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I found some surinam roaches! Pycnoscelus surinamensis.


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I flipped a rock on a whim to look for orange isopods, and not only did I find a reasonably orange one, I found two Surinam roaches! I dug around in the leaves nearby, and found a few more orange-tinged isopods, plus some roach nymphs, but I couldn't catch the nymphs. Isopods have this convenient habit of curling up when you uncover them, but roach nymphs don't tend to do that. 
I got a male, too!
I put them in an empty M&M jar for now, with a handful of coco fiber, some dry leaves, a couple wadded-up coffee filters for added texture, and some dried apple. I'll put a couple inches of coco fiber in there as soon as I can get some. I figure they aren't gonna need much room until they have a batch or two of babies. 
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I can't photograph them right today. I'll try again tomorrow when the sun is back out, but the orange is kinda faint and doesn't want to show up on camera. They're more of a grey-orange than a bright orange, but they're more orange than most, so I figure they're a good starting point! It just doesn't show up very well under the lightbulbs we use indoors, so I have to wait for sunlight.

Gonna try to hunt down some brighter orange ones later.

I might go back to where I found this batch and see if the people at the closest house are home. I tried ringing their doorbell today, but they weren't home, so I couldn't ask if I could go check out their backyard for bugs. I don't think the average person would mind someone coming into their backyard to flip a few rocks, and it does help with this sort of thing that I look like I'm 15. 

We're also going to visit a family friend who lives on a decent chunk of land that has lots of woodland, so I'm going to take a look under the leaf litter there. 

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Males are winged, females aren't. Nymphs are a lighter color and are smaller than adults. 

Also, with Surinams, if you have a nymph too small to sex, it's probably a female. Many introduced populations of them don't actually have any males. This one apparently does.

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Yeah almost all individuals are females capable of giving birth to "clones" of themselves, occasionally you'll get sterile males, but they are pretty rare. Adults have wings, nymphs don't. Keep them in a tub with a few inches of substrate, feed them anything, keep them at room temp or higher, and they'll breed like crazy. 

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Hm, I may need to figure out what species I was mixing these up with. I could have sworn that Surinam roaches are a mostly parthenogenic species that still has functional males, and that the females are wingless. Does that sound like a species anyone has heard of, or did I just get bad information somewhere? 

If I keep them at cool room temps (60s), will they breed more slowly? I want to keep some of these, the parthenogenesis is neat, but I don't want to deal with a few hundred.

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I keep my colony in a balcony closet year round. In the winter, the temperatures normally get as low as 40 in there and my colony is still alive. I honestly feel like there are more roaches than 3 months ago, so they might have reproduced even in the cold temperatures, but it does seem at a slower rate than in the hot summer months.

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On 4/7/2019 at 8:49 PM, Betta132 said:

Hm, I may need to figure out what species I was mixing these up with. I could have sworn that Surinam roaches are a mostly parthenogenic species that still has functional males, and that the females are wingless. Does that sound like a species anyone has heard of, or did I just get bad information somewhere? 

If I keep them at cool room temps (60s), will they breed more slowly? I want to keep some of these, the parthenogenesis is neat, but I don't want to deal with a few hundred.

Perhaps you are thinking of Polyphaga saussurei or obscura, the strains we have in the hobby of both of those species are parthenogenetic, but many wild strains of those species have fertile, winged males that are actually used for reproduction... 

They'll breed slower at those temps, yes, but they will still breed... So using them as a feeder or otherwise culling their numbers occasionally will be neccesary. 

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