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Psycada

Hisser nymphs crowding around adult female

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I checked on my roaches today to find 4-5 nymphs around my only adult female. These nymphs are from another roach that was given away, leaving this female the only adult. This is my first time raising nymphs and I just want to know: do nymphs usually flock to the nearest adult? Is it for protection? There's other nymphs in the cage, about 6, why haven't they flocked to the adult?

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I've often seen newborn hisser nymphs crowding round their mother for the first few hours or even a day or so, which I think is partly for protection whilst their exoskeletons first harden and partly because a lot of hisser mothers feed their young on a secretion from their brood sac ("roach milk") which the babies eat as their first meal.

However after that they usually disperse and go off to hide in little nooks and crannies e.g. cracks in cork bark around the tank. They often do hide in groups though, and I am guessing this is for protection. However, I haven't seen them crowd around a female (especially one that isn't their mother) after the first day or so, so it sounds unusual. 

How old are the nymphs? Did you give the mother roach away as soon as they were born or after they were few days/weeks old? 

Do they have anywhere else to hide, e.g. cork bark, egg boxes, toilet roll tubes? Tiny nymphs do like to hide away as they are quite vulnerable, so if they haven't got anywhere else to hide perhaps they are crowding round the adult female because she is providing a place for them to hide under?

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There's a few rocks and a vine in the tank, but you're probably right as they're hiding under the same rock as the adult. They're also a few months old and the mother was given away a a few weeks after birth.

I've been wanting to get some more things for them to hide under for a while, since they're getting bigger I should probably find something to accommodate them. Thank you!

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Ah OK, I had assumed they were really tiny nymphs! As they are a few months old they are probably quite big by new (3rd or 4th instar?) and by that age they are much less vulnerable than tiny nymphs anyway so think it's unlikely they are gathering round the female for protection. I suspect it's more because most roaches are sub-social (not fully social like bees or wasps, but they do tend to aggregate in loose colonies or groups of other roaches rather than being solitary) and seem to like to hide together in groups if they can, so I imagine it's just that they prefer to be with a group of other roaches rather than specifically flocking to the female because she is an adult. 

Adding more hides would not harm them though, so I would not hesitate to add more things to the tank if you have the room.

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It's likely just their gregarious nature, nothing more. :) 

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