Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

OK, I know this will gross some of you out, so you might not want to read this!

We went to the Insect Zoo at our museum with some friends today. We were amazed to see a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach giving birth to LIVE baby cockroaches - NOT eggs! Then, we watched in amazement (and were kind of grossed out & saddened) as a male cockroach ate one baby. Then, he tried to eat another... but it got away half eaten! Their legs are all towards the front, so the back-half of its body was gone, but it had all of its legs. We lost track of this poor baby, who I'm sure didn't survive long, and where unable to find it later.

We watched for about 10 minutes and the mother gave birth to about 30-40 nymphs. When we came back about 30 minutes later, we only saw about 15. I guess the male ate some more, but was surprised to read on a website that the cockroaches will NOT eat the nymphs - well, I guess that site is wrong.

I read that these cockroaches are oviviviparous. That means the eggs hatch INSIDE the female, where she carries them around safely for about 60 days.

In the photo, the female giving birth is at the top, center. She is very dark & hard to see. The little white things are the nymphs (babies). I believe the smaller dark cockroaches are other babies that have already molted and gotten darker.

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