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The Dubia cockroach (Blaptica dubia), also known as orange-spotted cockroach or Guyana spotted cockroach, is a medium/large species of cockroach, measuring about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) long. They are sexually dimorphic; the males have wings while the females have only tiny wing stubs. Adults are dark brown to black with somewhat lighter orange spot/stripe patterning sometimes visible only in bright light. Coloration does differ slight with environment and diet from one colonly to another. It is commonly said that although the males have wings, they do not fly. However, this is not precisely accurate, they can carry a level flight in the air when conditions are favorable. Male Dubia roaches are not strong fliers and it seems to be a means of removing the males from a colony when food sources are scarce. When provided a high launching site the males can maintain altitude and fly some distance. Keepers can prevent males from escaping by ensuring that their containers lip is 2-3 inches above and 8" away from the highest point from where a male can launch itself into the air. Males will not attempt to leave in this manner as long as food and environment is favorable; when it is not they will become highly agitated in the early evening, rousing other males to also take flight. Neither adults nor juveniles climb smooth surfaces, though juveniles have been known to climb the soft silicon seals in terraria. Dubias are prolific, giving live birth to 20 to 40 nymphs per month under the most favorable conditions.
Food and environment
Ideal temperature range is the higher end of a 75–95 °F (24–35 °C) range. They will not breed below 68 °F (20 °C). They will not moult successfully if the humidity is too low. Dubia roaches can tolerate lower humidity than many other roach species. The enclosure humidity is less important than a supply of high moisture foods, negating the need to mist the enclosure at all when compared to some other tropical pet insect species. This species of roach will also sequester more water in its body when well fed upon fruits and water will be released at times of stress. Habitats should be kept clean and dry in order to have fecal droppings dry and not provide a medium for bacterial or fungal growth. Vertically stacked egg crates greatly help in this, as does good airflow.
The Dubia cockroach is a frugivore that prefers fruits and grains, shunning such high protein sources as meat or waste droppings from other animals. They particularly like semisweet vegetable matter. Appropriate feed for raising Dubia roaches includes: carrots, all manner of tropical fruits (mangos and papayas), apples, avocados, banana, cherries, pears, oranges, strawberries, fresh corn, and lettuce (not iceberg or romaine)—many other leafy greens will be accepted. All grain-based dry cat/dog food, fish food, crested gecko meal and bearded dragon food can also be used to supplement their diet. They will also eat wheat bran and germ-based food products like assorted breads and even softened pasta although such diets must be augmented with edible vegetation and fruit of some sort to provide sufficient water.
High starch tubers like potatoes and yams are eaten only with disdain and seemingly only for their water content.
- Mating occurs when the male deposits a sperm packet in the female. This sperm packet inhibits the female from further mating.
- Females then lay an egg sack, they then pull this sack back into themselves to incubate ovovivoparitally.
- Gestation is about one month (28 days).
- The babies hatch inside the female. Between 20 and 40 live young, each about 2 mm long, are produced in each clutch.
- Babies mature in about 4–6 months depending on temperature and food supply.
- Adults live 1–2 years.
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Many animal breeders, especially reptile breeders, raise colonies of Dubia cockroaches as food sources. They are commonly considered more nutritious (higher meat to shell ratio) than other insect food sources. They are typically kept in large ventilated plastic totes with egg crate stacked vertically for added living space, or toilet paper rolls. Mold is a deadly hazard to Dubia colonies and moisture is controlled by removing uneaten fresh fruits and vegetables within 24–48 hours of original placement. Nymphs typically use chaff or waste as a housing and food source and many breeders leave a thin layer as a substrate while cleaning off excess every couple of months. It should be noted that many people report allergic reactions after exposure to cockroach waste and so masks and/or respirators are typically used during the cleaning process. Dubia roaches are also popular with breeders in temperate climates as the roaches require warm temperatures to breed. Typically over 75 degrees F and gradient temps of 95-70 F are preferred within their enclosures. Due to the temperature requirements, the likelihood of reproduction outside the colony by escapees is minimized. Dubia are large and fairly slow, they can be quite docile when picked up. Males can be territorial however and too many males in a colony often results in fighting, minimized breeding, and death. Females respond to stress by dropping the egg sacks they are carrying. For this reason most breeders try to keep the colony at a 1 to 4 ratio of males to females and also keep the tubs in a quiet dark environment. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that citrus fruit such as oranges encourages more breeding among colonies.
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