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Macropanesthia rhinoceros


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Given the title of the World's heaviest roach species, Macropanesthia rhinoceros has been an obsession on mine for many years. Considered one of the "Holy Grail" roach species (the other being Megaloblatta longipennis), this species can be especially difficult to locate in the United States. With increased captive breedings in Eurpoe and Japan, they are slowly making their way across the pond to our shores.

I have had 4 yearlings and 8 adults over the past few years. Currently I have 3 adult pairs. In the past I have had a few unexplained deaths...Information on their captive care has been limited...these deaths take a great financial toll on US keepers. With a few adjustments to husbantry, my current "colony" (if you can call it that) is doing fine.

I now blame the unexplained deaths on the dried Eucalyptus sp. leaves I used to offer in their diet. Everything I read at the time said they MUST have the dried leaves in their diet. After much searching I was able to locate organic dried Eucalyptus leaves from a local natural food store. I've now know that there are a TON of Eucalyptus species, with only a few being safe for Macropanesthia rhinoceros. It wasn't until I read an article wrote by ORIN that my eyes were opened- he claimed that they did NOT need these leaves to survive in captivity...I decided to give it a try since I knew Orin and trusted his experience...low and behold- not a single death since. Maybe this was my problem- maybe it wasn't...either way, they are doing fine without the Eucalyptus in their diet.

SUBSTRATE:

I keep them on a mixture on 1 part sand, 2 parts coco fiber, 2 parts rotton hardwood, & 2 parts decaying oak leaves. In previous research, articles suggested SAND only with wadded up paper towels/toilet paper in one corner to hold humidity. This did not work for me and dried out quickly. The coco fiber, rotten wood and leaves are working much better for me.

For humidity I placed a handful of water crystals mixed in with the substrate on one end of the enclosure. I add water every week or two to this end while allowing the opposite side to dry out. This allows the roaches to choose the humidity level that THEY are comfortable at.

Keeping the substrate somewhat deep (3" - 4") allows for a verticle humidity gradient also and limited burrowing. My current job keeps me away from home for 2 weeks at a time...so far they are doing fine on this schedule and the substrate is staying moist enough for them.

DIET:

The roaches can be seen chewing on the rotten wood and leaves while on the surface. I supplement this with dogfood kibble, pre-made roach diet (which I believe they are ignoring at this point), shredded carrots, and about any veggie I have in the ice box at the time.

CONCLUSION:

I have ALOT more to learn about this species. I look forward to everyone elses replies- maybe I can pick up more tips. This is what is currently working for me...others may have success doing it differently. I am really hoping that at least one of my pairs has babies this year... with three adult females and three adult males, maybe I'll get lucky...keeping my fingers crossed.

PLEASE post your comments/criticisms...This is the only way we'll learn...you're not going to hurt my feelings... I'd rather take the advice of a friend than loosing these amazing roaches due to my stubborness.

Thanks,

Graham

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Given the title of the World's heaviest roach species, Macropanesthia rhinoceros has been an obsession on mine for many years. Considered one of the "Holy Grail" roach species (the other being Megaloblatta longipennis), this species can be especially difficult to locate in the United States. With increased captive breedings in Eurpoe and Japan, they are slowly making their way across the pond to our shores.

I have had 4 yearlings and 8 adults over the past few years. Currently I have 3 adult pairs. In the past I have had a few unexplained deaths...Information on their captive care has been limited...these deaths take a great financial toll on US keepers. With a few adjustments to husbantry, my current "colony" (if you can call it that) is doing fine.

I now blame the unexplained deaths on the dried Eucalyptus sp. leaves I used to offer in their diet. Everything I read at the time said they MUST have the dried leaves in their diet. After much searching I was able to locate organic dried Eucalyptus leaves from a local natural food store. I've now know that there are a TON of Eucalyptus species, with only a few being safe for Macropanesthia rhinoceros. It wasn't until I read an article wrote by ORIN that my eyes were opened- he claimed that they did NOT need these leaves to survive in captivity...I decided to give it a try since I knew Orin and trusted his experience...low and behold- not a single death since. Maybe this was my problem- maybe it wasn't...either way, they are doing fine without the Eucalyptus in their diet.

SUBSTRATE:

I keep them on a mixture on 1 part sand, 2 parts coco fiber, 2 parts rotton hardwood, & 2 parts decaying oak leaves. In previous research, articles suggested SAND only with wadded up paper towels/toilet paper in one corner to hold humidity. This did not work for me and dried out quickly. The coco fiber, rotten wood and leaves are working much better for me.

For humidity I placed a handful of water crystals mixed in with the substrate on one end of the enclosure. I add water every week or two to this end while allowing the opposite side to dry out. This allows the roaches to choose the humidity level that THEY are comfortable at.

Keeping the substrate somewhat deep (3" - 4") allows for a verticle humidity gradient also and limited burrowing. My current job keeps me away from home for 2 weeks at a time...so far they are doing fine on this schedule and the substrate is staying moist enough for them.

DIET:

The roaches can be seen chewing on the rotten wood and leaves while on the surface. I supplement this with dogfood kibble, pre-made roach diet (which I believe they are ignoring at this point), shredded carrots, and about any veggie I have in the ice box at the time.

CONCLUSION:

I have ALOT more to learn about this species. I look forward to everyone elses replies- maybe I can pick up more tips. This is what is currently working for me...others may have success doing it differently. I am really hoping that at least one of my pairs has babies this year... with three adult females and three adult males, maybe I'll get lucky...keeping my fingers crossed.

PLEASE post your comments/criticisms...This is the only way we'll learn...you're not going to hurt my feelings... I'd rather take the advice of a friend than loosing these amazing roaches due to my stubborness.

Thanks,

Graham

I have to agree. Dietary requirements may not be as specific as is commonly indicated. However I have been keeping two pairs that I have seen nibble on and even drag underground eucalypt leaves from this source:

http://www.eucproducts.com/?OVRAW=eucalypt...;OVMTC=standard

Mine nibble on carrots, oak leaves, apple wedge, but not dog food at all. Coincedently my substrate mix is nearly identicle to that which Graham is using. The sand is calcium sand, though, and not the common silica.

I submit that my lager female of 5-6 years old seems to have lost weight in recent weeks. They all also seem to be less active, too. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I wonder if some eucs can be edible but build up toxicity over time.

Regards,

Matt K

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The eucalyptus leaves take 6-18 months to kill the roaches although it could take longer to kill adults. There are many different types of eucalyptus and the leaves you can find available in the US are an aromatic type that are contraindicated for Macropanesthia.

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I don't keep any roaches...I'm into mantids, walking sticks, and frogs (mainly). But, I did notice you say these guys like Eucalyptus and Oak leaves -- both of which I need for my current stock of Phyllium giganteum/Extatosoma tiaratum. Could anyone give me a reliable/cheap source for getting these leaves/small plants from an online dealer?

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Hello All,

Well, M rhinocerous has been my dreamed roach until a few years back when I was able to get several youngs, that took a lot of my savings.

My experience with the rhinos has been good, not too bad.

I agree with Graham about some unexplained deads.

I started with 5, 3 year old nymphs and 15, 1 year old nymphs, as a home I used a 20 gallon terrarium, with about 5-6 inches of substrate.

Substrate

Sand mixed with organic potting soil and wood/leaf mulch (50/50 mixed) at a ratio of 40-30-30%

I keep the substrate humid, just enough so the sand could stay firm, as the Rhinos love tunneling.

They would start a tunnel in one end of the terrarium to the other side and ended up in a small chamber in the very center, where all of them congregated.

I cover the top of the substrate with some decayed oak and brown eucalyptus leaves. which they will munch on all the time. I also sprinkle some fish food flakes and some pieces of fruit like Apple,banana,carrot,letuce and potato. I would then removed the uneaten food within a few days.

I started having some deads in a few years, so now I am down to only 10 nymphs, mostly the older one survived.

I have talked to some people in Australia who have them as pets and they have experience a 10% mortality rate (more or less ) in the first year.

I currently have 10 young ones from 2-4 years old and an adult pair,that hopefully produce babies this year! ( I really hope)

I was told to keep the youngs humid for 6 months and dryer for another six. Adult will mate and reproduce within November/December as late as February

No special light is required

Temp around the 70s,room temp, and as low as 67-68 F

Humidity 80% for six months,dryer for another six months (perhaps 40s?) although 60-70 % is good.

As graham said, loosing this roaches is a big loss, specially after the high prices on this roaches, so the more we share experiences the better. Hopefully we can succed on breeding this wonderful pet, so other might get the privilage of rearing and keeping them.

Good luck Graham and Matt K, with your Rhinos.

Ftorres.

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Here's my experience. I started with three yearlings, With great trepidation, I gave them fragrant dried eucalyptus leaves. Within three months all three were dead. I then had the opportunity to purchase three much larger ones, although the owner didn't know the age or sex. I sexed them as two females and one male. The former owner thought they were the same age, but the male is much smaller than the two females. He is around 1.5 inches (4 cm), the girlies are around 2 inches (5 cm) or thereabout. I keep them in a mixture of coco fiber and playground sand, hardwood and oak leaves. They have had a tiny bit of the eucalyptus leaves, but by the time they got some, it was much drier and less fragrant. For moisture, I dampen paper towel and toss in and I also toss in water gel. Now and then I offer them grainy bread, carrots, apple, greens and other assorted fruits and vegetables. I have also given them organic dry dog and cat food-very little. Anything that goes into their home is certified organic and pesticide free. Because of their high cost and fragility, I don't enjoy them and I'm considering giving them to a friend that would use them for school demonstrations. They make me nervous.

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I don't think they're extremely fragile but most eucalyptus and high temps do kill them.

How high is a high temp? I have read that in the depth of a burrfow it can be 65'F, but on the surface it can be in the high 80's *in the wild*. So in captivity, what is high? 75? 80? 85? And is any of this info I read correct ??

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M. rhinoceros - definitely one of my favorite roaches. The first living examples I ever saw were at the Australian Museum (Sydney) in late 1996. Until that point, I'd never even heard of them. Later on during the same trip, I saw a few that were kept as pets by an entomologist I met in South Australia. He had collected them personally during a visit to Queensland.

Good luck to all who are captive rearing them - would much like to see them become better established in the hobby.

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How much do they cost in Australia anyway? Does anyone think they will come down to a price affordable to most people and comparable to some other roaches? I think eventually $5-$10 for juvenile and more for the adults would be pretty reasonable. While they do take a long time to grow, so do tarantulas and they ask comparable prices.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The difference there is that tarantulas can make babies by the hundreds- M.rhinoceros only has 2 or 3 dozen in a year at best. Australia Insect Farm sells them to thier locals for around $50-$80 a pair, so if they were much more common in the US I would imagine the price would come down to about that.

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The difference there is that tarantulas can make babies by the hundreds- M.rhinoceros only has 2 or 3 dozen in a year at best. Australia Insect Farm sells them to thier locals for around $50-$80 a pair, so if they were much more common in the US I would imagine the price would come down to about that.

Yep, Once we get breeding them here in the US, I don't see 6 month old nymphs going for much less than $60-$80 for the first few years.... I wish I could find them at that price right now-lol....

Graham

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Yes in the recent years the unusual pet trade had really taked off. Most pet stores sell scorps, spiders, stick inscts, roaches, reptiles or some sort of unusual pet these days. Unfortunatly with the scorps and spiders 90% would still be wildcaught. I know WC roaches still are getting round but not sure if it would still be the majority. I'm working on captive breeding of many aussie species of scorps, pedes and roaches. Just working on getting my founder specimens at the moment.

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Awesome Hornet....Do you keep more roaches than just Macropanesthia rhinoceros? Y'all have a bunch of cool Panesthia sp. wood roaches over there... You should try to find some of those to work with if you get a chance.... Glad to see that your trying to establis some captive colonies.. Here in America we are getting a few CB Aussie tarantula species LEGALLY imported finally...

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the selenotholus glenelva that your getting may have been bred by me, not 100% sure but that waht a mate told me.

Also the exporter another mate, getting more t's from him soon. At the moment all i have in roaches is Macropanesthia rhinoceros. where would i find Panesthia sp? Any pics? Would really like to get some colorful roaches like some of the species you guys get.

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