Chimera

Large roach species with biggest variety of appearance?

14 posts in this topic

So I've been trying to settle on a species for my first roach colony, and I'm having difficulty deciding. I want a large, active species, and, if possible, a species where there is variety in markings or coloration within that species. For example, I'm strongly considering Elliptorhina javanica, because I've read that they can have red or black pronotums, with some roaches have a mix of both. I would like having a colony where they didn't all look like clones. I'm also drawn to hissers because I've heard they are more active and visible than other species. Is that true?

I've also been looking at Blaberus craniifer, and am wondering if there is some variation among the pronotum markings?

Is there is any other large, readily available species that might have some unique-looking individuals?

Also, side question about E. javanica, is it possible to selectively breed them to produce nymphs with a specific feature? For example, a bright red pronotum? Would this be a fairly simple undertaking, or are roach genetics more complex than "put roaches with the feature that you want together"?

Finally, if you have a species that you particularly love, but there is little or no variation in appearance, I would still love to hear about it! I just want to get as much feedback as possible. Thanks :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a colony of E. javanica and yes they have quite a large variation in colouration. They are all basically yellow and black striped as adults, but some do have red pronotums, although in many individuals there is a mix of black and red, with the patterning of the black areas being extremely variable. In my colony I rarely see one with no black at all on the pronotum but there are a few notably "redder" individuals with the body colour often also being lighter/redder than those with fully black pronotums. The nymphs start off a uniform brown but as they grow they begin to develop the stripes which get more obvious as the nymph matures, so it's fun to watch them slowly developing the adult colouration.

They are very active and interesting to watch, especially when you have males fighting over the females! Their hiss is much quieter than the hiss of say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota, it's quite "gentle" in comparison, but the males still hiss as insistently either when fighting or trying to persuade a reluctant female! Mine are definitely more active at night but they are also out in the open during the day, but that might be more to do with the size of my colony - when I didn't have so many I didn't see them so much during the day.

One word of warning, these can be very prolific - I started off with males only but after I added just seven females in May, the population has exploded and I must have at least a couple of hundred of them now! Unfortunately I am not US based so I can't offer you any (pretty sure it's illegal to ship them from the UK to the USA), but just to say if you only start off with a few, it will likely not be long before you have more than you know what to do with! (Thankfully I have a couple of people/places where I can offload my "extras" as I don't feed them off to anything, they are purely pets).

However overall they are very much recommended and are probably my favourites of the three hisser species I have (G. portentosa, G. oblongonota and E. javanica) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

I have a colony of E. javanica and yes they have quite a large variation in colouration. They are all basically yellow and black striped as adults, but some do have red pronotums, although in many individuals there is a mix of black and red, with the patterning of the black areas being extremely variable. In my colony I rarely see one with no black at all on the pronotum but there are a few notably "redder" individuals with the body colour often also being lighter/redder than those with fully black pronotums. The nymphs start off a uniform brown but as they grow they begin to develop the stripes which get more obvious as the nymph matures, so it's fun to watch them slowly developing the adult colouration.

They are very active and interesting to watch, especially when you have males fighting over the females! Their hiss is much quieter than the hiss of say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota, it's quite "gentle" in comparison, but the males still hiss as insistently either when fighting or trying to persuade a reluctant female! Mine are definitely more active at night but they are also out in the open during the day, but that might be more to do with the size of my colony - when I didn't have so many I didn't see them so much during the day.

One word of warning, these can be very prolific - I started off with males only but after I added just seven females in May, the population has exploded and I must have at least a couple of hundred of them now! Unfortunately I am not US based so I can't offer you any (pretty sure it's illegal to ship them from the UK to the USA), but just to say if you only start off with a few, it will likely not be long before you have more than you know what to do with! (Thankfully I have a couple of people/places where I can offload my "extras" as I don't feed them off to anything, they are purely pets).

However overall they are very much recommended and are probably my favourites of the three hisser species I have (G. portentosa, G. oblongonota and E. javanica) :)

Thanks so much for your response! They are very cool looking roaches! Can you control the population growth a bit by not providing a heat mat, or will they breed at room temperature? And the thing about their hiss is good to know, as G. oblononota is another species I'm considering.

Have you attempted to selectively breed them for a certain coloration? And if you have the time, I would absolutely love a picture of one of the javanica individuals with mixed black/red pronotums, if you have one on hand?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider Blaberus sp. "Venezuela", they are larger than Elliptorhina javanica, and have variable pronotum markings, with some having black, red, or black and red pronotum markings. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Hisserdude said:

Consider Blaberus sp. "Venezuela", they are larger than Elliptorhina javanica, and have variable pronotum markings, with some having black, red, or black and red pronotum markings. :)

Ooh, now those are pretty! And a non-climbing species would certainly be easier to house than hissers... Do you know if they are ever active during the day/evening? I'd really like a colony I could sit down and watch :D

And if you don't mind me asking, how do you know they are larger then E. javanica? According to Roach Crossing, it's the other way around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Chimera said:

Ooh, now those are pretty! And a non-climbing species would certainly be easier to house than hissers... Do you know if they are ever active during the day/evening? I'd really like a colony I could sit down and watch :D

And if you don't mind me asking, how do you know they are larger then E. javanica? According to Roach Crossing, it's the other way around.

They are pretty attractive, and the adults seem to spend a decent amount of time perched on hides, (well, the males do at least, the females do like to burrow a lot).

Well I've only ever had one E.javanica, (which I got from Roachcrossing), but it was tiny compared to the Blaberus, can't have been more than 40 mm in length, and had much less mass than the Blaberus. Orin McMonigle writes that adults get to about 36-46 mm in length in "For the Love of Cockroaches", that seems to match up better to me. I'm gonna go on a limb and say Kyle made a mistake when writing the length info for E.javanica on Roachcrossing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

They are pretty attractive, and the adults seem to spend a decent amount of time perched on hides, (well, the males do at least, the females do like to burrow a lot).

Well I've only ever had one E.javanica, (which I got from Roachcrossing), but it was tiny compared to the Blaberus, can't have been more than 40 mm in length, and had much less mass than the Blaberus. Orin McMonigle writes that adults get to about 36-46 mm in length in "For the Love of Cockroaches", that seems to match up better to me. I'm gonna go on a limb and say Kyle made a mistake when writing the length info for E.javanica on Roachcrossing.

Huh, okay. Thanks so much for letting me know, as a large size is very important to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Chimera said:

Huh, okay. Thanks so much for letting me know, as a large size is very important to me.

Yeah, E.javanica and E.chopardi are known as "dwarf" hissers, if large size is a really big driving factor in what types of roaches you want to get, they may not be for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been measuring my roaches ;) and my javanica definitely grow to about 5.5-6cm, a big male or female can get quite large. However they are nowhere near as big as say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota - some of my biggest oblongonota males are over 8cm and they are built like tanks too! However oblongonota aren't that variable - they do have variations in the markings on their backs but these are not obvious from a distance, so probably would not fit your criteria.

For what it's worth I've attached a photo of a large female trying to climb the glass of her cage next to a tape measure showing she's at least 5.5cm long, and a photo of a group with a few red-pronotum individuals (two females at the bottom and right of the group) with some black pronotum and nymphs.

Neither photo is particularly good I'm afraid - I was trying to hold my phone and a torch to light them and take a photo at the same time before they all scuttled off under the cork bark and fake plants!

It might be worth considering hybrid Gromphadorhina portentosa if you are not bothered about whether they are a pure strain - mine (I am guessing they are hybrid) are very variable in both the base colour, and the amount of black markings on the abdomen and pronotum, and they definitely get bigger than the javanica.

image3.jpg

image2.jpeg

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

I've just been measuring my roaches ;) and my javanica definitely grow to about 5.5-6cm, a big male or female can get quite large. However they are nowhere near as big as say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota - some of my biggest oblongonota males are over 8cm and they are built like tanks too! However oblongonota aren't that variable - they do have variations in the markings on their backs but these are not obvious from a distance, so probably would not fit your criteria.

For what it's worth I've attached a photo of a large female trying to climb the glass of her cage next to a tape measure showing she's at least 5.5cm long, and a photo of a group with a few red-pronotum individuals (two females at the bottom and right of the group) with some black pronotum and nymphs.

Neither photo is particularly good I'm afraid - I was trying to hold my phone and a torch to light them and take a photo at the same time before they all scuttled off under the cork bark and fake plants!

It might be worth considering hybrid Gromphadorhina portentosa if you are not bothered about whether they are a pure strain - mine (I am guessing they are hybrid) are very variable in both the base colour, and the amount of black markings on the abdomen and pronotum, and they definitely get bigger than the javanica.

image3.jpg

image2.jpeg

Hmm, interesting. Maybe their size just varies a lot? Yes, I considered G. oblongonota because of how huge they tend to be, but I don't find their coloration as lovely as some other large species.

Thanks so much for the pics!

Hmm, I didn't consider purposely getting hybrids, but you're right, that could be worth considering. Thanks for your input!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, maybe the maximum size varies from stock to stock then? Really didn't think they could get that big! Good to know, thanks for sharing @BlattaAnglicana! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Hmm, maybe the maximum size varies from stock to stock then? Really didn't think they could get that big! Good to know, thanks for sharing @BlattaAnglicana! :)

The picture certainly looks like a stock of javanica gets almost as large as "normal" hissers. I would prefer to see vernier calipers or at least a roach sitting on the measuring tape but it doesn't look like a camel spider, centipede, or fish photo where the reference changes the visible size.

Chimera - Have you considered Lucihormetica verrucosa? They have a lot of variation and are moderately big.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They definitely do get to around 5.5-6cm, I thought that was the normal size for javanica though - I haven't seen any (at shows etc. not just in my colony) where the maximum size is much smaller. Perhaps European stock of javanica is bigger than US stock? Could that be possible? Mine are also very well fed - I always make sure there is food in with them at all times and never end up with periods (even a day or two) when they have none at all, so maybe they have grown bigger because they had more nutrition as nymphs?

To be fair there are smaller individuals in the colony as well (some adults are only 4cm for example) but significant adult size variation seems to be the case for all hisser species I have. Some of my oblongonota males for example aren't any bigger than the female javanica pictured, but I thought that was just because they were "minor" males and it was normal to have both large and small individuals in all colonies? Is that unusual?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Allpet Roaches said:

Chimera - Have you considered Lucihormetica verrucosa? They have a lot of variation and are moderately big.

I've been very tempted by Lucihormetica grossei, but they can get a bit expensive. I hadn't thought of looking at other Lucihormetica species, though! I'll check it out. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now