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Marrader21

Gromphadorhina Traits & Classification

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So; until recently I was one of those people who thought a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach was it; I now know that there are not only different types of hissers but there are even a couple different Genus of them as well. So after some research I have found Gromphadorhina, Ellipthorhina, Aeluropoda, and Princisia; I also hear that the genus will not hybridize with each other. I regularly travel between the 7 or so shops in my area that sell hissers to pick and choose specimen to add into my colony for new blood and color variation; there have been several times I have come across individual specimen of questionable genus.

Is there a trait that can be used to tell the Genus from one another or would it always just be a crap shoot? The main one I'd like to identify is Gromphadorhina since I do not want to waste time with one that will not breed with my colony.

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I think Gromphadorhina and Elliptorhina nymphs look pretty similar, and would be hard to tell apart, Aeluropoda nymphs are flatter though, (I think), TBH I'm not sure of a good way to tell nymphs of all the genera apart.

BTW, "Princisia" is likely an invalid genus, and the sole member of that genus almost certainly belongs in Gromphadorhina, and can hybridize with them too...

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This is a topic that always drove me crazy cause everyone says they are different and hybrids are bad but there's no definitive way to tell them apart. US pure stock looks different from European pure stock compared to wild pics from Madagascar. I kinda gave up on hopeing I could tell them apart. Some people say that there's a intention on the thorax that helps it them some say it doesn't matter. Life is a mystery lol

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I feel like hybridization in captivity is only a problem as it relates to conservation.  It's important that pure strains remain or the different species within the genuses start getting muddy.  As others on this forum have pointed out, as long as you're indicating to your buyers (even if they're just the local pet shop) that your roaches are hybrids, it shouldn't be an issue.  The purists still have plenty of places to get their stock.

As far as US stock and Euro stock vs. original wild stock being different, that's all a natural process.  Whether through an inadvertent introduction of a hybrid, selectively breeding for a specific trait, or perhaps even a dominant male skewing the gene pool in a given colony, isolated populations of anything will undergo changes from generation to generation.  Take a look at the English budgerigar, for example, or the American Bull Terrier.

The best thing to do when trying to avoid hybrids (at least, in the case of roaches) is wait until your new additions are adults before introducing them to your existing colony.  If you still can't tell which species they are, don't mix them in.

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The conservation issue is a big one with no wild specimens being allowed to leave Madagascar what we have is all we got and habitat loss is significant there. There's maybe 2-3 reliable sources of pure stock. Even my "pure" widehorns might not be there no way to know. I can be fairly sure on my e javanica. It's the same with a lot of tarantulas to. Just something that happens and it's unfortunate.

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Since we're on the subject, a valid question to ask is why hybridize?  If you're breeding feeder roaches, you can be selective for size, palatability, meat to shell ratio, litter size, etc.  If you're breeding pets, you might also look for size, as well as color, reduced skittishness, or hiss proclivity & volume.  Either hobbyist might breed for husbandry traits, like hissers that don't care to climb, dubias that don't care to burrow, or bananas that aren't so fast to fly.  Aside from maybe color, I think realistically no one is actually doing this. 

Unless you're regularly splitting your colony and culling/selling off the roaches that least fit the direction you're trying to go, the hybridization is only laziness.  If we really care about the species we keep, we won't let convenience be the driving force behind the direction we take our collection.

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Selective breeding doesn't require hybrids for success. Selective breeding for traits can be fun I typically have groups for that purpose. In fact with my hybrid hissers that are only good as feeders every year and a half I take the 5 largest males and 10-15 largest females and sell/trade the rest. If asked locally for cheap pet hissers I typically sell males from this group. Most hybrids arnt intentional for instance the mixing of b crannifer, b fusca, b atrops. Just simple misidentification. I think non burrowing dubia would be nice but I don't think traits like that can be pinned down very easy. Good luck with it if you try it. I would be the first to buy them : p

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Oh, heck no.  Trying to identify and capitalize on individual traits (aside from appearance) in a colony bred animal would be next to impossible, which is why nobody's bothering to do it.  Maybe that's why so many of us keep a bunch of different species :P

 

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The key is to identify the genders before breeding age and divide them in that way before they get a chance to mate. In that way you can then selectively introduce the genders after they reach adulthood since its unclear as to how many times a female need to mate in her lifetime to produce multiple broods. Of course this helps if its a slower growing/breeding species. :) 

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