G. Portentosa premature ootheca :(

moseymoo222

Arachnopeon
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May 6, 2014
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I have a small colony of Madagascar hissers and I woke up yesterday morning to a bunch of premature nymphs in a pile. It was a little heartbreaking, and I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else? I know that females need more protein than males for reproduction and that may have been the issue, so I was also wondering what has been successful as a protein source in your colonies.

Temp: 70-80
Humidity: Watered 1-2 times per week, a generous amount in a drowning-proof dish with coconut fiber substrate that holds humidity well.
Food: Fresh fruits and veggies 1-2 times per week (lettuce and grapes this week)

Also threw in an almond experimentally, was eaten by the next day which was surprising!

Thanks in advance for any answers or suggestions! :)
 

Hisserdude

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Interesting, don't know what went wrong, your setup seems good to me. Are you sure they were prematurely born, got any pics? Were the nymphs white, wrinkled and weird looking? Cause that's what normal newborn nymphs look like, takes a while for them to darken up and their skin will look kinda wrinkled until their first molt.

Normally if the female aborts her ootheca prematurely due to stress or lack of proper nutrition then all you see is the ootheca, the nymphs don't hatch out of the eggs until they are ready.
 

moseymoo222

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Interesting, don't know what went wrong, your setup seems good to me. Are you sure they were prematurely born, got any pics? Were the nymphs white, wrinkled and weird looking? Cause that's what normal newborn nymphs look like, takes a while for them to darken up and their skin will look kinda wrinkled until their first molt.

Normally if the female aborts her ootheca prematurely due to stress or lack of proper nutrition then all you see is the ootheca, the nymphs don't hatch out of the eggs until they are ready.
I can post some pics when I get home, I'm in lecture right now (on Arachnoboards instead of paying attention :D ). They were white and I could clearly see eye spots and the dorsal heart. The reason I assumed they were premature is they looked almost folded in laterally, they were smaller than my previous nymphs, and they weren't moving at all or reacting to stimulus (blowing air at them) even after I let them sit for the day. They were born in two rounds over the course of two nights (I'm assuming from the same female), half of them on night 1 and half on night 2, so I'm not sure what it could have been. There wasn't any serious stress happening unless it was from the males, and each morning I had put food in the night before.
 

Marijan2

Arachnobaron
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505
Are you feeding solely on fruits and veggies? From when i kept multiple species of hissers my colonies with animal proteins in their regular diet did considerably better than fruit/veg only diet. Not entirely sure if that has to do anything with premature birth
 

moseymoo222

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https://www.researchgate.net/public...mphadorhina_portentosa_Dictyoptera_Blaberidae

This was the article I read about sex-specific food preferences that sort of tipped me off to the fact that it might be a lack of protein. What animal proteins do you use? I know that naturally they're detrivores so it would be rotting animal flesh in the wild, but I'm not about to have a decaying animal lying around hahaha. The article above also brings up a good point about dog food vs. moist dog treats as a protein source, which is interesting considering dry dog food is as common as it is in the G. portentosa community.
 

Hisserdude

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Pics! Sorry for poor quality. One is zoomed in for detail, one is not with a bracelet for reference.
Yeah, looks like the female aborted the ootheca early and the underdeveloped nymphs tried exiting the egg but failed. Since you are feeding them plenty of food and keeping them heated I don't know what the problem is, perhaps they do need more protein in their diet. Dry dog food is what I use, however the semi moist dog treats are more resistant to mold, though mold shouldn't be a problem in the normal hisser cage since they like it pretty dry.
 

Marijan2

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What animal proteins do you use? I know that naturally they're detrivores so it would be rotting animal flesh in the wild, but I'm not about to have a decaying animal lying around hahaha. The article above also brings up a good point about dog food vs. moist dog treats as a protein source, which is interesting considering dry dog food is as common as it is in the G. portentosa community.
I personally use dry dog food, i used some dry cat food before, but noticed it doesn't make any difference so i kept with dog food as it's much cheaper. And yes, in the wild roaches eat literally everything that is organic, including plants, meat, other insects, literally everything except rocks and metal. I also used to treat them as bark cleaners before i put that bark into my tarantula enclosures. One week in and they clean dead and rotting pieces so well it's unbelievable.

though mold shouldn't be a problem in the normal hisser cage since they like it pretty dry.
From personal experience i found hissers prefer high humidity with medium ventilation more than dry/semi-dry environment. Now i know it is fairly dry in their natural environment, but they do so much better if its literally condensing on the sides. I tried both options, and in more humid environment they become much more prolific with ootheca realization skyrocketing to almost 100%. Sure, it have some heavy drawbacks with mites(interestingly enough mites take care of ALL mold and funghi, and if they have nothing else to eat they go on dog food), but it is manageable if you keep eye on it and regularly change substrate, you want those mites in medium numbers, not too much and not too few.
 

Introvertebrate

Arachnodemon
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According to the article linked above, we should be feeding our roaches moist dog food instead:

"A possible explanation for our observations is that adult
G. portentosa fed dry dog chow ad libitum might actually be hungry because
they are chronically undernourished. Studies on growth, development, and
reproduction in the German cockroach, Blatella germanica, show that dry
dog chow is a low-quality diet because the steam extrusion process used to
form kibble creates a hard-baked exterior that serves as a barrier to feeding
and the heat damages or degrades proteins and other nutrients contained
in the diet."
 

Marijan2

Arachnobaron
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I was thinking about buying protein concentrates for some time already(those used by gym users) and mix it with some usual dry food(80% food-20% protein) i use to see if anything noticeable happens. Obviously i'd use several groups. I'm really anxious to see for myself. RIP my wallet if it indeed proves to be much better
 

Hisserdude

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From personal experience i found hissers prefer high humidity with medium ventilation more than dry/semi-dry environment. Now i know it is fairly dry in their natural environment, but they do so much better if its literally condensing on the sides. I tried both options, and in more humid environment they become much more prolific with ootheca realization skyrocketing to almost 100%. Sure, it have some heavy drawbacks with mites(interestingly enough mites take care of ALL mold and funghi, and if they have nothing else to eat they go on dog food), but it is manageable if you keep eye on it and regularly change substrate, you want those mites in medium numbers, not too much and not too few.
Interesting, I was under the impression that they did better in drier conditions, thanks for the info! :) Still, for many people mites are a huge problem, I know I used to have pretty bad infestations of soil mites, though recently I've obtained some springtails that have completely eliminated grain mites and seem to work good against soil mites in my enclosures, so it would be easy to avoid them if I switched over to a moist setup for my hissers. :)

Sounds like you have soil mites too, they don't really bother larger invertebrates like hissers but for smaller species they can really stress them out with constant tactile contact, so I'd keep an eye out on them, just in case. In my opinion you can never have too few mites, if mold is really an issue just go for some springtails, (though the larger springtails like Sinella curviseta can directly outcompete tiny roaches such as Chorisoneura and other tiny Ectobiids for space and food, so don't use those as clean up crews for tiny roaches. The smaller silver springtails are fine though).
 

Marijan2

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Yup, i am the experiment type of guy and i try different things to see how things roll myself. I wrote a guide here for Elliptorhinas ( http://arachnoboards.com/threads/e-javanica-caresheet-and-interesting-behavior.244213/ ) some years ago too. I had so much of hissers i was basically giving them away (and crashed local hisser economy from $1-2 a piece to 10cents a piece), under a year from stock of 10 semi-adults to literally thousands. Those numbers are really exhausting to take care for you know. Sadly these days i only have dubias and lats. I really need to get some more roach species again, i really miss them
 

moseymoo222

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May 6, 2014
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Interesting, I was under the impression that they did better in drier conditions, thanks for the info! :) Still, for many people mites are a huge problem, I know I used to have pretty bad infestations of soil mites, though recently I've obtained some springtails that have completely eliminated grain mites and seem to work good against soil mites in my enclosures, so it would be easy to avoid them if I switched over to a moist setup for my hissers. :)

Sounds like you have soil mites too, they don't really bother larger invertebrates like hissers but for smaller species they can really stress them out with constant tactile contact, so I'd keep an eye out on them, just in case. In my opinion you can never have too few mites, if mold is really an issue just go for some springtails, (though the larger springtails like Sinella curviseta can directly outcompete tiny roaches such as Chorisoneura and other tiny Ectobiids for space and food, so don't use those as clean up crews for tiny roaches. The smaller silver springtails are fine though).
I've found a couple articles on the mites, and I guess it depends on which kinds of mites you have but if the enclosure is cleaned regularly enough then it should just be G. shaeferi that you're seeing. According to the articles, these mites are specific to this species of roach, and possibly even to the individual roach! They found that up to 20 mites per roach was sort of the magic number for fungus control, and that they had no negative health effects except for possibly blocking the roach's spiracles if they become too numerous. The mites also can only tolerate a 20% drop in humidity before they start to die, so high humidity would be very important for keeping up this symbiotic relationship.

As for food, I just talked with the person who does a lot of the work for hisser keeping at the U of MN, and she said that they usually go with a rat chow. I have yet to look up the nutrition facts, but apparently it provides sufficient protein for successful reproduction and isn't too expensive! When it comes to dry dog kibble, I'm sure it depends on what brand you buy. The study mentioned in the previous post used Purina, but maybe Blue Buffalo or something would do a better job?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19352686
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03182292
 

Hisserdude

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Yup, i am the experiment type of guy and i try different things to see how things roll myself. I wrote a guide here for Elliptorhinas ( http://arachnoboards.com/threads/e-javanica-caresheet-and-interesting-behavior.244213/ ) some years ago too. I had so much of hissers i was basically giving them away (and crashed local hisser economy from $1-2 a piece to 10cents a piece), under a year from stock of 10 semi-adults to literally thousands. Those numbers are really exhausting to take care for you know. Sadly these days i only have dubias and lats. I really need to get some more roach species again, i really miss them
Cool, nice care sheet BTW! :) You totally should get more roaches, there are so many cool species out there, and the selection of available species is always growing! :D

I've found a couple articles on the mites, and I guess it depends on which kinds of mites you have but if the enclosure is cleaned regularly enough then it should just be G. shaeferi that you're seeing. According to the articles, these mites are specific to this species of roach, and possibly even to the individual roach! They found that up to 20 mites per roach was sort of the magic number for fungus control, and that they had no negative health effects except for possibly blocking the roach's spiracles if they become too numerous. The mites also can only tolerate a 20% drop in humidity before they start to die, so high humidity would be very important for keeping up this symbiotic relationship.
Oh I got tons of G.shaeferi in my hisser colony, those guys are cool and beneficial. The ones you gotta look out for are grain mites, Acarus siro, and the various soil mites, those guys can be harmful. I had some problems with grain mites in the enclosure a couple of months ago, things were a bit on the moist side and I had just put some lettuce in the cage, which probably had the grain mites on it. I let the cage dry out a bit and the grain mites were gone. :) The G.schaeferi are still present in abundant numbers though, despite the cage being rather dry, however I doubt the humidity is below 20%.
 

Marijan2

Arachnobaron
Joined
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505
Cool, nice care sheet BTW! :) You totally should get more roaches, there are so many cool species out there, and the selection of available species is always growing! :D
Since i recently got back again in full throttle in hobby from lenghtly pause, you bet i'm getting anything i can get my hands on!
 

moseymoo222

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Joined
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Messages
8
Cool, nice care sheet BTW! :) You totally should get more roaches, there are so many cool species out there, and the selection of available species is always growing! :D



Oh I got tons of G.shaeferi in my hisser colony, those guys are cool and beneficial. The ones you gotta look out for are grain mites, Acarus siro, and the various soil mites, those guys can be harmful. I had some problems with grain mites in the enclosure a couple of months ago, things were a bit on the moist side and I had just put some lettuce in the cage, which probably had the grain mites on it. I let the cage dry out a bit and the grain mites were gone. :) The G.schaeferi are still present in abundant numbers though, despite the cage being rather dry, however I doubt the humidity is below 20%.
I've never had issues with mites but I've always been terrified that it would happen!! How do you identify which species it is?
 

Introvertebrate

Arachnodemon
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Messages
737
............As for food, I just talked with the person who does a lot of the work for hisser keeping at the U of MN, and she said that they usually go with a rat chow.............
Your previous article also recommends rat chow to dry dog chow, if I'm understanding it correctly:

Perhaps if we had used rat chow as a standard laboratory diet, as recommended for the German cockroach (Cooper and Schal, 1992a,b), then G. portentosa in the “well-fed” treatment might have shown longer response latencies.
 

Dark

Arachnobaron
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Everyone on here seems to be over-worrying and over-analyzing things like this is some sort of shocking un-heard of tragedy. I am sorry your ooth was aborted and I am not trying to be callous but this sort of thing happens all the time. I have 13 G. portentosa adults (hybrids like everyone elses) and I was getting extremely frustrated because there had been 4 - 5 aborted oothecas over the course of 6 months and zero success with babies. I keep mine at room temperature which is typically 75 max during the day and 65 at the lowest at night. I figured the temperature was the issue and accepted the fact that I'd never get to have little baby roaches with this species. Then one day I got home and two females had 20+ nymphs successfully per batch. Then the next day another female gave birth, a few days passed by and then again it happened. There was over 100+ babies in all. So despite my temperature being "wrong" and only feeding them ground up dry dog food, fish flakes, and occasional carrot or apple, I still ended up with more babies than I needed.

In conclusion: There are a million reasons why an adult female roach might abort an ootheca. Could be stress, could be a genetic abnormality, could be diet, could be luck of the draw or maybe you just happened to dig around the enclosure one day and it rubbed her the wrong way. Depending upon how hybridized your colony is that could also be a factor. I originally thought that a hybrid hisser would be more robust and a better breeder than a pure because of "hybrid vigor". I eventually ordered some pure hissers and the difference between the two is night and day. None of my pure G. portentosa stock are adults yet but they grow very quickly and from what I've heard are much more prolific and hardier all-around.

I don't mean to belittle other people's posts but I don't think it's because something was done "wrong" or because a special magical ingredient is missing. I used to keep hissers on a pure 100% bread diet with occasional lettuce added and they eventually had babies too (I was like 13 years old). By the book a bread and lettuce diet is abysmal but they made it work, I changed the bread every few days and it was fine. As humans we're prone to over-coddling our beloved pets and sometimes when things don't go entirely smoothly we blame ourselves or assume something horrible is happening. Once you get a sizeable colony going you'll notice that aborted oothecas are a just part of keeping roaches. I'd be surprised if there are any members on these boards who keep hissers and never see aborted oothecas. Maybe a billion people will come forward and I'll feel like a negligent jerkwad. Either way, I wouldn't worry.

Eric
 

Hisserdude

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Since i recently got back again in full throttle in hobby from lenghtly pause, you bet i'm getting anything i can get my hands on!
Cool, hope you are able to get some nice species! :)

I've never had issues with mites but I've always been terrified that it would happen!! How do you identify which species it is?
Most of the time when people get grain mites it's A.siro, they are cosmopolitan and are pests of grain products worldwide. Of course I could have had some other species of grain mite, but since that species is the most common, they are most likely what I had.

Everyone on here seems to be over-worrying and over-analyzing things like this is some sort of shocking un-heard of tragedy. I am sorry your ooth was aborted and I am not trying to be callous but this sort of thing happens all the time. I have 13 G. portentosa adults (hybrids like everyone elses) and I was getting extremely frustrated because there had been 4 - 5 aborted oothecas over the course of 6 months and zero success with babies. I keep mine at room temperature which is typically 75 max during the day and 65 at the lowest at night. I figured the temperature was the issue and accepted the fact that I'd never get to have little baby roaches with this species. Then one day I got home and two females had 20+ nymphs successfully per batch. Then the next day another female gave birth, a few days passed by and then again it happened. There was over 100+ babies in all. So despite my temperature being "wrong" and only feeding them ground up dry dog food, fish flakes, and occasional carrot or apple, I still ended up with more babies than I needed.

In conclusion: There are a million reasons why an adult female roach might abort an ootheca. Could be stress, could be a genetic abnormality, could be diet, could be luck of the draw or maybe you just happened to dig around the enclosure one day and it rubbed her the wrong way. Depending upon how hybridized your colony is that could also be a factor. I originally thought that a hybrid hisser would be more robust and a better breeder than a pure because of "hybrid vigor". I eventually ordered some pure hissers and the difference between the two is night and day. None of my pure G. portentosa stock are adults yet but they grow very quickly and from what I've heard are much more prolific and hardier all-around.

I don't mean to belittle other people's posts but I don't think it's because something was done "wrong" or because a special magical ingredient is missing. I used to keep hissers on a pure 100% bread diet with occasional lettuce added and they eventually had babies too (I was like 13 years old). By the book a bread and lettuce diet is abysmal but they made it work, I changed the bread every few days and it was fine. As humans we're prone to over-coddling our beloved pets and sometimes when things don't go entirely smoothly we blame ourselves or assume something horrible is happening. Once you get a sizeable colony going you'll notice that aborted oothecas are a just part of keeping roaches. I'd be surprised if there are any members on these boards who keep hissers and never see aborted oothecas. Maybe a billion people will come forward and I'll feel like a negligent jerkwad. Either way, I wouldn't worry.

Eric
Very nicely put Dark, I agree, we do tend to coddle our pets and underestimate their ability to survive and breed. BTW, day temps about 75F are enough for most G.portentosa and hybrid stocks to breed, don't know why they kept aborting their ootheca. Like you said, there are a thousand reasons why they could have aborted their ooths, so who knows?
 

Introvertebrate

Arachnodemon
Joined
Dec 18, 2010
Messages
737
Everyone on here seems to be over-worrying and over-analyzing things like this is some sort of shocking un-heard of tragedy. I am sorry your ooth was aborted and I am not trying to be callous but this sort of thing happens all the time. I have 13 G. portentosa adults (hybrids like everyone elses) and I was getting extremely frustrated because there had been 4 - 5 aborted oothecas over the course of 6 months and zero success with babies. I keep mine at room temperature which is typically 75 max during the day and 65 at the lowest at night. I figured the temperature was the issue and accepted the fact that I'd never get to have little baby roaches with this species. Then one day I got home and two females had 20+ nymphs successfully per batch. Then the next day another female gave birth, a few days passed by and then again it happened. There was over 100+ babies in all. So despite my temperature being "wrong" and only feeding them ground up dry dog food, fish flakes, and occasional carrot or apple, I still ended up with more babies than I needed.

In conclusion: There are a million reasons why an adult female roach might abort an ootheca. Could be stress, could be a genetic abnormality, could be diet, could be luck of the draw or maybe you just happened to dig around the enclosure one day and it rubbed her the wrong way. Depending upon how hybridized your colony is that could also be a factor. I originally thought that a hybrid hisser would be more robust and a better breeder than a pure because of "hybrid vigor". I eventually ordered some pure hissers and the difference between the two is night and day. None of my pure G. portentosa stock are adults yet but they grow very quickly and from what I've heard are much more prolific and hardier all-around.

I don't mean to belittle other people's posts but I don't think it's because something was done "wrong" or because a special magical ingredient is missing. I used to keep hissers on a pure 100% bread diet with occasional lettuce added and they eventually had babies too (I was like 13 years old). By the book a bread and lettuce diet is abysmal but they made it work, I changed the bread every few days and it was fine. As humans we're prone to over-coddling our beloved pets and sometimes when things don't go entirely smoothly we blame ourselves or assume something horrible is happening. Once you get a sizeable colony going you'll notice that aborted oothecas are a just part of keeping roaches. I'd be surprised if there are any members on these boards who keep hissers and never see aborted oothecas. Maybe a billion people will come forward and I'll feel like a negligent jerkwad. Either way, I wouldn't worry.

Eric
Who's over-worrying and over-analyzing? I'm just happy that someone is providing legit scientific articles instead of shooting from the hip like we usually get. I've learned more about roach rearing in the last 4 hours than in the last few years on this board.
 
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