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About Zephyr

  • Birthday 08/04/1992

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Giant Cockroach

Giant Cockroach (6/7)



  1. Looks like a good match! Information for Eublaberus is severely lacking but that's the closest match to the pattern and coloration I've seen yet, even when accounting for the species's variability.
  2. Considering the popularity that our friends the earthworms have been receiving for their effects on indigenous ecosystems, I'm surprised more work hasn't been done on isopods. http://ecosystems.se...hworm-invaders/ They are certainly terraforming (consuming leaf litter, occupying space niches under barks and inside logs, aerating the upper levels of soil, selectively grazing on plants when at high population density, etc) ecosystems but in a way that few have quantified yet. As Orin said though, it's too late to do anything now considering their sheer numbers and diversity.
  3. Once any hard wood leaves turn brown and have begun to decay, roaches will usually ingest them. They're probably after the microbial/fungal communities that have colonized the leaf more than the leaves themselves. Oak (red, bur, pin, black, white/swamp white) are my go-to for roaches. Maple (silver, sugar, black, red), beech (American, musclewood), and basswood (American) are great too but are quickly consumed and don't seem to provide the "slow release" nutrition of the oak leaves as they break down. In Michigan I find Parcoblatta virginica in leaf litter that has a mix of black maple, black alder, and basswood leaves. P. pennsylvanica tend to be found inside rotting wood or around human structures but I have found them (oddly) in Japanese knotweed and common buckthorn leaf litter (both of which happen to be the most common habitats for Ectobius pallidus too). In Florida Cariblatta ssp. and Blattella asahinai really love live oak (the species, not living leaves) leaf litter. Eurycotis floridana likes palmetto fronds but I recall finding them inside rotting pine wood in a live oak forest as well. In the Keys we found swarms of B. discoidalis in palmetto-y litter that seemed to have a lot of royal flame tree leaves as well.
  4. Here's where we can make some theoretical assumptions. In a system where resistance to pathogen "X" is a simple recessive characteristic, whatever individuals survive would be resistant and the entire colony from that point on would be as well. But what may be the case (making the assumption that my theorizing is what is happening) is resistance may be relayed via heterozygosity or homozygosity of the dominant gene. If this is the case, we would expect that homo. recessives may be weak to the pathogen and that either het. individuals or homo. dominant individuals convey resistance, in which case this die-off would be expected as with the larger population the proportion of the homo. recessives that were produced during a period without the pathogen present dying off would be huge whereas the same scenario playing out in a smaller/reduced colony would appear to be one or two individuals dying off for no apparent reason. This is all assuming a lot of things and doesn't take into account the high possibility that resistance to the stressor is conferred by multiple genes or that I could be completely wrong about the cause of such fatalities (though the symptoms immediately preceding death are congruent with those reported from bacterial infections and/or pesticide poisoning in insects).
  5. This species is similar to chopardi but a little bigger and care is seemingly the same but maybe once a year or so I will have a huge die-off in the colony despite no changes in husbandry or diet. I think what may happen is that the fruits/vegetables I feed them are seasonally treated with bacteria that cause infections in insects and at those times due to the lack of genetic diversity in the colony many of the individuals from the baby boom are killed off leaving the healthiest/those with resistance and the cycle begins again. Kai Schuette of the University of Hamberg started the colony from a single adult female collected under a palmetto frond and I believe he said only a pair of her nymphs survived to found all of the stock currently in collections. While I don't think inbreeding typically afflicts insects, considering this is an island species with a presumably limited distribution and that the founding stock originates from a sibling pairing, it's not surprising that they'd be susceptible to pathogens or slight changes in diet/husbandry conditions.
  6. A few years ago I purchased something called a "winter bamboo shoot" from a local Asian foods store. Upon opening the can I discovered it wasn't the grab-and-go delicacy I had expected. With a big lump of bamboo in my hands I figured it was too much food to simply throw away, so I put it in with my orangehead colony. The nibbled it away in about a week's time; I'd expect they may have been more interested in the salt/preservatives than the root itself so fresh stuff may be a different story.
  7. I wish they had a picture of the holotype to accompany it! Interesting also that the CSF doesn't list orini as confirmed: http://cockroach.spe...nNameID=1178696
  8. A beautiful Archimandrita tesselata. I'm excited to see what other species you found!
  9. I remember when she was a little speck in the back of the car with the flat tire.
  10. I have seen this "dust" on hissers that have not moved or who have not been active for many days. I think it might actually be some sort of waxy cuticular excretion that helps to keep them from drying out as it can be wiped off easily by rubbing one's finger against it, much like the powdery wax on wild black raspberry vines. It's probably harmless to all parties involved.
  11. Subadult male G. portentosa: Adult male G. portentosa: Subadult female G. portentosa: Adult female G. portentosa:
  12. If I have a roach and I'm not sure if it's an adult, the first thing I do is check the ventral abdominal structures and coloration. Immature hissers particularly do not have the adult "color scheme" on their belly, and the segmentation of an adult female has a much more complex, 3-dimensional appearance to it. I will get some comparison pictures later today.
  13. The mechanism could be as simple as a single chemical production (which is ultimately what all biological responses boil down to really). The diet for my roaches is consistent throughout the year as are the bin conditions, so I doubt that it is either of these. Another species that has proven tough is I. deropeltiformis; cultures collected from TN and even AL tend to fizzle out over time. I have gotten to F3 with those but then the deformed adults simply refused to reproduce afterwards. Considering there appears to be a spectrum for these perceived diapause requirements I would think there may be multiple genes responsible, with at least one for the "simple" chemical/mechanical mechanism behind it and another for regulating the extent. For my pennsylvanica, I put them in cooling at the beginning of October and take them out in March. I use a crawlspace-like area in my basement that stays fairly dark.
  14. I have tried to rear multiple strains of P. virginica and P. pennsylvanica including from individuals collected in Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. In these areas it's clear even in non-roach insects (with the exception of invasive species) that a diapause is needed in some form of the insect's life cycle. This is, of course, a genetically defined strategy that allows the insects to go dormant during adverse conditions, which is always at least a 4 month winter in the case of my state. This "hardwiring" is so strong that in these northern genotypes, even when reared in captivity in perfect conditions which have proved successful for culturing the same species only acquired from the south, the colony will crash and in many cases either subadults simply will not mature, will mature with severe body deformities, or will continue to perform stationary molts for months on end before eventually dying. It is entirely possible, however, to breed out the need for diapause. There is variation in every population which allows it to adapt to new conditions (this is a byproduct of varying conditions year to year, so there are always gene combinations for things that may not be prominent in a population until certain conditions select for them), and it is possible to collect a large number of wild individuals, produce a large number of offspring in captivity (I would say over 100 offspring is crucial), and then let things run their course. In the F1, there will be high mortality over time, but instead of all individuals dying or not reproducing there may be one or two that emerge with normal features or are not deformed enough to reproduce. These produce the F2s, and it can be presumed that since the other F1 and original individuals are not breeding, only the F2s will pass on their genes to the next generation. Over the course of many years (because there was the initial genetic diversity which provided non-diapausing individuals) the most vigorous individuals are able to survive and breed and by the time an F15+ is produced, the strain will have no diapausing requirements because there is no longer the selective pressure of winter on the population. It's all about the number of individuals used to start the colony and, subsequently, the number of F1s produced. Still, it is extremely difficult the further north you acquire the strain from, as the selective pressure in the environment is extremely intense for favoring diapause there, which may mean the genes for non-diapause are either scarce or nonexistent in the populations. I have all but given up on culturing the native genotype of Parcoblatta virginica in my area as they appear to need a very long, very cold diapause, and the species is not common here which suggests this may be the northern end of their range, and the species cannot/has not adapted an effective way of surviving the winter. Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, on the other hand, graciously tolerates a cooling period of 5 months at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and is very easy to propagate beyond F1s after satisfying this requirement.
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