatures who live in the Time Vortex and are attracted to temporal anomalies. They're usually vicious, but the Doctor manages to tame one.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Continuum}}'', the players themselves are TimePolice. However, if the players fail, Clock Roaches known as Inheritors show up to clean things up, and the game makes it clear that you do ''not'' want to get in their way.
* Among the many, ''many'' [[OurAngelsAreDifferent possible designations for Angels]] in ''TabletopGame/DemonTheDescent'' is "Time Hunter", which denotes an angel charged with slipping between different timestreams and temporal splinters in order to eliminate quantum ghosts and other temporally-displaced individuals who might tangle up the timelines. Unusually for this trope, they're also charged with eliminating individuals in order to ''create'' temporal splinters or timeline divergences as well as eliminating those who inadvertently get caught up in temporal anomalies.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The 3rd edition of the game have the Inevitables, constructs born in Mechanus (the plane of absolute law) to enforce certain laws, both natural and invented. One kind of Inevitable, known as the Quaruts, maintain the sanctity of time and space itself.
** The Clockroach itself, on the other hand, does not embody this trope, being instead a clockwork-based construct that happens to look like a giant cockroach and so is given a PunnyName.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has the pattern spiders, the gods that maintain the Loom of Fate, and are basically responsible for the laws of physics. Bend the aforementioned laws too much, and you'll incur their displeasure in the form of a Pattern Bite, which is basically a spider bite, except that the spider is a giant mechanical god-spider responsible for maintaining natural law, and what it bites is not you, but your thread in the Loom of Fate, causing all kinds of unpleasant effects. [[{{Dissimile}} So not much like a spider bite at all, really.]]
* ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'': Wrinkle is the Paradox Spirit that shows up to deal with people who have pushed their luck one too many times in tampering with how things should be, especially temporally. If the mage apologizes for what they did and agrees that they shouldn't have done it, then Wrinkle does the actual work of rewinding events to the point where the offending RealityWarper can try something else. If not, then he traps the mage in a time pocket until they give in... or in some cases, rumor has it, he rewrites time so that the offender was [[RetGone never born]]. He is ''[[BigBad the]]'' most powerful Paradox spirit in Mage by an order of magnitude.
* In ''TabletopGame/TimeWatch'' (for the GUMSHOE system), there are literal Clock Roaches, in that there are human-sized roaches from the distant (possible) future who come to the past to ensure their own timeline comes to pass.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BlinxTheTimeSweeper'': All the monsters except the main antagonists are a result of a colossal TimeCrash. The plot revolves around eradicating them. This makes the [[PunchClockHero Time Sweepers]], who work for a time factory and ensure the product works as intended, more of the correcting function [[InvertedTrope than the monsters]], however.
* As a result of [[spoiler:Magus']] actions, [[spoiler:Lavos absorbs Schala and becomes the Time Devourer, the ultimate Clock Roach, who, rather than going after Crono and his friends, unmakes all existence.]] That is the entire plot of ''VideoGame/ChronoCross''. You can stop it, but not by simply defeating the Time Devourer; it'll just reproduce from another reality and the new one will replace the old one. [[spoiler:You have to play a song that unites all reality, leaving the Time Devourer no copies of itself to regenerate from.]]
* In ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'', a major theme of the game is averting the pre-ordained deaths of the main characters, manipulating the AkashicRecords to suit your whims, and generally giving a big ol' middle finger to the Divine Order of the Universe. ''[[UpdatedRerelease Record Breaker]]'' has the Divine Order of the Universe respond to said defiance with the [[EldritchAbomination Triangulum]], a group of StarfishAliens even bigger and meaner than the Septentrions. The Triangulum has one goal: obliterate the [[PunyEarthlings irritating "malware"]] that keeps messing with the Records, so that the natural order can get back on track.
* In the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' expansion "Wings of the Goddess", The avatar Atomos is a mindless being that eats 'dispensable' time, including the memories anybody might have of alternative timelines that have become endangered due to the intervention of time travelers. All of this ends up dumped in the Walk of Echoes, a graveyard for everything that might have been.
* In ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'', [[spoiler:the tornado that destroys Arcadia Bay on Friday is actually the universe's attempt to undo Max's use of time travel to tamper with destiny.]]
* ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaWarriorWithin'' has the Dahaka, a guardian of time that hunts the Prince in order to restore time to its original flow. It's implied that whenever someone changes the past, a Dahaka shows up to deal with it -- the first one was ''created'' when the Prince tampered with time, and a second comes up to deal with his second attempt to fix his own mistake in the game. [[spoiler: If you get the GoldenEnding, you kill the Dahaka, and the Empress of Time sails away with you. Thus the Sands of Time are not created in the past. (They get created when the Empress is killed.)]]
* In ''VideoGame/RaidouKuzunohaVsTheSoullessArmy'', UsefulNotes/RasputinTheMadMonk [[spoiler:(actually a RidiculouslyHumanRobot built in his image)]] was originally employed by some kind of future entity as part of an attempt to erase the timeline Raidou lives in (for example, the year is Taisho 20, but the RealLife Taisho era only lasted 15 years). He blows off the mission once he realizes it's a pretty sweet time to live in. [[spoiler: It is implied allowing Raidou to change stuff stamped out the CrapsackWorld that is the timeline of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' and ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII''.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Singularity}}'' has mutants, creatures, and strange plants that were spawned from time travel shenanigans.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', Ingram Pliskin and his [[spoiler: clone]] Cobray are secretly these. According to Ingram in an exposition, every universe is given only one (hence why Cobray's powers didn't manifest until after [[spoiler: Ingram was dead]]), and that their job is to protect causality by ''deleting from existence any force that threatens it''.
* ''VideoGame/TimeShift'': The [[{{AFGNCAAP}} protagonist]] fits this role, as there is [[{{Flashback}} apparently]] a danger of the AlternateTimeline "colliding" with our own if the BigBad isn't stopped. What exactly this [[RealityBreakingParadox would mean]] is not explored, suffice it to say [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt that would be bad]].
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** The Bronze Dragonflight are this; their hired help (the players) are their TimePolice.
** The Infinite Dragonflight that attempts to change the timeline is universally villainous - only two out of four of their attempts even try to have a weak HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct excuse (which is explained to make the current situation worse anyway), the rest being outright villainy.
** Their goals have been muddied even further with confirmation in ''Wrath'' and ''Cataclysm'' that the Infinites are a corrupted future version of the Bronzes. While still [[ClockRoaches Clock Dragons]], they're using their ability to modify time instead, hence the greater danger they pose than most people tampering with time.
* Inverted in the game ''VideoGame/{{Braid}}''. [[spoiler:In World 1-1, you have to outrun [[AdvancingWallOfDoom a giant flaming wall]] before it catches up to you. However, because time is already reversed in World 1 (using the rewind mechanic makes it progress forward), it represents the future that hasn't occurred yet being obliterated, with Tim and the Princess running back towards the present.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' has some sort of... [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/21p05/ bear-octopus-unicorn creatures]] that attack wayward time travelers.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' has [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20140611#.U5vaj41dVFk these]] things. Clock {{Eldritch Abomination}}s might be more accurate. [[spoiler:And the last time someone tried this stunt, TheDreaded ''Dreen'' showed up]].
-->'''Castle Heterodyne:''' This stopping time foolishness-Robur Heterodyne discovered something like it three hundred years ago. Oh, yes. And yet, the Heterodynes-they who fear ''nothing''-turned their backs on this power. You brief humans think of time-if you think of it at all-as a ''natural'' thing. Ubiquitous. Inevitable. You are blind little fish in the waters of a vast, deep cave. There are… others who see time ''differently.'' When it is meddled with, they ''notice.''
* Timeclones and altered timelines are not welcome in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. Any given Hero has an alpha timeline; mostly this only matters to the Hero whose purview is Time. Either way, any deviation from the alpha timeline, or extraneous instance of a given hero, caused by time travel shenanigans is doomed to die eventually, in some unfortunate and contrived manner if the universe can't scrounge up a good one. Although in the pre-[[ResetButton scratch]] kids' case, any session that does not deal with it [[spoiler: is destroyed by [[YinYangBomb The]] [[DoomsdayDevice Tumor]], a giant bomb buried in the center of the Battlefield.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The CreepyPasta ''The Farnsworth Experiment'' deals with a group of scientists who managed to upset a nest of clock roaches while researching time travel.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic dedicated [[http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/30198-the-langoliers an entire episode]] to the aforementioned ''The Langoliers''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Similar to the ''Film/FinalDestination'' movies is the rule that chronal doubles in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' universe always meet with some sort of fatal accident in order to keep them from cluttering up the time-stream... [[spoiler: So of course, the sudden appearance of an army of time-duplicated Benders at the end of ''Bender's Big Score'' results in a huge rip in space-time leading to another dimension, handily setting up the plot of ''Beast with a Billion Backs''.]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'' episode "A Brief History of Time," Van Kleiss ''thinks'' he's being hunted by one of these. [[spoiler: As it turns out, it's actually Breach, who has transformed into a NegativeSpaceWedgie that's attracted to him like a magnet - and destroys everything in its wake.]]
* Vector Prime of ''Anime/TransformersCybertron'' is shown in the ExpandedUniverse to have this sort of job, though he's far more personable than most examples and not nearly as unstoppable. The giant, all-consuming rift that shows up in the Time Wars arc of the UK comic fufills the trope more.
* After pausing time to clean up a house party at the end of the previous season, season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' introduces the time police in the form of Shleemypants, a fourth-dimensional being with a living gun who intends to arrest Rick, Morty, and Summer for messing with time.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some interpretations of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox#Novikov_self-consistency_principle quantum mechanics]] imply that quantum effects act like Clock Roaches to prevent the formation of time paradoxes by negating attempts at creating them.