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My Hissing Cockroach Just Had a Seizure in My Hand

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Fredericusrex, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arthropodess Arachnosupporter

    Sorry for your loss! :( You did the best you could for him!

    I had not said anything previously as I hadn’t any idea what could be wrong if not pesticide exposure.

    Do you know how old he was? Some older T’s I’ve had exhibited a decrease in coordination, but nothing like a seizure, and roaches I’ve lost to old age (no hissers yet) have just slowed down until they passed.

    Were there too their symptoms or signs that make you suspect a parasite? I am not familiar with those that may affect roaches, although I would think a specific parasite unlikely as any that prey on hissers would not be found in the U.S. and hissers have been in captivity for a while now... Perhaps it was a genetic condition that revealed itself with age? There are certainly plenty such maladies that effect other animals and I would be surprised if insects did not have similar.
  2. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    I saw something veiny and black in his neck which wasn't there before, and it could be a worm. I don't have any more evidence, but the seizures started really suddenly and continued every 15 minutes from then on until he had a huge one and died. I think if it was genetic, I would see the seizures earlier and he would have died slower.
  3. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arthropodess Arachnosupporter

    Some genetic diseases exhibit a threshold effect with pathology appearing suddenly and severe, but I agree that it is not the most likely explanation.

    I would not expect that an internal parasite would cause deformation of the exoskeleton such as you describe... but then I cannot think of what would. :confused:

    Do you have other roaches? It might be a good idea to clean and replace everything in case it was a parasite or toxin.
  4. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    No, he is my only one.

    Anyway, genetic disease is really possible, because he has aged quite quickly for a roach. He started losing his Tarsis about a year and a half after being with me.
  5. dragonfire1577

    dragonfire1577 Arachnolord Active Member

    I have seen some old hissers and peppered roaches spasm and fall over when they walk, they usually don't last long after. If you had him a year and a half and got him as mature he's probably two plus years old, and thats a pretty normal age for a male hisser.
  6. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    Ah, thank you.
  7. Kennef

    Kennef Arachnopeon

    Well you did say you used a sponge? And as far as I know sponges are bad for T’s and hermit crabs, wouldn’t be suprised if roaches are affected to.
  8. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    No. I used a paper towel that was wadded up and dampened in a plastic dish
  9. Loops117

    Loops117 Arachnopeon

    My large male deaths head did this exact same thing. Spasms started when i encountered a small mold issue from some uneaten banana in the container. I cleared it out, and out of my entire colony of 2 adults and 20 juvis (and a bunch of nymphs), only my adult male was effected and started to spasm. He lasted about 3 or 4 days before he finally passed. He had the exact same issues as you mentioned, arched back, random spasms, bloated abdomen. I took a scalpel to him the day he passed and split him down the center. If it was a parasite, it wasn't alive once he died as i found an empty gut and nothing else. I then fed his body to my ants.
    I think the mold just sped up the last bit of life he had left as he was already pretty old and beat up.
  10. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    Yeah, I cleared some mold a week before his death too.
  11. Beedrill

    Beedrill Arachnoknight

    Hmm that is very interesting. So it is relatively safe to say that the mold very well could have been what did it, and that both large male cockroaches were quite old. The reason I find this to be relatively compelling is that I recently had both of my adult male B. dubia ranches pass away. Both were about a year and a half old (pretty old for that species), and I had noticed a small amount of mold on their food a week or so before each died. It had no affect whatsoever on very young nymphs, older nymphs or my adult females. The only difference in our stories is that my roaches were already dead when I checked on them so I did not have an opportunity to view their symptoms.

    Here is my guess. Most creatures experience massive declines in their immune system with age, including humans. I feel that it is safe to say that roaches could experience this as well. And it is also true that among almost all insect groups, males are shorter lived, more active once mature, and generally have a significantly less sturdy constitution than Females. We know this to be generally true of most roach species as well with females life spans being double that of males in some species. So assuming that both of these general rules apply to our roaches, I think that they most likely contracted a fungal infection due to the slow failure of their immune systems. At this point, the fungus itself may not have been a huge issue. However, many mold species produce an antibiotic to prevent bacterial growth in and around their colonies. Whatever this antibiotic was, may have caused the symptoms that reminded me so much of chemical exposure and ultimately led to the roaches deaths. Another possibility is that the fungus itself was the issue. Without figuring out where the mold infected the roaches I couldn't say for sure if the symptoms would match up. I would think it would need to attack a neurological center to cause a lot of the symptoms, but I'm certainly not a roach doctor.

    Either way, it certainly seems that mold outbreaks are at least a factor in their deaths. Just another reason to be vigilant of mold in any enclosure.
  12. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire


    I should have cleaned his cage earlier. If that happened then maybe he wouldn't have died that way.
  13. Beedrill

    Beedrill Arachnoknight

    Well these are just guesses. Without propper scientific experimentation, it would be hard to say definitively. Another thing to concider is that mold is airborne. Spors float lifelessly through the air in the millions. It’s unrealistic to say that the mold was solely responsible. Unfortunately, there are just too many factors to blame it on any one thing.

    You did what you could. And in my opinion, you did a very good job.
  14. Fredericusrex

    Fredericusrex Arachnosquire

    Thank you.