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I just came upon two Polyphaga saussurei and would like some tips and advice on keeping them healthy and happy. I currently have them in a small glass fish bowl (IIRC sand roaches do better in smaller enclosures?) with a substrate mix of coco fiber, finely chopped oak leaves and a bit of sand. I haven't been offering any water or misting, just a carrot or apple chunk every few days, which they don't seem to be eating. The temp in my roach room is 78-85F depending on the time of day (I like to do a natural cool down at night and high temp around noon). The air humidity is about 30%.They are very active (love the flips they do) if I take them out, but I haven't seen them moving while in the bowl. 

I'm just looking for some tips/advice on keeping these ladies, as I can't find much about this particular species online. Hoping someone has experience in breeding them, as I'd love to see some ooths show up, and I'm kind of thinking my setup might not be optimal. 

2017-03-09 12.23.24.jpg

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I haven't heard that sand roaches do better in smaller enclosures, I honestly don't really think the size matters much. I wouldn't recommend using sand as a substrate component, it is an abrasive material and might scratch up the roach's exoskeleton. Plain coconut fiber is fine for substrate along with a layer of dead leaves on top, but it shouldn't be a problem if you mix them into the substrate. You should always be sure to have some moisture available to roaches, even though this species comes from a drier climate, one corner of the container should always be kept moist(and the rest very dry). These guys along with the other Polyphaga don't really seem to eat much of anything other than leaves, although fruits and dog/fish food should still be offered occasionally. They aren't picky when it comes to temperatures; they can even be kept in the mid 60s.

Hope your new girls do well for you, I adore this species! :) 

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First off, Arenivaga do like smaller enclosures and seem to breed best in them, the same is not true for Polyphaga though and they may benefit from a larger enclosure than a fish bowl.

Secondly, you should not use sand in the substrate at all, just coconut fiber, and you definitely don't want to grind up the leaves, it will make it harder for them to find. I'd add a bunch of whole, dead leaves to the top of the substrate asap.

Thirdly, they don't care too much for produce, so I don't offer it, but they do like dog food. They have pretty small appetites though, keep that in mind.

And fourthly, you should definitely keep one corner moist at all times, like @All About Insects suggested, while these guys are extremely dry tolerant they should always have moisture available.

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Thank you for the speedy info! I can see that they could quickly become one of my favorites as well. I'll set up a new bin for them with the plain coco fiber and dead leaves on top. It will certainly be cleaner than their current mix (which I think might also have potting soil in it).

What side of the enclosure do they typically lay their ooths? Should the ooths be kept dry or slightly moist?

And just any dry dog food? Would my roach chow (which contains some dog food) work? If not, can I just throw a kibble in or should I grind it? 

Also, have you had better success with them laying ooths at a particular temp? 

Thanks for all the info already!!

 

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1 minute ago, Axolotl said:

Thank you for the speedy info! I can see that they could quickly become one of my favorites as well. I'll set up a new bin for them with the plain coco fiber and dead leaves on top. It will certainly be cleaner than their current mix (which I think might also have potting soil in it).

What side of the enclosure do they typically lay their ooths? Should the ooths be kept dry or slightly moist?

And just any dry dog food? Would my roach chow (which contains some dog food) work? If not, can I just throw a kibble in or should I grind it? 

Also, have you had better success with them laying ooths at a particular temp? 

Thanks for all the info already!!

They lay their oothecae wherever they happen to be at the time, (which is usually in the dry part of the enclosure), none of mine have hatched yet but it's only been a couple months since I've had adults, so I don't really know what moisture levels the ooths like yet.

The roach chow could work but the dog food would probably be less messy, don't grind it, in my experience no roaches need their food grinded up for them to eat it, and it just makes it more messy.

I just keep them at room temp, and they seem to lay their oothecae just fine, they definitely aren't as prolific as P.aegyptiaca though, however I'm assuming that's the norm for this species.

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17 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

They lay their oothecae wherever they happen to be at the time, (which is usually in the dry part of the enclosure), none of mine have hatched yet but it's only been a couple months since I've had adults, so I don't really know what moisture levels the ooths like yet.

The roach chow could work but the dog food would probably be less messy, don't grind it, in my experience no roaches need their food grinded up for them to eat it, and it just makes it more messy.

I just keep them at room temp, and they seem to lay their oothecae just fine, they definitely aren't as prolific as P.aegyptiaca though, however I'm assuming that's the norm for this species.

Excellent. I'm setting up their new enclosure today. Another question... maybe this is applicable to all roaches: My dog is vegetarian due to allergies, so his food only has soy as a protein source. Would that provide enough protein? I do have some leftover Blue Buffalo, so I'll save that for the roaches. I'm just curious to be curious. 

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. This is my first "intermediate" species, so I really appreciate it. Once you get a feel for the best humidity for ooths and how long it takes to hatch, let me know. I'd love to get updates on how yours are doing.

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Soy protein should still be fine. They might appreciate the mix of proteins as well, though with them being corydiids they still probably won't eat much.

I've kept mine at a higher overall humidity than I'd meant to and haven't had any issues. I don't know the exact %, but I can tell by substrate feel and smell, as odd as that sounds lol. At least no issues like last time I tried to keep this species and my two randomly started leaking pink fluid and burst with some sort of larvae. I strongly suspect that was due to the seller though and not something I was doing wrong. 

I believe I just got my first adult, so now it's the new waiting game of ooths and nymphs. So hopefully I'll have some little ones running around by the end of the year :rolleyes: Darn corydiids lol

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10 hours ago, Axolotl said:

Excellent. I'm setting up their new enclosure today. Another question... maybe this is applicable to all roaches: My dog is vegetarian due to allergies, so his food only has soy as a protein source. Would that provide enough protein? I do have some leftover Blue Buffalo, so I'll save that for the roaches. I'm just curious to be curious. 

Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. This is my first "intermediate" species, so I really appreciate it. Once you get a feel for the best humidity for ooths and how long it takes to hatch, let me know. I'd love to get updates on how yours are doing.

Soy should be just fine, if anything plant based proteins are probably healthier for them. :)

No problem, happy to help out! Really hoping I'll have success breeding this species as well, as they are one of my favorites! Will let you know what ends up working for my ooths!

9 hours ago, pannaking22 said:

At least no issues like last time I tried to keep this species and my two randomly started leaking pink fluid and burst with some sort of larvae.

Oh my god that sounds horrific!! :o Never heard of anyone having that problem with their roaches before, wonder what the heck those larvae were? Would have been interesting to try and keep them to see what they turned into...

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13 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Oh my god that sounds horrific!! :o Never heard of anyone having that problem with their roaches before, wonder what the heck those larvae were? Would have been interesting to try and keep them to see what they turned into...

It definitely was! Needless to say I was pretty unhappy with the whole ordeal. Hindsight is 20/20 though and I really wish I would have kept the larvae. They looked very Dipteran, so it likely wasn't a wasp parasitoid. I almost wondered if maybe they had been kept too wet before coming to me and got infected with something I didn't notice until they died. I had only had them for a couple weeks before that happened, so it was pretty sudden and they seemed very healthy leading up to that point. 

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I keep mine in a substrate of dried crushed oak leaves, coconut fiber, oak forest substrate and a bit of sand (with rounded grains, there are different types of sand). 
One corner is keep moist which I allow to dry before adding new water. The rest of the enclosure is bone dry. 
I feed them some fish food in the dry section. They sometimes eat a bit of grapes when they are on the verge of molting. They have so far neglected all kinds of other food I offered. 

I monitor them with a camera with a motion detection algorithm adapted to my roaches. Their activity can be pretty low at times. When the temperatures are low (17-20C/ 63-68F) they can be inactive for days. For Polyphaga obscura, which are closely related, it is described that they exhibit a kind of hibernation during the colder part of the year. Keep in mind that these roaches come from a climate with cold nights, certainly in winter, and very high day temperatures in summer.
The roaches avoid these extremes by living in burrows of other animals. For Polyphaga saussurei it's been described that they can be found in the burrows of Rhombomys opimus (great gerbil) and Testudo horsfieldi (Russian tortoise). 

 

 

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Thanks for the detailed info! Have you detected the optimal temperature for breeding the P. saussurei? I've been keeping them at 75-85F. My roach room is set to cool down at night, with the highest temps around noon. I'm wondering if that's maybe too hot for them during the day. I only have about an inch of substrate in their enclosure, but hearing that they inhabit the tortoise burrows suggests I need to add more. I do hear them scrabbling about in the dawn and dusk, but as of yet I haven't seen one come to the surface on their own. Are they crepuscular?

Interestingly, I put them in my dining area a few days ago, which runs about 68-75F, and last night they ate a chunk of collard greens that was about 1/2" x 1.5". I've looked everywhere and it's definitely gone. I didn't know they would eat so much at once! I think I'll keep them there for another few days and see if they keep eating,

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12 hours ago, Axolotl said:

Thanks for the detailed info! Have you detected the optimal temperature for breeding the P. saussurei? I've been keeping them at 75-85F. My roach room is set to cool down at night, with the highest temps around noon. I'm wondering if that's maybe too hot for them during the day. I only have about an inch of substrate in their enclosure, but hearing that they inhabit the tortoise burrows suggests I need to add more. I do hear them scrabbling about in the dawn and dusk, but as of yet I haven't seen one come to the surface on their own. Are they crepuscular?

Interestingly, I put them in my dining area a few days ago, which runs about 68-75F, and last night they ate a chunk of collard greens that was about 1/2" x 1.5". I've looked everywhere and it's definitely gone. I didn't know they would eat so much at once! I think I'll keep them there for another few days and see if they keep eating,

I don't know the optimal breeding temperature. Although I think room temperature would do fine. 

I can't immediately find the article I've reads about the life cycle of Polyphaga species in the region where one can find Polyphaga saussurei. I remember it to be a life cycle of hibernating in winter, becoming active in spring, reproduce (males in nature search for the females at night) and lay eggs during summer and autumn. The eggs hatch next spring. After which the cockroaches grow during summer and autumn. Males probably become adults after a year, females perhaps after two years. 
That also explains why these eggs take so long to hatch. Considering the habitat and the life cycle, I believe it also explains their slow growth. 

They indeed tend to dig deep.  Mine are mostly at the bottom of a 2 inch substrate, I'm sure they might get deeper if I added more. 

They do exhibit some kind of crepuscular activity pattern here (although I should do some kind of statistical analysis over a longer period to conform this): 

last3days-all.jpg

Interesting to now that they eat collard greens. Good to know that. 
I found on a Russian site that they also eat cow and horse dung. So I tested the latter (dried), and they indeed showed interest and ate a bits of it. 

 

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Probably of interest: 
Cockroaches Their biology, distribution and control
World Health Organization, 1999
(May be freely viewed, abstracted, reproduced and translated)
link to document

Excerpt: 

P 20. Polyphaga saussurei
Biology, life cycle and ecology
It has been reported that under the conditions which prevail in the range of this species 3.5-4 years may be required to complete its life cycle. While this may seem rather long, it must be remembered that this is a large insect and the weather conditions in that region can be rather harsh. This species is adapted to live in loamy or clay soils. Because of this fact, it thrives in housing with clay floors and walls. It is reported to be capable of parthenogenesis and is an important domiciliary species in south-central Asia (Bey-Bienko 1950). 

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