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New girl on the block


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OK, so I'll hit the formula questions first B)

1. Do you currently raise any roaches?

I am just getting back into the roach hobby - let's face it, once a roacher, always a roacher - I tried the cold turkey get rid of 'em all and I've been itching to get them back.

2. If so, how many?

In the past, I was up over the 10,000 mark, plus over 700 tarantulas - which in retrospect, is likely why my husband (who is phobic of insects and spiders) couldn't handle it any more. Also, when I started back to work full time, I couldn't devote enough time to upkeep. Plus, with that many, hubby was having issues with allergies when the weekly cleaning went to monthly cleaning due to my new schedule.

THIS time, I'm starting small - 2 dozen, 6 each of 4 species (Gromphadorhina grandidieri, Princisia vanwaerbecki big black, Princisia vanwaerbecki giant form, Gromphadorhina oblingata) - and I plan to STAY small, even if that means sending off extras to new homes. I had a hard time finding takers before, but now that I've found this board, I doubt I'll have a problem giving away for the cost of shipping or trading any extras :P

3. Do you culture roaches as pets or feeders?

Previously, pets and feeders for my tarantulas. But since hubby is far more terrified of spiders than roaches, I'll be sticking to pet status this time out.

4. If feeders, what kinds?

Previously it was Lobster roaches as the main feeders.

5. Are there any specific roach questions that you would like to ask the community?

I'm sure I'll think of some and post in proper section then. ;)

6. How did you find our community?

Was looking for the All Pet Roaches page showing color photos of different species and found this wonderful board.

OK, now that all of the standard questions are addressed, I can get back to being me - the crazy middle aged red headed chick who loves bugs <(^_^)>

Which pretty much sums it up - I just ain't right - if one is expected to be like the majority in order to be "right".

My day job is IT Specialist in an electronics technology firm - and let me tell you, just because the business is about technology, that doesn't mean that our end users can figure out what button to push (or NOT push) on their computers :blink:

I'm married, humm, let's see, somewhere around 26 or 27 years now? OK, let's just say forever. I'm 44 years old - the big 45 coming up in January (see, told you I'm not right, what woman ever admits her age), my avatar is a pic of me this summer being silly in the car and taking my own pic with my Crackberry. We've never had children, and no, that doesn't really bother me (again showing that not normal side lol) - yeah, the good ol' biological clock ticked a couple of times, I sighed and imagined what having a child would have been like, and that promptly brought me back to reality and I quickly went and got another cat to play mom to - we have three. Not that I don't LIKE children, I just like them better as someone elses, who can be spoiled, loaded up on sugar and then sent home for mom and dad to deal with... gee, maybe that's why friends don't loan me their kids anymore????

In addition to loving roaches and getting back into that hobby, I have a zillion other hobbies. I spin my own yarn - from sheep, to me, to spinning wheel, to yarn to crochet whatever... I also sculpt in polymer clay, paint, draw, 3d art on computer, photography, jewelry design, collect African Violets, tie flies for fishing (but don't fish since my fishing buddy dad passed in '96), create all manner of crafty goodness with feathers, beads, gourds, leather etc. and too many other things to even begin to completely list. Yes, I like to keep busy. And when I'm not doing one of my hobbies, I'm usually reading - mostly non-fiction science, physics, tech manuals, biology, genetics and any other topic that I'm interested in (yes, I AM that woman in the bath tub reading a wireless router manual).

So, that's the quick and the dirty telling. Oh, and Nhewyt is the name I usually go by online but for those who must know, my given name is Gail.

A big HELLO from the Newbie!

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It's nice to have you!

Keep in mind that if you keep anything labeled G. portentosa, G.grandidieri or "Princisia" they will breed together readily. NEVER keep even adults of those together even for transport or cage cleaning. I don't know if G. oblongonota breed with them or not but it's probably best to avoid finding out.

Glad to hear you've chosen roaches over Ts (I keep both but like roaches better).

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Thanks for the warm welcome :D

Orin - yes, I'm well aware of the hazard of cross breeding with the species I have chosen to get back into the hobby with. And I think the G. oblongonota would be able to interbreed as well. I guess we can't really blame them, they are roaches lol - made to survive and breed.

In the past, it was my experience that many of the hissing roaches I ran into at reptile shows were not pure strains. I even ordered a batch from a breeder who was going out of the business that were supposed to be standard hissers (I was looking for new blood to infuse in my line at the time) and I'm pretty sure they had several crosses in the batch as my colony starting throwing up all sorts of interesting colors after 5 or 6 months - black, red, pale gold and even one individual that had a dark head and an abdomen that was such a pale tannish cream it was almost white. It was a male and in my huge colony I couldn't catch that bugger! I had custom made hard board hives and just when I thought I had him, he'd escape. Sadly, I found him one night dead - torn apart after a molt, I think by another male. In any event, I ended up selling that whole colony to a fella who was only going to use them as feeders.

My new little fellas arrived today actually. I have them set up in smaller houses with tight fitting lids that have a screen insert for air circulation. Not taking any chances with the vaseline barrier being breached and either losing them or having them move in with each other.


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And now I'm wondering what the origin on the name Nhewyt is???

You definitely have a lot of fascinating hobbies and it sounds like you make time to enjoy them all. I'm much more simple. Bugs and three kids. Your life does sound a lot more interesting!


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And now I'm wondering what the origin on the name Nhewyt is???

Thanks for the welcome Peter. Nhewyt is a name I chose for myself for which in numerology adds up to the number 5 which is the number of my date of birth - again, adding it up via numerology. Long answer to a short quesetion lol.

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Are the hybrids able to undergo normal meiosis? If they can, to what degree do they exibit postzygotic hybrid breakdown? Does anyone know?

Keep in mind that if you keep anything labeled G. portentosa, G.grandidieri or "Princisia" they will breed together readily.
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BugmanPrice - I did not see any significant abnormalities in the hisser colony I had where I suspected I had a number of hybrids. I had that colony long enough to see at least 2 generations from the time I had first introduced the new hissers which I suspect had been hybrids. That may not have been long enough to see any postzygotic breakdown if it was going to occur. Below is a quote from an answer given by Theresa Mecklenborg to the question "Are there species in nature?" It's pretty interesting stuff, full answer can be found here.

Reading her answer I have to question if a lot of the hissers are just subspecies and completely capable of producing heathier, more viable offspring than the pure strains. I will say this much about the hybrids I was seeing in that colony - they were all larger than average and in very good health.

Okay. So that's what a species is, to a biologist. Now, do these definitions reflect groups found in nature? That is, are they real, useful divisions? The answer is yes, pretty much.

Species are divided by a variety of reproductive isolating mechanisms. They can be divided by "pre-zygotic"[1] mechanisms, which include geographical, temporal, and habitat separations, as well as behavioral or physical isolating mechanisms. A geographical separation is pretty straightforward -- if the two species never meet, they can't breed. Temporal separations means the species are active (or at least interested in mating) at different times. A habitat separation can be as small as one species of insect living in pears and another in apples, but as long as they don't come into contact with each other, they can't mate. Behavioral isolating mechanisms include things like mating dances and other courtship rituals which must be completed properly before mating will occur. Physical isolating mechanisms include massive size differences and incompatible genitalia (some insects have ridiculously complex genitalia; I tried to find you some pictures, but can't seem to find a good collection online). In some cases, the organisms can mate just fine, but the sperm cannot reach or fertilize the egg.

Species can also be divided by "post-zygotic" mechanisms, which means the sperm does fertilize the egg, but something goes wrong afterwards. The can occur before the zygote develops into an embryo, after it develops into an embryo but before it is born, after it is born, or even in subsequent generations. If an organism is born from a mixed-species mating, it is called a hybrid. Hybridization is actually very rare in animals, although more common in plants. Some hybrids are healthy and fertile, able to breed with one or both parent species, or with other hybrids. Big cat hybrids are often fertile (there are some great pictures of a variety of hybrid big cats at http://members.aol.com/jshartwell/hybrid-bigcats.html). Most hybrids, however, die soon after birth, if they were not spontaneously aborted. Many hybrids that do survive are sickly or infertile (mules, for instance, are perfectly healthy but incapable of producing offspring). In some cases, a phenomenon called "hybrid breakdown" occurs, in which the first-generation hybrid is reasonably healthy and fertile, but its offspring are unhealthy or infertile.

Pre-zygotic and post-zygotic isolating mechanisms are caused by a wide variety of genes. It is thought that post-zygotic incompatibility usually develops first, and then pre-zygotic isolating mechanisms evolve to prevent the organisms from wasting effort, time, and resources on attempting to produce offspring that aren't as successful as purebred offspring would be.

There are a few cases in which hybrids are actually as fit or more fit than their parent species. In general, if a biologist sees this happening, they'll rethink whether those parent species really ought to be considered separate species. Perhaps the groups would more accurately be described as subspecies. One important thing to remember about species is that the vast majority were first named and described in the absence of sophisticated molecular or genetic analysis, and without observing interbreeding. There are many debates about whether certain groups ought to be considered separate species or just subspecies (there is a rather hot debate about North American bears at the moment).

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Actually most hissers won't hybridize because the plumbing, so to speak, isn't complementary. Assigning subspecies to insects and other arthropods is RARELY done… if it’s different it’s a species. Although hybrid vigor would be an interesting thing to observe in the few roaches that can hybridize I think that it is NOT a good idea. Mostly because it depletes true lines and we don’t want that in the hobby. Even though the adults may be bigger to start I have my money on the fact that in two, three, twenty generations even that the fitness value will drop dramatically and you most likely wouldn't see any abnormalities (which is what the question was about). I would strongly advise people to not make hybrids and to avoid it at all expense. Nobody wants anyone out there introducing hybrid bloodlines into the few species strains we have in the U.S. Just my opinion but I’m sure most people would agree.

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I don't condone hybrids either - it was just an academic postulation B) That's why I sold the colony I had before which I suspected had hybrids in it to a person who was going to use them up as feeders and not re-sell them as pets or to start other feeder colonies.

On an academic line again - I have to say I believe they need to re-think the rut they've got themselves into about NOT assigning sub-species to arthropods. I think a lot of it is a mind set - "if it's different, it's a species" - a case of, this is how my pappy did it, it's how I'm going to do it :P In fact, the history of cataloging arthropod/insect/arachnid species is wonderfully rich in heated competition as to who can name the most - especially with butterflies - back in the collection hey day there was HUGE competition between scientists to find and name and take credit for species - all of which just might possibly have something to do with the not assigning sub-species mentality.

In a case like certain species of hissers where the plumbing doesn't match, yes, obviously a different species has evolved. But there are also many cases (not just in roaches) where the differences are so slight (and often only found in a local population) that the animals themselves don't discriminate. In such a case, I believe sub-species status should apply.

But all of that is just my two cents - or, in other words, opinions are just that :)

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