The true death's head cockroach, Blaberus craniifer, is a cockroach which is very similar to the discoid cockroach and is a nice display animal for entomologists due to its striking appearance. Care for these animals is quite minimal and there is little odour associated with them. They do give off a mild odour if significantly frightened, but the effect is generally brief. The name death's head comes from the markings on the top of the thorax. Adult B. craniifer have wings but do not fly, while juveniles do not have wings at all. This species also cannot climb smooth vertical surfaces, such as glass, which makes them easy to house in an open aquarium or similar.
§Hybrid death's head cockroach (B. craniifer X B. fusca)
The hybrid death's head cockroach, sometimes called the brown wing death's head, has become much more common than the true death's head for uses such as feeding tarantulas and lizards. They breed significantly faster than the true death's heads and typically get larger, sometimes over 7.5 cm (3.0 in). As juveniles they are very hard to distinguish from the true death's head. While better feeders, they are not true Death Heads and should not be sold as such, to risk further diluting the species in captive breeding. Such care should be taken with all Hybrids of the Blaberus Genus as their similarity is already cause for misidentification.