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BlattaAnglicana

Sick female hisser

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Looking for some advice here. One of my original female hissers that I got back in November seems very sick, she seems to have almost like a paralysis of her mouth parts (I've tried to feed her water and orange juice from a paintbrush but see no response at all, her palps and jaws simply don't/can't move - she is missing one of her longer palps but I don't think that is the problem have seen others eating perfectly well with just one) and although she is able to move around she keeps twitching and arching her abdomen as if she is in discomfort.

I didn't think she was that old (I got her when adult so I don't know how old she is, but she is not missing any tarsi and doesn't otherwise look or act old, i.e. slowing down etc., though her antennae are a bit shortened) so I don't think it's simply old age.

Has anyone seen anything like this before? Any idea what might have caused it? Do you think there's any chance she will recover or is it hopeless?

I'm going away soon so don't want to leave her suffering (I am not sure whether they suffer in the same way as vertebrates, but she does not look comfortable or contented and clearly cannot eat as she is currently) so if it's a hopeless case, sadly it may be kinder to put her in the freezer before I go than leave her :(

What do people think? Any advice?

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Update, it seems her head is now completely paralysed - before her antennae were moving and she could move her head around but now she can't seem to be able to move either :( Her breathing is very laboured and I think she is probably not far from death. For that reason I think I will have to put her in the freezer :( If she'd shown any sign of recovery or movement in her paralysed mouth parts, so she might be able to feed, i would have taken a chance and left her, but at the moment she just seems to be getting worse. It's very hard for me having to put down one of the first hissers I got, and it's surprised me how attached I've become to a little insect over six months, so it's a sad day for me :( 

I don't know what caused it and it seems to have come on quite quickly - I first noticed she was missing a palp on Saturday evening, though I hadn't seen her for a while so it could have been like that a while, but although her other palp seemed paralysed then she was able to move her other mouth parts and drink at that point and was otherwise behaving OK. It was yesterday when she stopped being able even to drink and today when her whole head has become immobile.

None of the others in the colony are showing any similar symptoms thankfully, so I am hoping that whatever the problem is, is not infectious. Perhaps it was just old age after all?

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They are supposed to live around five years or so, so unless you know who you got it from, it is possible you got stuck with an older female...

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Seems like she's definitely dying, probably of old age. In my experience, female live bearers, like hissers, sometimes don't make it to the age where their tarsi and antennae start falling off, I think it's the breeding that wears them out faster than the males. Seems like she's dying of natural causes to me, so if I were you, I would put her in the freezer. :( Sorry for your loss. 

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Thanks Hisserdude - I guess that's probably true, given the problems and complications I know live birth can cause. The two I had die from prolapse after giving birth certainly show it can cause them a lot of physical damage, so I guess even if the birth is successful it must take a lot out of them.

There still must be some evolutionary advantage to it otherwise live birth surely would never have evolved if the risks to the female outweighed the advantages by too much. I assume it must be the much higher likelihood of the eggs hatching successfully when incubated inside the female vs predation or other loss in an external ootheca?

Anyway, I isolated this female overnight in case she had something contagious and although she is still alive this morning she is very weak, so sadly I will be putting her in the freezer today :( At least in some consolation she gave birth to two small litters of about 8 nymphs each in my care, and I think most of them have survived to adulthood, so at least I have some of her offspring in my (growing!) colony. She was certainly the biggest of my original females, so I would not be surprised if the huge male I posted a photo of the other day was her offspring!

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Yeah, it does take a lot out of them, in my experience, the longest lived hisser specimens are almost always males, I'm sure many females can get just as old as them though.

There are a fee advantages of live birth vs egg laying, notably that the eggs will always be in just the right condition, no lack of moisture or anything. Plus, unlike egg cases, gravid females can run away from predators and parasites, bad conditions, etc., whereas oothecae can't move at all.

Well that's good, at least she'll live on through her offspring, which should get pretty large, considering how big she was.

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Sorry to butt into this post :o

On 13.6.2017 at 2:12 AM, Hisserdude said:

sometimes don't make it to the age where their tarsi and antennae start falling off

Is that a general sign if an aging roach? Because one of my Archimandrita females randomly lost a few of her tarsae (she gets around with her 3 remaining feet but limps quite a bit), one of her five legs is unmoving and her mouth cannot chew "solid" food (I feed her baby food only now), not even a softer zucchini.

I'd be relieved if it was just her age showing, she's really giving me a heartache.

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Yes that does sound like she is simply very old. Now I've had roaches for over a year I'm starting to recognise the signs of old age in them and losing tarsi, shortened antennae, being unable to eat properly and often some sort of paralysis or mobility issues definitely indicate to me that she is very elderly. Another sign is them getting very thin (because they can't eat properly I guess?) and their abdomens shrink in size so they almost look like newly shed nymphs.

It sounds like you are giving her as comfortable old age as you can though, and I can really relate to how attached one can get to these little creatures and the worry and concern they can cause us when they are not well!

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6 hours ago, hundefrau said:

Sorry to butt into this post :o

Is that a general sign if an aging roach? Because one of my Archimandrita females randomly lost a few of her tarsae (she gets around with her 3 remaining feet but limps quite a bit), one of her five legs is unmoving and her mouth cannot chew "solid" food (I feed her baby food only now), not even a softer zucchini.

I'd be relieved if it was just her age showing, she's really giving me a heartache.

It does sound like she is aging, they sort of fall apart as they get older, how old is she? 

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33 minutes ago, Hisserdude said:

It does sound like she is aging, they sort of fall apart as they get older, how old is she? 

I actually do not know how old she is. She already was an adult when I got my roaches, though - they've been with me for about 6 months now.

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2 hours ago, hundefrau said:

I actually do not know how old she is. She already was an adult when I got my roaches, though - they've been with me for about 6 months now.

Alright, so it's very likely she's just old then, loss of tarsi and weaker jaws are typical signs of old age.

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