BlattaAnglicana

Gromphadorhina oblongonota (probably hybrid) hissers taking ages to produce babies

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HI all, I have a colony of about 40 Gromphadorhina species (probably oblongonota but may be hybrids) hissers. They are all adults now approaching between 8 and 10 months old, and all came from four litters from two females, and maybe a small number of others from a third female who died and may only have produced a few nymphs.

They reached adulthood between mid May and August this year and I assume have been mating (there has been a lot of hissing!), but there is as yet no sign of babies :huh: Some of the females look quite plump and I assume they are gravid but I am beginning to get a bit concerned that I have not seen a single birth since they became adults, which is at least 6 months for the older ones now.

I have not changed anything about the conditions I keep them in from the ones I kept the original adults in which gave birth, other that I haven't really given their cage a good clean out. Do you think this is an issue and/or why they are not giving birth? The cage is a 30cmx45cmx45cm Exo-Terra terrarium which is kept fairly dry, with coco coir substrate and a lot of natural looking hides (cork bark, tree roots and fake plants), and I do remove obvious piles of frass every now and then but I have not changed the substrate completely for about 8 months. They are kept at temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (upper 70s Fahrenheit), humidity is generally around 50-60%, but they are sprayed automatically twice a day and sometimes more if I am around to do it, so the humidity goes up to about 70-80% for short periods each day. Food is a mixture of dry cat food and porridge oats for protein, and mixed fruit and veg (lettuce, carrot, broccoli, banana, orange, apple, pear, sometimes sweetcorn, haricot beans and green peas). I have noticed they are not eating anywhere near as much as they did when they were growing but other than that and not breeding they all seem to be healthy and active. I haven't noticed any aborted oothecae either but the females could be eating them I guess?

Anyone any ideas? Are they just taking their own sweet time or is there anything in my setup that could be causing them not to breed? Should I give the cage a full clean out with new substrate? Could it be that they have mated with too close relatives to produce viable eggs (many will be litter sisters and brothers, but I thought that inbreeding wasn't a big issue for insects)? Though, I also separated 5 females from the same four litters as nymphs and put them in a separate cage with a male I had from a different colony and they haven't given birth either, although a couple of them look gravid too, so maybe there's something else I'm not doing?

Any help / ideas appreciated, as I'd really like some babies out of these! 

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Hi, I don't think anything would be wrong with your set-up. I keep my hissers under very similar conditions and they breed pretty well eventhough I have only 6 adults.

It is possible they just simply grow & reproduce slowly. Inbreeding could cause problems like slower development, shorter lifespan and decreased fertility as well. If your animals are indeed hybrids, that could also cause delayed or even no breeding. In my opinion it is quite hard to tell G. portentosa or G. oblongonota from their hybrids, but if you would post some photos, we might be able to tell. 

So I think you can just wait a little longer, see if they are just "taking their time" or maybe introduce a new male (or more males/females) to your colony to see if that solves the problem.

I understand it's a difficult situation, but I hope I could help a bit.

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YAY!! Babies at last! :)

Was checking on them today and I finally saw a tiny little roach sneaking out to drink when I sprayed their enclosure, and when I looked behind some of the cork bark there are several little ones there (at least 7 that I counted but probably more), so it looks like one of my females gave birth at last! :)

I guess they were just taking their own sweet time, but it's nice to see the teeny tiny ones again! :wub:

The only downside is that I've now had to "baby-proof" their enclosure (an Exo Terra terrarium) - i.e. cover the top of the glass walls and everywhere there are gaps in the glass with vaseline and close off all the ventilation holes along the front, as I know from bitter experience with my javanica colony, in the same type of terrarium, that the little ones can get out of there. Hopefully the oblongonota babies, being bigger, won't even try, but just in case they do hopefully closing off the escape routes will prevent the majority of them getting out.

Let's hope the other females follow suit shortly!

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Nice, congrats on the little babies! :D Hope they do well for you!

BTW, even though they are bigger, those nymphs WILL try to escape, never underestimate the escaping capability of hisser nymphs! :P

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So I got a better look around today and there are at least 12-14 little ones in the cage :) I don't know whether that's all of them but I suspect not - I didn't look under all the bits of cork bark or tree roots and there are lots of crevices they could be hiding in, so I would not be surprised if there were not a few more lurking around somewhere.

No sign of escapes from these little ones yet but I did find a couple of javanica nymphs (which look quite different) that had somehow found their way into the oblongonota cage :o Those javanica babies are little escape artists and I have no idea how they get out as I'm sure I've sealed up every possible way out of their cage! 

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Just to follow up, there have been at least two more births in the last week so I now have loads of teeny little ones running around in the cage! :) The first batch have now moulted at least once (most of them twice) and are looking enormous in comparison.

So it looks like they were just taking their own sweet time to give birth - and now they have started I'll probably be knee deep in tiny roaches before long :o

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Yay, congratulations! Glad they've produced a ton of babies for you! :D

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LOL and this morning I woke up to find a whole load of tiny white newborn baby roaches in one corner of the tank as well - so they are definitely producing now!! :D

Interestingly almost all the adults in my colony were born at about the same time as this last year. I wonder whether hissers have any sort of seasonal birth timing preference or whether it’s just a coincidence?

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9 hours ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

LOL and this morning I woke up to find a whole load of tiny white newborn baby roaches in one corner of the tank as well - so they are definitely producing now!! :D

Interestingly almost all the adults in my colony were born at about the same time as this last year. I wonder whether hissers have any sort of seasonal birth timing preference or whether it’s just a coincidence?

Our expert Orin has stated that poorly kept his sers give birth synchronously after conditions improve. Your hissers seem happy, but something similar may have happened.

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Hmm, interesting - I recently increased the humidity in their cage so I wonder if this has had an effect? I am using an automatic misting system which was misting too much in the summer and causing mould, so I reduced the timings, but then it got a bit too dry, so I increased the timings again about a month ago and also sometimes spray by hand if I happened to be feeding them. I have definitely noticed it is more humid in there when I open the cage door, although the substrate is still completely dry. I wonder if this is what has induced all the females to give birth?

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