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Wild Cockroach Observations


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I got to go to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida this past week (lucky me!) with almost the sole purpose of looking for herps and inverts. Fortunately (and somewhat unfortunately) I only came across 3 species; Pycnoscelus surinamensis, Periplaneta americana, and Periplaneta australasiae. The surinams were almost everywhere; under garbage cans at night, buried in the sand, in the mulch around our house; everywhere. They were drastically smaller than the captive surinams I have (probably due to their diet.) The only P. americana we found crawled up our shower drain writhing from what appeared to be poisoning; he was fine 24 hours later and we would have kept him if we had found a mate. The Australian roaches were the most intricate roaches we found, preferring to hide under coastal leaf litter near the bases of trees. There were predominantly L2-L3 nymphs (although I did spot some hatched ooths and snagged some adults/subadults.) Apparently, these and the surinams coexist and both consume wettened, dead hardwood leaves.

The most exciting thing for me personally was uncovering an adult female. I sent back some of these stunning little guys and I hope some other daring enthusiasts will also give them a try one day. :D

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You lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky man! Not many people do stuff with wild roaches. Get anything else cool?

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You brought back a mole crab???? Whoa! I caught one when I was down there, but... Do you know what kind of millies? There's some cool Floridian species in Thomas Eisner's For Love of Insects.

Orin, mole crabs are small, slightly cylindrical burrowing beach crustaceans. I don't have a clue how to keep them in captivity. No mantids? :huh:

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Sounds like Apheloria sp. Nice albino too!!

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Gorgeous millipedes! Also, I was told to be careful hunting in Florida. Their gov't is pretty non-specific about where they wage their war on mosquitoes;

the local reptile shows discourage the use of found insects as feeders because of excessive public/private pesticide run off ending up in water sources well away from the treatment site.

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Wow, very nice! The millies might be Floridobolus or Narceus floridiensis.

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So you found the australean roach south in US, but how far north has it spread? To all states except Alaska, perhaps?

BR/

Ole

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So you found the australean roach south in US, but how far north has it spread? To all states except Alaska, perhaps?

BR/

Ole

It’s probably found mostly in larger cities in the north where they can hide from the cold do to the ability to move from apartment to apartment; but I'd bet pretty uncommon overall. They seem to be more abundant in the southeast, but I have seen them in a museum in northern Utah. The ones I checked out were collected in inside areas of northern Utah (pretty cold winters, surprisingly warm summers, low humidity year around) where they probably were receiving shipments of produce from other warmer places. But even Blattella germanica doesn’t survive in most areas! It’s kind of too bad; I prefer them much more to the looks of the Periplaneta americana (which do have a subtle beauty to them as well) which are more prominent in southern areas of the west.

I’d be willing to wager they've been FOUND in all states but only reproduce and create sustainable populations relatively few states. Maybe there are fewer sources of vegemite and Fosters in the western us.

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