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lecole4

Blaptica dubia Unusual Coloration

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Hello! :) I'd like to say first that I am brand new to the forum, though I have been a long-time lurker because the information here is great.

Anyway, the backstory to this is that I have owned a healthy feeder colony of B. dubia for three years now. I sourced them from a few places and at this point I've totally forgotten which. :/

Yesterday, when I was taking out a large number of nymphs to ship off to a friend, I noticed a roach that was nearly solid orange, and after a few minutes of looking, I found a couple more.

The larger (female?) I found first

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ff8sy5vartnrf4i/photo%20mar%2007%2C%2010%2003%2044%20am.jpg?dl=0

Two smaller (males?) I found shortly after with one of my "regular" nymphs for comparison

https://www.dropbox.com/s/f26w4z7epetid7z/photo%20mar%2007%2C%2010%2002%2059%20am.jpg?dl=0

What do you all think of this? Is it a polymorphism,something environmental? Has this been seen before? Thanks so much for your insight.

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Thank you two for your input so far! :) (Amazing hippo skull btw, salmonsaladsandwich)

I realized that maybe the photos I took weren't really showing off what I was seeing, so I took two more in natural light for good measure. I think it's more obvious how orange the first nymph is and how light the little ones are! I know that there is a lot of natural variation in B. dubia coloration, but it just surprised me that after three years of dark brown and grey roaches, I have four appear that are so different. If this is a polymorphism, is it something that could be bred? I have read that other B. dubia morph projects have not gone well.

Thanks for your help!

Large orange nymph

https://www.dropbox.com/s/of28k75y9yvmp4m/photo%20mar%2008%2C%205%2057%2038%20pm.jpg?dl=0

Small yellow nymph

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ny4jqu3y0selgc1/photo%20mar%2008%2C%206%2000%2011%20pm.jpg?dl=0

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I've got a crazy little theory- dubias are pretty drought tolerant roaches, right? Perhaps they live in areas where trees are deciduous and drop their leaves during the dry season. Most leaves turn orangey when they drop off, but are dark brown when moist and decaying. Maybe roaches that are kept dry think it's the dry season and become pale and yellowish to match freshly shed leaves, but are dark when kept moist to match the dark, damp decaying leaves. Not that I have any evidence, but it seems possible and many grasshoppers, mantises and other insects have different color forms to match the season. (Including black forms that occur after forest fires!) Is ther any chance that you keep your colony moist?

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That is an interesting hypothesis! I have read in the past that humidity can "mess" with their coloration, but I don't know how much specific research has been done to investigate the topic. We will have to find out from someone who knows more about B. dubia's natural history, but my understanding is they are drought resistant but they are from tropical forests, so no seasonally deciduous trees in those.

I do keep my colony moderately humid with a free-choice container of hydrated polydacrylimide, but I don't mist or use any kind of standing water. Colony care has been the same for three years.

Do the new photos still look like nymphs you've produced? Maybe I'm just kidding myself, but I think they're surprisingly light in color.

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Yeah, I have at least a few nymphs that look like that. My colony is only three months old and I have more adults and 1st- 3rd Instars than large nymphs, but those I do have are pretty light. By "deciduous forest" I mean tropical deciduous forest, where trees shed their leaves during the dry season- although I still don't know if they live in such environments. Although seeing as it is they can survive weeks with no moisture in a dry, air conditioned house I wouldn't be surprised if they do.

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Ahh, yes, I see about the tropical deciduous forest. I wish I knew the answer! Most of the resources I've found just give a list of countries and call them "tropical" and don't give anything beyond that. You've come up with a very nice hypothesis, though I wonder how it would produce multiple colors of roach in the same bin?

I have read that there is a "yellow" line of B. dubia being bred in Germany, so it seems to be a breedable trait.

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Thanks, RomanBuck! I have read that before, but I've also seen where others on the forum have selectively bred lines of dubia with different colors.

Cleaned out my colony last night and found some more weirdos!

Very yellow female

https://www.dropbox.com/s/c9pewtn0fj7r52h/photo%20mar%2015%2C%203%2016%2055%20pm.jpg?dl=0

Black and white male, no yellow

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qcx4m0fsu3tx1n9/photo%20mar%2015%2C%203%2028%2024%20pm.jpg?dl=0

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RomanBuck, that's what I thought too when I first saw him, but I've held him several times and his exoskeleton is just as just as rigid as the rest of the adults. I'm keeping him separate though to see if his yellow turns up over the next few days.

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I've selectively bred them, and the environment and diet had no effect on color. If I bred two light colored adults I got a few light colored offspring and some normal dark ones they all were in the same cage with same diet and I misted the cage with water every day or other day for good humidity so they weren't dry either. Genetics do play and role and selective breeding only the colorful ones you quickly in about 2 generations get great results. http://www.roachforum.com/index.php?showtopic=4329&st=0

Here is my old topic with photos, no fuss in breeding and the results were good.

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Thank you so much, Kieth! I'm going to give breeding my own yellow dubia a serious shot. Have you had any experience with the ones without any yellow on them, like my adult male in the above post? I'm trying to decide whether to pair him with a yellow female or if they're two separate mutations and that would be a waste.

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Thank you so much, Kieth! I'm going to give breeding my own yellow dubia a serious shot. Have you had any experience with the ones without any yellow on them, like my adult male in the above post? I'm trying to decide whether to pair him with a yellow female or if they're two separate mutations and that would be a waste.

So long as one parent has the mutation, in your case the female, you should get some light offspring. From there if you get light male and female offspring breed them together and many offspring will be light, or you could try buying dubia online but asking for any that are light colored if you want to keep genetic diversity.

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I have a question Keith. You said that food plays no part in color but I was told differently. Do you have a source you can point me to so I can educate myself better on the subject? If this comes across critical of you in text I'm sorry, I don't doubt you, I'm just wondering if there are any papers on the subject or something.

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I have a question Keith. You said that food plays no part in color but I was told differently. Do you have a source you can point me to so I can educate myself better on the subject? If this comes across critical of you in text I'm sorry, I don't doubt you, I'm just wondering if there are any papers on the subject or something.

I heard hissers are affected by diet, but them too I raised and the offspring still varied in color on the same diet. I don't know of any resource or papers on it just word of mouth.

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KitKatie329 I can tell you I've had a similar experience with two years of owning a colony with no diet changes to suddenly having these light yellow roaches. Seems genetic to me, but obviously this experience isn't as good as a study!

A little update, the light roaches all have their own bin! I'm pretty excited to see where I can take them, and if they'll keep producing more animals like themselves.

Light female

https://www.dropbox.com/s/q75eb817s2eyvxv/photo%20mar%2025%2C%205%2011%2006%20pm.jpg?dl=0

Light male

https://www.dropbox.com/s/35ths9hfnrv1vs0/photo%20mar%2025%2C%205%2015%2026%20pm.jpg?dl=0

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