Roach Articles by Takeshi Yamada, Brooklyn, NY

Prepare very well for the mother to have healthy babies in safe environment

Females of Madagascar giant hissing cockroach (Gromphadorhina portentosa) lay their eggs in a purse-like capsule known as an ootheca. This ootheca (egg case) is retained within her body (brood pouch) until the eggs hatch, and the young roaches first see the world as tiny nymphs. It seems the mother is giving a live birth to babies.

You may occasionally see a female with the egg-case extruded in your colony. This can be seen all year long. Such a female is in the process of forming the case as if she is "air drying" it. Healthy extruded egg-case is solid, two-lines and straight. This behavior is believed by entomologists to be obtained by the Madagascar hissers recently in their evolutional process.

Once the extruded egg-case is completely formed and "ready", she will retract it into a special cavity in the tip of her abdomen. Nevertheless, when the female is not well fed or under consistent stresses such as undesirable environmental changes (i.e., just shipped from a dealer in other states to your apartment, loud noises, improper temperature and humidity, or even improper foods given), she can not produce healthy ootheca. Eggs might be extruded individually or loosely hanging outside of her body like a skinny arch. In such incidences, unfortunately they are to be left alone on the ground. They are sooner or later eaten by cage mates as nutritious good food.

A female that has been successfully fertilized will retain the eggs within this cavity in her abdomen for at least 60 days. The eggs left on the ground, thus can not grow into babies. Incubation of abandoned eggs in a test tubes or glass container with proper gel nutrient and consistent oxygen circulation is rather difficult, costly and inefficient way to save the eggs or solve the source of problem.

During this period, baby Madagascar hissers grows inside of the egg-cases inside of their mother's abdomen. Be very gentle and nice to pregnant ladies! They are doing the truly miraculous works within their body.

As long as you feed the colony mainly with dry dog food or dry cat food that are rich in protein, you do not need to separate the pregnant mother from her cage mates --- In another words, her cage mates (male and females) will eat the newly born babies (soft, tiny, ivory white with black cute eyes, 1/4 inches) to get much needed protein. So, do not just feed Madagascar Hissers vegetables and fruits. This is very important!

NOTE: The ideal environment for Madagascar Hissers is 80 - 95 degree with at least 90% humidity level. Adding another egg tray for increasing additional surface is also a good idea. Also do not put them under any (bright) lights.

PS. Blaberus Giganteus is also a giant (3+ inches) cockroach. This beautiful and angelic-looking cockroach also "air dry" egg-case and retract it inside of the mother's abdomen in healthy environment.

Good luck to you and your pet insects!
(c) Takeshi Yamada 2002


These Pages maintained by:

E-info Media 2002