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Nika

Is anyone keeping sand cockroaches (Arenivaga species)?

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Hi,

I am studying biology in germany and Iam doing a research project about cockroaches of the genus arenivaga (sand cockroaches). They have some really interesting adaptations to dry climates, for example they have special structures at the head to absorb water from water vapor in the air. I wanted to ask, if there is someone who keeps these animals and could answer some questions?  Thank you! :)
 

 

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I'm keeping Arenivaga bolliana and A.cf.genitalis. :) TBH though, they don't seem that tolerant of dry conditions, I've had a few losses due to keeping them too dry. Polyphaga on the other hand are really tolerant of dry conditions.

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3 hours ago, pannaking22 said:

Sorry, no Arenivaga here, I wish though.<_<

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I would like to point out that experience with captive inverts like many other spieces is different than what they would do out in nature. An example would be bearded dragons and hognose snakes raised in captivity don't perform their famous defensive displays.  Desert environments are the hardest to replicate in fact most people don't know the difference between high desert and low desert. High elevation deserts have abundant air humidity however fast wind coming off mountains prevents the formation of clouds so no rain. That's probably where these roaches are found. Its really difficult to replicate these conditions a custom 100 gal tank would be required. I would suggest seeing if there are people who grow high elevation desert plants in vivariums they would have the best info how to build an enclosure that can replicate that environment. Luckily roaches are pretty adaptable to captive conditions. Hopefully there will be some one who can awnser your questions. Try Kyle at roachcrossing.com he's very slow to reply but very knowledgeable. Its been a week since I emailed him and no reply yet. Best of luck and we look forward to hearing more about your research project.

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16 minutes ago, lovebugfarm said:

I would like to point out that experience with captive inverts like many other spieces is different than what they would do out in nature. An example would be bearded dragons and hognose snakes raised in captivity don't perform their famous defensive displays.  Desert environments are the hardest to replicate in fact most people don't know the difference between high desert and low desert. High elevation deserts have abundant air humidity however fast wind coming off mountains prevents the formation of clouds so no rain. That's probably where these roaches are found. Its really difficult to replicate these conditions a custom 100 gal tank would be required. I would suggest seeing if there are people who grow high elevation desert plants in vivariums they would have the best info how to build an enclosure that can replicate that environment. Luckily roaches are pretty adaptable to captive conditions. Hopefully there will be some one who can awnser your questions. Try Kyle at roachcrossing.com he's very slow to reply but very knowledgeable. Its been a week since I emailed him and no reply yet. Best of luck and we look forward to hearing more about your research project.

Indeed, Arenivaga usually hide out in moist areas in their desert habitat such as rodent burrows or among plant roots, so while they may live in arid areas they actually live in moist micro-habitats and don't live long in dry conditions. In captivity they like the lower layers of their substrate to be moist, and the upper layer can be drier, kinda like how Therea spp like it.

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Thanks a lot for your fast answers! I have to admit that the field of entomology is quite new to me, so I am happy for every advice. :)

@lovebugfarm
Thanks for your hint for Kyle and his website! He even seems to sell A. bolliana but I'm afraid there is probably no possibility to ship them over to Germany. :( The high air humidity is indeed something that has to be considered and I am currently still figuring out which species can really tolerate very low humidities.

@Hisserdude
To me it would be interesting to know if you have ever observed any differences in the behavior of male and female animals, such as prefering different areas (dry/moist) or different depths of the substrate? And have you seen differences in the losses due to desiccation between the genders? I've heard that the nymphs and females could be somehow more resistant to water deprivation.

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8 hours ago, Nika said:

@Hisserdude

To me it would be interesting to know if you have ever observed any differences in the behavior of male and female animals, such as prefering different areas (dry/moist) or different depths of the substrate? And have you seen differences in the losses due to desiccation between the genders? I've heard that the nymphs and females could be somehow more resistant to water deprivation.

Males, especially adult males, are way more sensitive to dryness than females and will try to be as close as possible to moist areas in the substrate, at least that's what I've observed in A.bolliana. They are also very short lived, so it's hard to tell if deaths are due to dessication or just old age.

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It's interesting to hear that the males of A. bolliana could be more sensitive to dryness. This would support the idea that different mechanisms for water uptake in males and females are common among different Arenivaga species. Do the roaches have with liquid water accessible or do you just keep them in moist substrate? It would be really interesting to know if they need liquid water (or much water from food) or if they can cover their water demand by living in humid air.

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I don't have liquid water available in any of my roach cages, as water bowls usually end up drowning the roaches or becoming breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. I keep the lower layers of the substrate moist in my Arenivaga enclosures, and that seems to be good enough for them. 

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I hope to keep some Arenivaga in the future, so it's useful to know how to keep them well. What do you feed them? I was already lucky to get some dead animals that I can investigate but of course observing the animals alive would be the best. I am really excited to find out more in the next weeks about their adaptations though. If it works out well, I am sure there will be more questions arising. :D

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7 hours ago, Nika said:

I hope to keep some Arenivaga in the future, so it's useful to know how to keep them well. What do you feed them? I was already lucky to get some dead animals that I can investigate but of course observing the animals alive would be the best. I am really excited to find out more in the next weeks about their adaptations though. If it works out well, I am sure there will be more questions arising. :D

Their main diet (along with most other Corydiids), is dead hardwood leaves, supplemented with dog/cat food. They have very small appetites, so a handful of dead leaves placed upon the substrate will last them many months. Also, they seem to do best in relatively small enclosures.

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Their diet does not seem to be too complicated. Do they get along well with lower room temperatures or do you think it is better to provide some source of heat?

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17 minutes ago, Nika said:

Their diet does not seem to be too complicated. Do they get along well with lower room temperatures or do you think it is better to provide some source of heat?

Room temperature is probably best, I don't think they'd like high temperatures that much.

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To keep you updated on my research project: I got some dead roaches, but unfortunately no Arenivaga investigata yet. I was able to buy some Polyphaga aegyptiaca in Germany, which will hopefully arrive on monday. I already bought some dog food but also want to feed dead hardwood leaves. Can I collect the leaves outside and dry them? I am not sure if I should feed them, as they do not look that good after the winter. And I was thinking about coconut fiber as substrate, does anyone have experience with that?

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They will definitely need leaves, or they will die, they need to be decayed as well, collecting fresh leaves from trees and drying them out will not work. Why don't the dead leaves outside look good? 

Yes, coconut fiber makes a great substrate for Polyphaga, as well as Arenivaga, definitely don't use sand though, since it's harder to maintain good humidity levels with it, and it can be abrasive, plus it makes the enclosure really heavy!

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Thanks a lot for your advice! I just thought the leaves outside might be too old and moldy due to the wet winter and could possibly make the roaches ill. But then I try to search more dry leaves. Can you recommend any specific type of tree that they like most? I've read that oak is a good choice for many roaches?

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Yes, they like old and moldy, just sterilize it by throwing it in the oven or microwave, and it should be good. :) Supposedly any hardwood leaves will do, don't think they have any preferences, oak is supposed to be pretty good for them though.

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My roaches arrived this week! I have now two adult females and two adult males and about 25 nymphs of different sizes. At first they were very excited and explored their new home but now they are all buried or hidden under the leaves. The box also contained four egg cases. Do you know if they need any special treatment? And is there any chance to estimate how long it will take until hatching?

Männchen Weibchen Hundefutter.jpg

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Nice, hope they do well for you! :) From what I've heard, the ooths don't require any special care, just leave them in there and they'll eventually hatch. No way to tell how old the oothecae are, so there's no way to tell when they'll hatch either, sorry.

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Thanks, I also hope that they do well! :) I want to keep one corner moist, but I am not sure how moist it needs to be as I want to prevent molding. Can you give me some advice on that? And do you feed fresh food from time to time? I am afraid that they might not have enough water. Now I am just feeding dog food in addition to the hardwood leaves.

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9 hours ago, Nika said:

Thanks, I also hope that they do well! :) I want to keep one corner moist, but I am not sure how moist it needs to be as I want to prevent molding. Can you give me some advice on that? And do you feed fresh food from time to time? I am afraid that they might not have enough water. Now I am just feeding dog food in addition to the hardwood leaves.

It shouldn't mold as long as you don't have any food over in the moist corner, coconut fiber rarely, if ever, molds by itself. Just keep one corner moist, but not sopping wet. :)

I offer dog food like once a week and the rest of the time they just have their dead leaves, and they seem to do quite well. :) I never feed them any produce because they never seem to eat it at all.

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Hi guys :)

So far most of my roaches seem to do well, thanks again for all your advide!

But unfortunately one of the adult females died a few days after arriving. She was in an upright position at the top of the substrate for about one day and moved less and less when I touched her. Is this behavior normal for dying roaches and did someone experience a similar situation? She also had something looking like mold at her anus. The other roaches showed no signs of illness, but in the daytime they rarely move at all unless I move their container. When are your roaches mostly active? They probably move more in the nighttime, but I am keeping the animals at my university, so I cannot control this. Could the room temperature be to low?

By the way: Is it okay to write in this thread again or should I start a new one for special topics?

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9 hours ago, Nika said:

Hi guys :)

So far most of my roaches seem to do well, thanks again for all your advide!

But unfortunately one of the adult females died a few days after arriving. She was in an upright position at the top of the substrate for about one day and moved less and less when I touched her. Is this behavior normal for dying roaches and did someone experience a similar situation? She also had something looking like mold at her anus. The other roaches showed no signs of illness, but in the daytime they rarely move at all unless I move their container. When are your roaches mostly active? They probably move more in the nighttime, but I am keeping the animals at my university, so I cannot control this. Could the room temperature be to low?

By the way: Is it okay to write in this thread again or should I start a new one for special topics?

Hmm, I'm just gonna chalk that death up due to shipping stress, which may have caused what sounds like either a prolapse or a fungal infection. If none of the others are exhibiting that kind of behavior, then that's all it probably was.

What are the temps in the room? As long as they are in the 70s, it shouldn't be too cold for them. They are definitely more active at night, they are very shy and prefer to stay hidden and don't move around a whole lot during the day. 

Eh, I'd just keep using this one for now, as long as the topic stays on sand roaches. :) If you have a specific, somewhat important question that you really want someone to see, I'd start a new topic, just to draw more attention to the question at hand. 

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I really hope this was due to the stress, it's just a shame that it was one of my two adult females. :(

The temperatures are at least in the low 70s, and rise a bit during the day, so that shouldn't be a problem I think. I was just a bit concerned, because I am also keeping Shelfordella lateralis and these are much more active.

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