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Bugs Etc.

Malagasy Hissing

Raising some of your own feeders can not only help with the cost of keeping many lizards, it can help guarantee you always have a food source available during inclement weather, or if a bug shipment gets delayed.

I do not attempt to raise all the feeder insects I use, but I do raise a fair amount of them. Some bugs are just too aggravating for me to raise in large amounts, but I have produced several types of feeder insects myself, including crickets, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, hissing roaches, and lobster roaches.
Currently the only insects I am producing continuously are the roaches, but I will try to outline the basic care and breeding for several types of feeders for those interested in trying their hand at it.

Click on the links to go to the page for each type of insect. I'll get all the pages up as I can. This page will take a while to complete.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Click on the thumbs for larger pics
Keeping and Breeding Info

 Hissing roaches make good feeders and are very prolific. In addition they can be very interesting insects to observe. One possible drawback with this species is the adult size. In my collection I have nothing that can eat a 3" long hisser, so once they reach full adult size they are just breeders and get to die naturally of old age.
roach.gif molt.gif hisser_nymph01.gifhisser_nymph02.gif hisser_nymph03.gif
Adult RoachesA hisser molting Some newborn hissing roach nymphs

Here is a series of pictures of a hisser giving birth. Unfortunately I saw her just after she had delivered her litter. I did however, get pics of her apparently excreting some type of viscous substance, which the nymphs were feeding on. The first 3 pictures show this happening.
I haven't found anything written up about this so I am not sure at this point what the substance is. The nymphs also ate the entire egg case before they dispersed.
I counted 45 nymphs in this litter, but they were piled up somewhat and I couldn't count the ones underneath. A good number at any rate.
Some pictures of a female forming her egg case.
egg_case1.gif     egg_case1.gif     egg_case1.gif

Lobster Roaches
Click on the thumbs for larger pics
The breeding of these roaches is the same as for hissers. -- Click here

Lobster roaches are an excellent feeder species.
They are smaller as adults than the hissers, only reaching about 1 1/4" total length. They are also much softer bodied than the hissers making them more digestable and easier to eat.
I have been building my colony of lobsters for a little over a year now, and they definately outproduce the hissers.
It's difficult to estimate the number of the colony, but they produce more than enough to feed 6 adult acanthurus monitors and a pair of adult Veild Chameleons even if fed nothing else.
I am fairly sure their potential lifespan is quite a bit shorter than the 2-3 years of hissers, but their potential for breeding I believe will more than make up for this.
The fact that the adults are still small enough to be feeders is an added plus in my collection.
These roaches do have wings as adults, and while they do not really fly, they can flutter (even that is rare), so a lid is recommended for their cage. They can also climb glass like the hissers, so I normally apply a band of vaseline around the top as well.
lobster01.gif - 10881 Bytes lobster02.gif - 12294 Bytes lobster03.gif - 10257 Bytes lobster04.gif - 11621 Bytes

Clay Davenport
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