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# of instars and preserving questions


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I've searched the forums and have seen this others wondering how many instars a Dubia and Madagascar Hisser has. I'm wondering if I could somehow find out how many they have if i take a newborn roach and keep it separately for a month or two, and count how many times it sheds its skin until it becomes an adult? How does one count these instars? Does being born count as one? Does becoming mature count as another one?

The reason I want to do this leads into my next question. I want to preserve roaches in each phase and mount them in size order in resin. I dont really know why, I just think it would be cool to see the progression.

What is the best way to kill them? What is the best way to preserve and cast them? I've never done this kind of thing before, and I'm finding mixed answers on the internet. Some are saying adult roaches are too fatty and I'd need to do some sort of Taxidermy on them??

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the dual topic. I didnt want to go around making multiple threads as a noobie :)

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I will tell you my experience with preserving in resin. If you look at the thread I started in the photo gallery section entitled "Casting a Hisser in resin" it shows a picture of my attempt. It also has a link to a "how-to" thread written by a man who casts tarantulas. I used a recently deceased roach and slit it down the sides with a razor blade to scoop out the abdominal guts first. It was kind of stinky and also tricky to not break the fragile shell as I scooped. I have also tried casting a whole adult hisser and the abdomen exploded when the resin temperature started to heat up as it cured (really gross!). Since a nymph would not have as much bulk, maybe it would not explode - you may just have to experiment. In the photo you can see a silvery color over some of the hisser - I think this is caused by the waxy coating that they have and the resin didn't seem to coat it well. I cast a Peppered roach nymph once and it did not get the silvery coating. So maybe a nymph would look better. As far as killing them, I think the refrigerator/freezer method is the kindest option (in my opinion).

I also would like to know how instars are counted and if a newborn roach is a zero instar or one instar. I'm sure someone will chime in.

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Thanks for telling me about that thread, that is very cool! I have a lot of trouble with the search functions, as things can be called so many different names, and the search function on this forum yells at me for a lot of weird words LOL.

The silvery is actually pretty cool, I will have to experiment when my colony gets bigger, its way to small right now to take out any adults. I'm also wondering if the sheen is from the type of resin you used? I know that some are clearer than others. Did you do it in one go, or did you add one layer at a time?

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oh and i found this about a possible cause of your silvering:

"If you just catch your insect and immediately embed it in plastic without dealing with the water content problem then you will probably get silvering." apparently if its not preserved right, there are a couple of different things that cause silvering to happen.

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my plan was to perhaps put a baby by itself, count the moults until it was an adult, then find the varying sizes in my collection and preserve them in order. I'm not planning on a huge mass murder or anything, just trying to make something informative, and to me, neat. I've always loved the bug jewelry, and what i find out about resin casting will probably also be used to make some awesome roach jewelry. I guess I'd feel worse about killing them, but they suffer much worse deaths than being frozen by getting eaten alive by my lizards.

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I have seen ppl use a vacuum hand pump to remove air from the chamber they were casting things in. (Things meaning not bugs, sso there could be other variables im not thinkin of). With the air removed there were no bubbles in the resin matrix. Don't remember to many details but its something to research further.

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