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Craniifer Seizures... Terrifying.


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Last night I was measuring my adult Blaberus craniifer (and got to smell plenty of their defensive odor). I went upstairs for an hour, then returned and heard a commotion from their tank. An adult male, about 5 months old and with one antenna, was running manicly, falling on nhis back, thrashing his legs and flapping his wings. The others were active but normal, and they all moved away from him.

I took him out to try and figure out what was going on. He was nearly impossible to calm down, and crossed his back legs a lot which scared me since it's a typical death posture. I quarantined him and got to hear him kick an egg carton around from a room away for a while, and inspected the tank. The only item of note I found was a piece of apple which should have been removed a long time ago and was possibly fermenting. I concluded that maybe he's drunk. Needless to say I threw away the apple, too.

Another hour later I check on him again. He's on his back, legs extended, and mouthparts working furiously. When I pick him up he thrashes again, but by holding him tightly and setting him upright I'm able to calm him down. He makes a few attempts to walk, but can't coordinate his middle or hind legs. It's now around 10:30 so I go to sleep...

This morning he's on his back and quiet again, but has short bursts of activity when I hold him again. He drinks water eagerly. Today will see either death or recovery.

I want to know if anyone's ever experienced it before: who, what, when, why, and should I be worried about the others?

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I've only seen this in two instances; one was pesticide poisoning, the other was accidental decapitation. Is it possible you could have accidentally injured his head/neck area while rummaging through the tank?

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That's a good idea, but it doesn't work because it happened to the other male the next day...

I think it may have been a chemical poisoning of some kind. I cleaned the tank and the two adult (gravid please!) females and subadult female are fine. I also moved them to a different room; maybe someone had sprayed a cleaning fluid that got to the males.

Their antennae and mouthparts were fully functional during the seizures too, which seems to work against the injury hypothesis.

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