Saturday, November 29, 2008

Camera Critters: Hissing Roach

Last week I got to watch one of my hissing roaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa) molt.
Here it's looking almost normal, but I noticed that it was wriggling and preparing to come out of its skin
Photobucket

the head is already out of the old exoskeleton
Photobucket

now it's pulling the feelers out of their old skin and it's wriggling further out of its exoskeleton, which ruptured on the back
Photobucket

the roach then lost its hold on the glass and fell and I took it out of the terrarium to watch the rest of the molt
Photobucket

almost done
Photobucket

the roach and the shed exo (sorry dark picture, click it to see a bigger version). The molted roach is almost a third bigger now. It's an adult male now and won't grow any further. Only the males have those "horns" on their head and use them to fight with each other for territory, a bit like bighorn sheep, butting their heads. Some males will also push other males from behind until they have thrown their rival from his perch.
Photobucket

After a few hours, the roach will look much darker, the exoskeleton is only white while it's still soft. Here's a roach about one hour after the molt
Photobucket

and here's one that is completely hardened - Gil, my first hissing roach.
Photobucket

Want to see more animals? Then go and check the Camera Critters meme

28 comments:

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi! Though I am not a big roach fan, this was very interesting. I was going to ask why they molt, but I figured it is because they out grow their previous shell. I also had no idea that they were that big. Thank you. Lisa

i beati said...

do you hiss back ??ha sandy

me ann my camera said...

A very amazing transformation and photo capture of the entire process! Great pictures.

Lapa37 said...

Very interesting to see that transformation.Thanks for the info and sharing it.

NoBS said...

Well, there's something you don't see everyday!

Misty Dawn said...

WOW! What an amazing post! You captured the whole series of events wonderfully.

splummer said...

Hi!
That's a really big Roach!! Do they really hiss? Take Care!!

Sherrie

Jedediah said...

Yes, they hiss and quite loud. They do it when you touch them (although some are more "tame" than others) and sometimes when they fight. It can be starlting when you reach into the tank and they hiss at you, if I were a small animal looking for a meal, I wouldn't investigate further.

All insects and other invertebrates like spiders, scorpions or crustaceans need to molt to grow, their skin doesn't grow with them.

Ms. Hays said...

Ok, I don't know what to say about this one! It looks like, well, I don't know what! hehehe I'm scared of them!

Kelly said...

What an interesting post! I'm not a big roach fan either, but this is really a great series of photos!

Cathy said...

Interesting series of photos!

ratmammy said...

oh yuck!!!! great series of photos though...........

david mcmahon said...

What an unusual series of pictures.

Darla said...

Okay that is so gross!

Doug Taron said...

Nice treatment of roach molting. We have a colony of hissers at work. Thanks for stopping by my site.

Faye Pekas said...

Absolutely fascinating. Never thought of having a roach for a pet before :)

Ladynred said...

What an interesting series of photos! Very educational too!

Dar's Foto Faze said...

That is fantastic. Even thought I am not really crazy about roaches.

lv2scpbk said...

That thing is big, I wouldn't want to touch it.

babooshka said...

Fantastic storyboard of images of the roach evolving.

jenn said...

I am totally creeped out! lol! I hate bugs...but, that was a really cool thing to see. I had no idea they did that.

Lilli & Nevada said...

You really creeped me out with this roach, as i find them to be disgusting, But i must say it was quite interesting how you showed photos of his transformation

Mama Zen said...

Wow!

June said...

Now this is WAY beyond creepy! I never knew they molted, and frankly hope I never see one doing it :-o

Julie said...

Wow, I never knew all of that. Very interesting and cool shots

Cecelia---Sis---Mom said...

What awesome photos, very interesting. My boys LOVED them. I am not much of a roach fan, they terrify me. LOL

Cece

Dina said...

I was doing pretty well through all the fascinating stages of metamorphosis--until I got to the last photo. Oi oi oi!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Eeeewwww! Gross! LOL! And I just had to keep looking and then you showed it in your hand! Eeewww! That's one big bug. I think I'd pass out if I ever saw one.
:-D You did wash your hand before you ate, right? :-D