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Hisser pictures and noob insect keeper questions.

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So these are my two madagascar hissing cockroaches. I didn't ask for or expect any particular species, I just asked the owner of a small local pet store to get me two hissers, and this is what I got:



Sorry for the poor picture quality, all I've got right now is my crappy phone cam.. but hopefully you can see the boy (above and right) is really small compared to the female. Also, his horns are really tiny and flat. I almost suspected he was a nymph, but despite his meager masculine attributes his very, well, horny... meaning any time the girl starts moving about he gets all hissy and tries to mate. She wants none of it. So here are some questions that I'd like to ask the knowledgeable people of the forum:

1. Is it possible he's a 'dwarf' hisser? Is there even such a thing? I believe I've read about them somewhere, but not sure if credible source.. Or is he just a wimp? I think he's barely two inches long, she's about three.

2. Does the female not want to mate because he's small? Or does she just not feel like it? Is she possibly already pregnant (she's quite fat) and would that affect her desire to mate? I don't really want them to mate, I have no use for a colony of hissers, but I'm curious what's going on between them.

He's somewhat more adventurous then her but I guess that's normal - she doesn't wander around much, but lately they like to sit close together, touching antennae... awwww. ^_^

If anyone can shed some light on hisser sizes and dating habits I'll be grateful!

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1. No, the male one is not a dwarf hisser, and yes there is such a thing. I have had plenty of males that were barely two inches long, so its normal. The females are usually much larger than the males.

2. There are multiple reasons why the female may not want to mate. For one, the temperature may not be adequate. It is possible that the female could already be pregnant since you got her from a pet shop (assuming that the ones you got were taken from a colony). It is probably wise of you to hope that she is not pregnant if you do not want a colony, for the females give birth to A LOT of babies.

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Yeah, I've had some pretty tiny boys as well. One of the neat things about hissers is seeing how much they vary individually.

As for starting a colony, I started out with a few not sure if I wanted a colony, but honestly the descicion to start a colony was one I don't regret at all. Just make sure to separate the male and females when you have a decent amount of each (mine hover around 20-30 of each, plus the nymphs that I keep with my girls).

They're pretty fun to have around and watch/listen to, not to mention are a decent way to dispose of overripe produce. Males are definitely more boustrus than females, though females are better for handling IMHO due to being calmer.

Welcome to the hobby, and good luck with your hissers! :)

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Turns out she was pregnant, but had pregnancy difficulties.

Well, I was going to take some pics since I got a better camera this weekend, but two days ago the female started doing something that looked like contractions and attempts to push an ootheca out... she seemed to be struggling a lot though, opening and closing the end of her abdomen without anything coming out. It continued until yesterday night when I saw a bit of ootheca sticking out but not moving either way. I went to bed worried that I'd find her dead in the morning - stuck unable to give birth properly, or simply dead from exhaustion.

This morning I found the ootheca out and in a few pieces. Some of the eggs looked untouched, while some had dead half-hatched nymphs. Like I said before I didn't really want any babies, but it was still a sad sight. :(

I have no idea if it was her first batch or not, or what went wrong, at least she seems fine for now.

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They can abort oothecas for many reasons. Inadiquet nutrition, stress, cold, sickness, etc.

I think she was at least trying to give proper birth rather than abort, since there were some almost-hatched nymphs in there.. then again, it was an oddly unevenly developed ooth, so idk. I feed them plenty and keep the food varied and fresh, and try not to bother them too much, the temp is perhaps a little low, in the high room-temperature levels I guess. Anyways, she seems fine a few days later so I'll see if she has any babies in the future.. I'm still not really into keeping a colony but I could keep a couple and give the rest away. Que sera, sera :)

here's some more pics, they seem to really like the coconut huts.



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