Together with Mexican naked dogs, Sphynx cats and Vietnamese pigs, the Madagascar cockroach confidently conquers the title of an extravagant but beloved by many originals a pet. It is difficult to call it a sweet or very sympathetic friend (even the term "four-legged" does not suit him!), But many features of biology and a very original appearance make him an attractive pet for exotic lovers.
Moreover, Madagascar cockroaches are very convenient in the maintenance: they do not stain in the apartment and do not smell, are harmless and calm, and in most cases are not noticeable at all for guests.
Nevertheless, certain requirements for the conditions of detention of the Madagascar sibilant cockroach still makes. Therefore, for the successful breeding of these insects in the house, even before buying them, one must get acquainted with the peculiarities of their biology and take into account the experience of the hard cockroaches.
Appearance of cockroaches and their photos
Madagascar sizzling cockroaches - this is not one species, but a whole genus of cockroaches that live exclusively in Madagascar , and in other countries of the world are found only in terrariums of lovers or in random boxes with bananas.
In total, 20 species of Madagascar sizzling cockroaches are known in science, and the status of some of them is systematically controversial.
A characteristic feature of Madagascar cockroaches is their lack of wings at all stages of development. The vast majority of other cockroaches are wingless only larvae, and adults (adults) have wings, and some species even fly very well. At Madagascar's originals it is sometimes even difficult to distinguish a senior nymph from an adult insect.
Madagascar sizzling cockroaches have a very characteristic appearance: a very powerful chitinous shield on the cephalothorax, a wide and rather thick abdomen. But the main feature of them are the sizes - the imago of some species can reach a length of 9 cm! In the photo it is easy to estimate the size of a cockroach in comparison with a human hand:
The color of the abdomen of these insects varies from light-red to almost black. As a rule, the nymphs are darker than adults and have a slightly more dense physique. The upper photo shows nymphs of early ages, on the lower one there is one larva of late age:
A real adornment of an adult Madagascar cockroach is a kind of outgrowth on the top of his chest shell. Such "horns" are only grown by males, and it is thanks to them that in some species males from females are well distinguished.
In the photo above - male, from below - female Gromphadorhina portentosa - the most popular Madagascar cockroach:
In those species of Madagascar cockroaches, in which males do not have protrusions on their backs, sexual dimorphism is less pronounced. Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish males from females by other signs:
- according to the state of the mustache - in males they are almost always broken and curved, as insects actively use them in the struggle for the female. In females, on the contrary, the antennae are even and whole. The differences between the sexes are clearly visible in the photo;
- on the last two segments of the abdomen: in females they are both black, in the male black only the latter. And in general, the female abdomen is slightly wider. In the photo, this is clearly visible.
Nymphs can not visually distinguish the sexes. The nymphs themselves are very similar to adult insects, but their cephalothorax is not as developed as that of their parents.
Lifestyle and ecology of Madagascar sizzling cockroaches
Madagascar sizzling cockroaches - insects are very timid and timid. In natural conditions, they live in the jungles of Madagascar, hiding in the forest litter during the day, and at night crawling along its surface and eating various rotting plant and animal remains. They do not bite and can not cause a person any harm.
To save them from predators, these insects chose guerrilla tactics: they try to give themselves out as little as possible, and if the lemur or the bird finds them, they press themselves to the surface with all their might.
Because of the smooth back, the animal can not grab the cockroach from above, and poking it from below is also a big problem. And then the cockroach throws out its trump card, for which it, in fact, was called.
Madagascar cockroaches can very loudly and sizzle. The hissing is reminiscent of the scaring sound of some snakes and is beneficial to cockroaches, as it can help them get rid of annoying pursuers. Such a hiss can even frighten experienced terrarium players, since it is produced very insect by insects.
Sizzle all adult cockroaches, using for this purpose special organs - spiracles - on the surface of the body. The cockroach quite sharply bend the body and cut the lungs to make a hiss, in some species resembling a whistle.
Female cockroaches hiss only in case of danger, frightening off the sound of enemies. Males use hissing additionally during courtship for the female and during a fight with other males.
It is noteworthy that in a colony of Madagascar sizzling cockroaches among males a clear hierarchy is established. During the fight, males push their horns, and the weaker male eventually turns on his back, demonstrating his defeat. The majority of males carry on the body those or other damages received during fights.
Many are interested in how many live Madagascar cockroaches. As a rule, in nature, the average life expectancy of an insect is 1-1.5 years, in captivity - about 3 years. Very rarely, individuals survive to 5 and even 6 years. At the end of life they tend to lighten a little.
Another no less interesting question is what Madagascar cockroaches eat. In this respect, they are no different from most other species, consuming the rotting remnants of fruits, berries, green parts of plants.
It is interesting
In Madagascar hissing cockroaches are constantly inhabited by one type of ticks, which is not found on any other living creature. At one time it was assumed that these mites parasitize insects, piercing their chitinous membrane and feeding on lymph or blood. But studies using colored liquids that allowed cockroaches to drink showed that this was not the case: mites feed on the same food that cockroaches consume - fruits and green parts of plants, and the cockroaches themselves are used only as a vehicle.
Like all cockroaches, Madagascar hissing gravitate to places with a pronounced wood smell or with the presence of wood dust and sawdust. Therefore, in nature, they are easiest to find in rotten stumps and under logs in the forest.
Reproduction of Madagascar sizzling cockroaches
Madagascar sizzling cockroaches refer to viviparous species. After fertilization of the egg in the abdomen, the females are glued together and form a special chamber - the ootheka. Most of the time the ootheca is in the abdomen of the female, but it has the ability to push it through the anus for airing the eggs.
It is interesting
In those species of cockroaches that reproduce with live birth, the ootheke has a light - white or white-yellow - color and it seems soft. In other species, females that discharge the ootheca long before the eggs leave the larvae, the ootheca is firm and has a patronizing color. In the photo you can see the Oota of the Madagascar and the ootheka of the black cockroach:
The development of eggs lasts about 50-70 days. This time depends on the temperature of the environment - the colder the air, the longer the peculiar pregnancy lasts.
Nymphs emerge from the eggs in the body cavity of the female, after which they are immediately pushed out together with the remnants of the ootheca. Newborn larvae are small - only a few millimeters in length - and have a white soft shell. They diligently eat ooteca and within a few hours darken, turning into small copies of the mother.
It is interesting
Madagascar - one of the few cockroaches, females take care of nymphs. While the larvae themselves do not spread in different directions, the mother angrily hisses at all insects and animals approaching her, and makes attacks on the potential enemy.
In one brood of cockroaches there are usually 20-25 larvae. Several days after birth, they stay with their mother, and then crawl away.
The chitinous cover of the larva can not grow in size, and therefore the insect itself grows inside it, as in clothes. Several times during his childhood the nymph sheds - her shell splits on her back, her halves diverge to the sides and a light, grown-up nymph creeps out of him. Her new carapace is soft and bright, but as long as the insect eats its previous small shell, the body covers harden, and the nymph gets the usual dark brown color.
The larval stage from hatching to the last moult lasts depending on the environmental conditions and nutrition from 6 to 12 months. During this time, the nymph molts 6 times.
As a result, as a pet, a Madagascar will please his owner about 4-5 years. But for such a joy, insects need to create suitable conditions ...
Contents of cockroaches at home
Immediately say that Madagascar sizzling cockroaches are bred at home not only for pleasure, but also as a very convenient feed for terrarium animals - lizards, amphibians, snakes, spiders. They are caloric, harmless to animals, do not produce an unpleasant odor, and, therefore, are very attractive as a feed.
It is interesting
It is Madagascar cockroaches that are used as race insects in cockroach races - very popular entertainment in many countries of the world. In addition, they are also used for food, no matter how terrible it may sound - an adult insect is an excellent caloric source of protein, exceeding by many parameters dietary chicken and veal. And today, extravagant couturiers even use live Madagascar to make necklaces, but such chivalry is unlikely to ever be widespread.
Regardless of the purpose, the contents of Madagascar cockroaches at home are usually carried out in spacious plastic cages, in which:
- There is a litter of sawdust. It is undesirable to use sawdust of coniferous species, but coconut powder or ordinary sawdust for cat litter is ideal. You can mix sawdust with sand. Litter should be changed once a month to prevent infection with her mites.
- There are shelters. The practice of cockroach lovers shows that ideal shelters are egg trays laid one on top of the other.
- A high temperature of 25-30 ° C is maintained. Cockroaches normally tolerate a decrease in temperature to 18 ° C and rise to 35 ° C, but at such extremes cease to multiply.
- Wet - all the tank should be sprayed with water from the spray gun at least once a week. In the ideal case - warm water, which immediately turns into a fog, ideal for cockroaches. It is necessary to avoid constant blotting of the substrate - it can rot or mold.
Cockroaches constantly need water. In nature, they get it from juicy fruits or with dew. In the cage you need to install a drinking bowl, into which cotton wool is placed and filled with water. Insects should not be able to drown, but they must have access to water.
Care for Madagascar sizzling cockroaches is to spray the water tank with them, regularly providing them with food and adding water to the drinking bowl. Knowing how to care for Madagascar cockroaches, you can achieve that they will actively breed and live long enough.
It is not necessary to puzzle especially over what to feed the Madagascar cockroaches. They perfectly eat any fruit (especially gladly - bananas), boiled porridges, vegetables, dry food for fish, bread. The main thing is that the food is constantly in their cage and varied, otherwise insects can manifest cannibalism or begin to engage in self-mutilation.
Buy a Madagascar cockroach in Moscow or another major city of Russia is not difficult: today they are sold in many avian markets and zoos. Knowing where to buy a Madagascar cockroach, many terrariumists do without a fodder culture for their reptiles, constantly buying larvae of cockroaches of the right size.
Today, cockroaches can be bought even through the Internet. It is important only to take into account that in packed parcel insects can travel no more than 3-4 days, so the Internet store should be selected from those that are near the house.
Today, the nymphs of Madagascar cockroaches cost about 100-150 rubles, depending on the age, the price of adult cockroaches is about 400-500 rubles. Given the simplicity of the content, these insects can please even those nature lovers who can not afford to keep a cat or a dog, but want to have a small piece of wildlife in the house.