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A question about roach behaviour


_Nagash_
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Some questions have troubled my mind the past days..

Do roaches have some kind of hierarchy?

Is it like the wolfes with an Aplha male/female?

Is it like the ants with some kind of queen person.(for instance like one female/male that will dominate the rest of the culture is some kind of way? Or just is more attractive to mate with for some reason?)

Are they all like singel indivuals living togheter, no ranking, no responsibilities?

Is it normal for males to fight each other to be the one to mate with that femal? If so, is there normal with casualties?

Will females mate with different males or just keep to one singel male?

Are they territorial? Like one roach sticks to his or her corner when not seraching for food and stuff?

Regards

Robin

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I think your questions have a lot to do with the species. Hissers certainly have a heirarchy with the largest male as the boss of the best territory in the cage, of course as in primates being the alpha male may not necessarily translate to offspring. I would venture to say there is certainly not an alpha female. There are some papers on roaches online but usually you have to subscribe to the service and you don't know if the article is even worth reading, let alone worth paying for. Here's one link I found (abstract -article costs $32):

http://www.springerlink.com/content/h0431gk0427w4187/

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I think your questions have a lot to do with the species. Hissers certainly have a heirarchy with the largest male as the boss of the best territory in the cage, of course as in primates being the alpha male may not necessarily translate to offspring. I would venture to say there is certainly not an alpha female. There are some papers on roaches online but usually you have to subscribe to the service and you don't know if the article is even worth reading, let alone worth paying for. Here's one link I found (abstract -article costs $32):

http://www.springerlink.com/content/h0431gk0427w4187/

Well, I can add this:

In my rather large bin of B.giganteus, there is definately some kind of behavior pattern. One male is always on top and in charge. 4 males are allowed to stay near the bottom of the eggcarton material he stands on top of. Additional nymphs that molt that are males get killed (unless I pull them in time and put them in another bin) and often mostly eaten even if food is already in the cage. One female can go whereever she wants. The other females all have to stay on the left side of the enclosure, though I see no violence related. Males occasionally break out in a fight which is usually harmless, though some wing-biting may occur.

All this is very interesting to watch late at night (during the day they do just about nothing at all) but makes them to be a pain in the butt to manage. I am still perplexed as to how people say they have dozens or hundreds in one container, and I have seen one photo of 50 or so in the same cage all hanging shoulder to shoulder on some cork like material, and all are unscathed.

Any comments ???

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Hi Matt,

Once the culture size gets to certain level (and space) any tendency towards hierarchy disappears. If you have a large enough pool of males they give up trying to figure out who to fight with.

Population density behavior changes are very familiar to those who keep tropical fish, such as you either want to have one Tropheus or more than a dozen, smaller numbers lead to one at a time being singled out and killed. You'll observe behavior in smaller groups of roaches you won't see in a large colony.

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Hi Matt,

Once the culture size gets to certain level (and space) any tendency towards hierarchy disappears. If you have a large enough pool of males they give up trying to figure out who to fight with.

Population density behavior changes are very familiar to those who keep tropical fish, such as you either want to have one Tropheus or more than a dozen, smaller numbers lead to one at a time being singled out and killed. You'll observe behavior in smaller groups of roaches you won't see in a large colony.

...So really there is a "get past" point that I never let occur, so what you are saying is I can dump all the segregated ones, threes and fives, back into the big bin and everything will be fine? Ok, here goes nothing! I will report what happens...

P.s- When I was diving in Lake Tanganyika there were huge shoals of different Tropheus sp. in open water and small groups of others closer to the rocks.... wish I owned some of that film footage. It was unbelieveable. 10's of thousands of them at most times.

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Wow!

This is very interesting to read :D

Additional nymphs that molt that are males get killed (unless I pull them in time and put them in another bin) and often mostly eaten even if food is already in the cage

Maybe something similar to the old Human Canibal tribes?( Didn`t they eat their enemy to get their powers or something?) Maybe the roaches know that other roaches are a god source of protein /minerals/vitamins ?

Anyway, thanks alot for the answers!

Orion McMoniqle

I`m considering to buy that article,but yesterday I recived your books about Giant Tarantulas and Giant Centipedes. In addition I ordered 8 other books from Amazoon.com about different invertebrates a month ago, I think I have enought to read just now :P

Regards

Robin

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Hi Matt,

Once the culture size gets to certain level (and space) any tendency towards hierarchy disappears. If you have a large enough pool of males they give up trying to figure out who to fight with.

WELL THERE YOU HAVE IT! I put all my small groups into the big tub with the nymphs and my favorite adults, and last night they did not fight at all....just wandered around confused. This morning they were all hanging out unscathed as though they were embarrassed for thier previous mob behaviors. Even the big mean male (I marked his wing to know ID him in a group) just milled about with the others and went no where near his previous perch. Even as I type this he is hanging on a verticle piece of egg carton with several of his cohabitants...

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My tank is 20 gallon for my hissers, and I have two males who dominate over a large and small wood tunnel in the tank.

They've never come into contact as far as I've seen,, but I'm sure they would fight if they encountered each other. They're big males, one's black and was born in around March, the other is one of the original males and is a standard color. I've seen them attempt to mate many times, attempting at mature females as well as un-sexable nymphs.

They're in my room, so I get the hissing most of the night, but it's a soft hissing.

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I have a few B. Giganteus and I do see some of the behavior you asked about, so i'll try to answer your questions from what i've seen.

Do roaches have some kind of hierarchy?

I have seen certain roaches who got to eat first, and some push others away to get the best spot to rest, if they resist they get nipped by the dominant roach.

Is it like the wolves with an Aplha male/female?

Yes, stronger, larger males are the ones who have the best chance to mate with the females, this is best seen in hissers.

Is it like the ants with some kind of queen person.

I havent heard about only one female roach able to mate in a colony, roaches are good breeders and I would think any mature,virgin roach who hasnt mated is fair game to be mated with.

Are they all like single indivuals living together, no ranking, no responsibilities?

Besides a big male hisser who may not allow another male to mate without a fight, yes, I think all roaches have one purpose, to grow,mate, and reproduce as fast ad possible before dying or being eaten.

Is it normal for males to fight each other to be the one to mate with that female? If so, is there normal with casualties?

Yes, hissers and blaberus giganteus males will fight eachother and some will fight to the death biting and mauling their opponent, they mostly go for the wings and legs. (except hissers who lack wings)

Will females mate with different males or just keep to one singel male?

I think a female mates only once before being pregnant for life. But they make it hard for the male because while they are mating the female will drag the male around which is why he must be fit and strong or mating may not be sucessful.

Are they territorial? Like one roach sticks to his or her corner when not seraching for food and stuff?

I believe so, as i've seen this with my roaches, especially over the best place to rest during the day.

Hope I could help!

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Yeah...hisser fights are amusing to watch. You can tell from far away their is a fight as you hear some enraged hissing and then lots of shoving and pushing as they butt and swing their abdomens at each other. Sometimes one even manages to flip the opponent who is then chased around the tank until both roaches forget for a few minutes until they meet again.

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