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Peter Clausen

Video: Maternal Instinct/Social Behaviors

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Blaptica dubia cockroaches are one of the most important feeder species in the hobby due to their fast reproduction rates. After giving birth, the mother in this video entrusted another female to watch over her young. Watch as the stand-in defends the newborns from the "attacks" of my finger. I can already hear the PETR(oaches) people getting upset, but the point of this video is to highlight some of the interesting social behaviors that make cockroaches such interesting pets (and despite their popularity as a feeder roach for tarantula and reptile hobbyists).

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My God.

This is definitely a breakthrough in roach keeping.

Imagine- discovering the chemical "messenger" that the mother roach used to transfer the information to the other female. It would be a scientific breakthrough. You could make armies of cockroaches! @_@

I do have a question though. To the best of your knowledge, were those two females closely related?

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This isn't new information. It's just a product of being in the right place at the right time. Clearly they are members of the same colony and would likely share pheromone markers that designate them as members. And besides, every female loves a baby!

Of course the roaches are closely related to a ridiculous point. It would be like a man marrying his sister and then all subsequent generations of offspring in-breeding like, er...rrroaches! The genetic similarity is, of course, unnaturally very close.

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Still, a female guarding another's young seems like a mammal thing (giraffes). I love watching parental care with my hissers, although they are aggressive toward other females who come by too. I don't know if the other females want to eat the babies' food or even help guard the nymphs or something, but they always seem attracted. Anyway, I love this discovery even if some aspects might be a little dubious (roach pun :lol:)!

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That was so cool to watch! Man... roaches are pretty amazing, I've been "researching" about them for few months and they're just so interesting.

LOL your son? I'm assuming? made that video great. :D

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Thanks for the feedback everyone! My daughter had more of a speaking role in the clip than my son. Some of my favorite videos are ones they've stumbled in on, unexpectedly.

I had initially noticed four babies emerging from the mother roach, but by the time I got back with the camera she was done giving birth and moving on as this other female hovered over them. This other female's behavior was unexpected but the camera was rolling. Typically, a female will either nose into the egg crate (we've all seen this) or run away. I can't imagine this was anything other than protective behavior.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone! My daughter had more of a speaking role in the clip than my son. Some of my favorite videos are ones they've stumbled in on, unexpectedly.

I had initially noticed four babies emerging from the mother roach, but by the time I got back with the camera she was done giving birth and moving on as this other female hovered over them. This other female's behavior was unexpected but the camera was rolling. Typically, a female will either nose into the egg crate (we've all seen this) or run away. I can't imagine this was anything other than protective behavior.

I haven't been keeping them long, but I separated my first pregnant Blaberus discoidalis from the rest of the colony so I could see what happens and possibly count the babies. A week or so later I found 2 more possibly pregnant B. discoidalis and I added them to the container with the first roach. When I discovered the first mom's babies, I found many of them under another roach, a pregnant female that has slightly spread wings. The spread winged roach was hovering over those babies in a similar way to what I saw on your video. :) I actually nudged her from the babies about an inch and they all ran back underneath her. These babies already had some color and were no longer white.

The spread winged
B. discoidalis
is my favorite, she is calm and can be handled easier than roaches of "supposedly calmer" species that I keep. From what I have read,
B.discoidalis
is not a good species for handling, but I only notice a problem with my males.

:huh:

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Nice but in reality how much defense can she do against a predator roach like lobster or orange heads? Will they bite in defense?

I am sure pretty sure they can bite if they feel like it. I have been nibbled by a couple of female Blaberus while I was handling them, but it could have been because I was previously cutting up their fruits and veggies. :rolleyes:

Regardless of the effectiveness of their defenses, I think that the maternal behavior is awesome! I am sure, that for the nymphs, it is definitely better than nothing.
:lol:

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In reality, and to keep the proper perspective...

Among organisms, adult B. dubia are giants! None of my B. dubia have ever seen a lobster or an orange head and I suspect that most wild ones never do either.

Nice but in reality how much defense can she do against a predator roach like lobster or orange heads? Will they bite in defense?

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This isn't new information. It's just a product of being in the right place at the right time. Clearly they are members of the same colony and would likely share pheromone markers that designate them as members. And besides, every female loves a baby!

Of course the roaches are closely related to a ridiculous point. It would be like a man marrying his sister and then all subsequent generations of offspring in-breeding like, er...rrroaches! The genetic similarity is, of course, unnaturally very close.

Love the video Peter, almost didn't take the time to watch it, thanks, also the post above here reminds me of :

The Stupids, w/ Tom Arnold.... singing... and u know I do so like a good song.....

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I can add a lot of info to this.

I have a single dubia female in a large 20 gallon tank with a natural setup. 2 male dubia share the tank with her but leave her alone.

When she first gave birth the first week the babies all stayed right by her hiding under a fake log and they ate her poo and the afterbirth. They did not leave her side, and she did not leave them, even though they had 20 gallons to roam around in! Anytime a male came by the female would charge and nip at them and the males would leave her alone.

Once every 2 weeks I would take all my roaches out to see how the nymphs were doing, they were doing great. I put all the roaches back in the tank, and the female went back in the exact spot under the same decoration, and her babies, being smaller than my pinkie nail, all managed to find there way back to her and stay by her! As they got older they would drag food under the fake log and I guess she ate with them too. I heard once a month female dubias give birth, but after almost 4 months she is not "pregnant" looking and hasnt given birth, almost as if she is still caring for her babies and will not give birth until they grow up.

At around molt 4, 2nd to last nymph stage, most of the nymphs one day all left her side, and now all hang out together in the same spot, kind of like teenagers, too young to be alone, but old enough they dont need to be with mom all the time. It really is fascinating.

I'm curious when they are mature if any males will try to court their mom or siblings, I dont doubt they recognize their Mom.

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So fascinating...the vid the further stories of parental care...esp the last post. Interestng to hear the dynamics of such a small group in such a large enclosure.

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