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Mite Infested Hisser Update

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by PidderPeets, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. PidderPeets

    PidderPeets Arachnoknight Active Member

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    (I apologize in advance because I have no self control and make REALLY long posts)

    This is more or less a courtesy update for any who saw my original thread a few months back about some Madagascar hissing cockroaches I bought as feeders but couldn't feed off because of how filthy and mite covered they were. The original thread is here for those interested, but I'm making a new thread in this subforum instead of updating the old one, as they are now pets and not related to the Tarantula Questions subforum.

    The relatively shortened and condensed version of that thread is that I purchased 4 adult MHC (2 males, 2 females) back in September from a local pet shop by me, intending for them to be feeders for my AF A. avicularia. However, when I got them home I discovered that they were harboring more mites on them than could ever be considered healthy. About 400 to 500 mites between the 4 of them. Not willing to return them and unable to feed them off, I put them in a small kritter keeper overnight while I figured out what to do.
    downloadfile-2.jpg

    I woke up the next morning to around 25 - 30 newly hatched nymphs as well as the original 4 roaches I purchased. I managed to separate all the nymphs from the adults before the mites got onto them as well.

    As for the adults, after a bit of a scrub down and a few weeks quarantined, I deemed the mites gone and the roaches able to be fed off. I fed off the 2 males, and kept the 2 females as pets. The babies were to be fed off, and perhaps a few kept as pets.

    THE UPDATED PART:

    It's been a few months and the 2 females left have never had more than a single mite or 2 just wandering on them to get to the next food source. Perhaps a month or so back, I discovered the other female had also been gravid when she aborted the egg case.

    In the past week, I did a rehouse and put the 2 females together with the 2 males I had as pets long before getting the mite infested batch. I also added a much smaller male and female I had recently bought. They all seem content enough, and spend lots of time interacting, hiding, and doing normal hisser stuff.

    The more active of the two females spends much of her time with the dominant male of the bunch, and I've seen him attempt to mate on more than one occasion. The other female is very inactive, doesn't respond immediately to stimulus and I suspect she's nearing the end of her lifespan.
    20180111_155034.jpg
    The male and female pair are on the rock cave, the female being the one in the back. The less active female is the one on top left by the food bowl.

    20180111_155049.jpg
    The active female. She can't climb very well, as both females were missing a few tibias when I got them, but she does her best to stay on the rock with the male.

    20180111_155055.jpg
    The less active female. She's never been able to climb, and since putting her in the new enclosure, she's hardly moved from this spot.

    I've got 12 of the babies left, and they're a far cry from the tiny little nymphs they were at first. The smallest 4 are about an inch in length and a half inch in width and I have them separated to be used as feeders for my boyfriend's female Dolomedes tenebrosus (if they don't molt out and get any bigger by the time she needs them). The other 8 are far too big for anything but my Avic and my A. seemani, but neither are particularly interested in food at the moment. They're being kept as pets unless I absolutely need to feed them off.

    20180112_152009.jpg
    Here's just a few of the larger ones. Their antennas are so long and constantly moving and they're precious.

    Hopefully the females live as long as they're meant to, and perhaps there will be more babies in the warmer months to use as feeders (at that point, I'll probably end up giving a few away though, as most of my Ts are too big for baby hissers). I'll probably keep this thread updated, if for no other reason than to archive this info for myself. But nonetheless, thanks to all who read through this! :)
     
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  2. edesign

    edesign Stacks o' spiders Old Timer

    Glad you were able to fix the issue! I also wanted to say THANK YOU for posting the pic of the mites on the roach. I've been having a hard time finding a nice photo of parasitic, rather than phoretic, mites on Ts but a site I trust mentioned the parasitic type were red/reddish. I've seen the whitish/gray phoretic on Ts but not the parasitic.
    EDIT: Nevermind...see Hisserdude's comment below.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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  3. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Those look very much like the desired predatory Hypoaspis mites. I've had them in my containers for over a decade, there are population explosions then they seem to disappear, then come back again. They are good mites to have, if they are Hypoaspis, do a goog to check it out. They tend to congregate like that sometimes, not just on inverts but on anything.
     
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  4. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince Active Member

    These are neither parasitic nor predatory mites, these are symbiotic mites, specifically Androlaelaps schaeferi.

    They are common in Gromphadorhina and Elliptorhina colonies, and help clean the roaches of other mites and fungus. Sometimes their numbers can get pretty high and they end up wandering the enclosure, but for the most part their population never reaches a point to where they bother the hissers. They spend most of their time on the roaches themselves, and can't survive anywhere else for long, let alone breed, (except on the bodies of live Blaberus spp. apparently).

    Usually if you start with just a few roaches, and they have a LOT of mites on them, their numbers tend to balance out as the hisser colony gets bigger. Sure you can cleanse the roaches and get rid of the mites, and the roaches will be just fine, but the mites can be beneficial, so I personally don't recommend it. :)
     
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  5. edesign

    edesign Stacks o' spiders Old Timer

    Well, drat, back to square one lol but seriously, thanks hisserdude!
     
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  6. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

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    Maybe that's what I've had in my cages all along and halfway assumed they were Hypoaspis, or I might have both, or several species, I can't tell. But I know I haven't had a grain mite problem in years, wooooooooooo!
     
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  7. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince Active Member

    I have yet to see any truly parasitic mites on cockroaches, will let you know if I ever do though!
    And no problem! :)

    If they are in your hisser or Blaberus tanks, they are probably the A.schaeferi. Anywhere else, and they are probably Hypoaspis. The latter eat grain mites, and the former might too, so you are unlikely to have an infestation of those anytime soon! :D
     
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  8. PidderPeets

    PidderPeets Arachnoknight Active Member

    I probably should've specified from the get go that with the help of some fellow members on here, we were able to establish in the original thread that they at least weren't parasitic mites. That's my fault for not mentioning that. Sorry. :bag:But aside from that, I was never 100% sure what they were.

    But as they were originally meant as feeders, even if they were harmless mites, I didn't feel comfortable introducing such a high quantity of them into my tarantula's enclosure, or to my tarantula itself. The females got lucky because they couldn't climb (so my Avic would've been less inclined to notice them), I suspected that since one was gravid the other one was as well, and I already had two pet males so didn't want more males. Until recently, I kept the males and females separated as I didn't want any additional members. I didn't intend to start a colony (I still don't), so the quantity of mites wouldn't have evened out by much.

    Additionally, I would've tried to wash the roaches regardless, as they were absolutely filthy. They were literally caked with feces and dirt. As feeders or as pets, I wouldn't want them to remain that disgusting. So ultimately, removing the mites wasn't 100% the reason why I washed them.

    If I end up caving in and buying any more roaches, I'll leave any reasonable amount of mites, but what was on those 4 was far beyond a reasonable amount.

    Thanks for everyone's assistance!
     
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