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Polyphaga saussurei elevated activity


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I have 7 Polyphaga saussurei roaches since november 2016. It looks like some are now becoming adults. 
And while so far they almost never got to the surface, even at night, one adult female saussurei is above ground every night since a couple of days. 
At first I was wondering that she might be in need of extra food, or moisture. But adding extra food and moisture hasn't changed this behavior.  So that got me thinking. 
My hypothesis at the moment is that this female is kind of waiting for a male to 'find' her. I think so because I've found some articles described the life cycle of these kind of roaches. Shortly said, the males are active in early summer. At that moment they fly around in search of females. Pheromones are most likely involved, but none the less, the female increased meeting changes if she is at the surface (I think). Eggs are laid in summer and overwinter until next spring (hence the reason why they take so long to hatch). So I believe she is looking for a mating partner. I expect her to start making an ootheca soon. 
For now I can enjoy watching her every evening... 

What do you all think of this? Have you noticed something similar? 

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  • 1 month later...

Hey there. I was just searching out some P saussurei info and stumbled upon your post (hence the late reply). I don't think that's what you're seeing as P saussurei have no males. The females reproduce through parthenogenesis. But her being at the surface might be a prelude to an ooth. Did she produce one? 

I personally haven't noticed mine at the surface, but they do eat regularly so I know they are coming out... but then again, mine are not quite adult yet. Getting large, but I think the biggest has still not had her terminal molt. I'm interested to know what happened on your end!

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Once they have an ooth hanging out, they stop wandering around like that. 
The reason I think this is because that the never before started to 'climb' and wander for hours, while food is available. They also are not easily disturbed if they are in 'wandering mode. (I can touch them gently). Once they have found a higher spot, they sit silent and upright for a while, waving around their antenna. 
Once the ooth is hanging out a month after, they return to their 'normal' behavior. 

So preluding an ooth? Yes, but it might be to get the eggs fertilized. Which would be a sensible strategy if a male is available. I rather see the parthenogenesis as a backup option. 
We see them as parthenogenetic, but in nature, males fly around. As as these roaches live in desert habitats, the change of finding a mate isn't always an easy task. So my hypothesis is that these females are kind of 'on the lookout' in the hope of being found by a male. Why else would they 'expose' themselves like this? 
But to know that for sure, one needs to observe them in their habitat with males around. 

A video of their wandering: 

 

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I was under the impression that the males didn't exist at all, so thank you for the added info. Your theory sounds quite plausible knowing that. Like you said, why else would they expose themselves to danger like that? Have you heard of anyone keeping a male? I'm definitely keeping an even closer eye on my girls. I'd love to see them out and about. 

So have you only seen this wandering in the spring? Or have they done it at other times? Their timetable is so unlike any other roaches I've kept. I'd like to add another species of sand roach to my collection, but one that reproduces faster. Any recommendations? 

P.S. I was going to ask if you were "stijnghesquiere" on youtube, but I got my answer when my subscription notification popped up with the same video. :) Love your channel! 

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I would love to have males of this species! 

Here is a link showing them: 

http://cockroach.speciesfile.org/Common/basic/Taxa.aspx?ExpandImages=1

A link to a book with some info regarding males and life cycle:

https://books.google.be/books?id=aluUgDVYJ8wC&pg=PA58&lpg=PA58&dq=polyphaga+saussurei+male&source=bl&ots=HuxAnH2GRr&sig=N2G_iS_J1cla3aZ7kgjKpSAy1bE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVu-mMgf_UAhVGJlAKHQI0AkkQ6AEISTAJ#v=onepage&q=polyphaga saussurei male&f=false

And another (Russian through google translate):

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fmedic.studio%2Fmeditsinskaya-parazitologiya-kniga%2Funichtojenie-tarakanov-43572.html&edit-text=

Yes, they're slow going. 
It's only this spring that mine became adults (after a long wait, but that you do know :) ). 
I found some info on Russian websites and Chinese articles. Put the pieces together, I finally understand their life cycle. Eggs are produced in summer and fall. They live in rodent and turtle burrows. The ootheca are deposited in there as well.
After the winter, which can be quite hard in their home range, the nymphs emerge in spring from the eggs (8 months after). After that it takes two years at least before they become adults. In spring males fly out and search for the females, fertilize them and a while after the new ooths are produced and the next cycle starts. 
Wish I could travel to their habitat and catch some males :) They can best be caught with a flood light at night, as they are attracted to the light. 
A cockroach expedition :) 

Edited by stanislas
added extra links
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It is a shame that the price of "Urban Insects and Arachnids: A Handbook of Urban Entomology" is $250 and upwards.  I love collecting reference books but the price on this one is a little steep.

 

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The price of that book is indeed a bit excessive... 
Although I managed to find a pdf version online simply through google with something like: Handbook Urban Entomology 2005

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2 hours ago, dactylus said:

It is a shame that the price of "Urban Insects and Arachnids: A Handbook of Urban Entomology" is $250 and upwards.  I love collecting reference books but the price on this one is a little steep.

Found it for $145 here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/urban-insects-and-arachnids-william-h-robinson/1100949133/2676233346765?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Textbooks_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP20456&k_clickid=3x20456

I was going to say if you can find the PDF, you can probably print it yourself cheaper! 

Added that book to my Google library to read next. Thanks for the recommendation. 

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On 7/12/2017 at 1:27 PM, Axolotl said:

Found it for $145 here: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/urban-insects-and-arachnids-william-h-robinson/1100949133/2676233346765?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Textbooks_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP20456&k_clickid=3x20456

I was going to say if you can find the PDF, you can probably print it yourself cheaper! 

Added that book to my Google library to read next. Thanks for the recommendation. 

Thanks for the hardcopy find!  I'm going to peruse the pdf version and then decide if I want to spend $145 on this.  It is missing the dust jacket but I guess if it was in mint condition it would be much higher priced.

I love collecting natural history books and reference texts.  I have two new rattlesnake books calling my name as we speak...  :D

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On 7/12/2017 at 1:25 PM, stanislas said:

The price of that book is indeed a bit excessive... 
Although I managed to find a pdf version online simply through google with something like: Handbook Urban Entomology 2005

Thanks.  I located and downloaded a pdf version!

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