Friday, March 23, 2012

MHR colony pt. 2 ~ Expansion and Turf wars

Hey ya'll 

so aside from the rather awkward documentary video, I have some new updates on my Madagascar hissing cockroach colony, namely the inclusion of additional individuals into the bunch. As of right now, the colony consists of a modest total of 13 individuals with the individual make up being 

  • 3 adult males 
  • 4 adult females 
  • 6 juveniles/nymphs
Because the males of this species can be quite territorial, you can imagine that the introduction of so many new individuals caused a little bit of a "turf war" last night as the roaches attempted to establish the hierarchy of the colony. One contender against the other, they battled it out, all vying for the largest portion of driftwood upon which he can establish his territory. Quite surprisingly it was Paolo (he was in the video with me), the "friendliest" of all my roaches, that ultimately won the fights. In fact, there were moments when he rammed into his opponents so hard the entire log began to tremble and shake (I kid you not!). I read that these battles are often accompanied by fierce hissing from both sides of the battlefield but thusfar I have not observed any such occurrence. Indeed the insects seem to perform the headbutting in relative silence and the only sounds are that made by the log as it trembles from the aftermath of their exertions.

A sort of hierarchy has been established with Paolo and Isabella as the dominant couple. Other females crowd around Isabella (who has gotten really fat and inactive and simply sits there on the log all day) and the juveniles are never too far away. One of the newly introduced males may be considered a subordinate and stays close, but on the outskirts of the colony while the other male has left entirely to lead his hermetic existence in the least occupied and frequented corner of the tank.  Small fights still break out every now and then when one of the other males stray too close, or if Paolo stumbles into one of them but they are getting less frequent. What amuses me is sometimes that Paolo gets so eager in his battles that he accidentally rams into one of the females in his harem and they all hiss their discontentment at him in unison. I'll try to get this on film someday but it is unfortunately difficult because most of these activities take place at night. 

Check out these new guys!!! 

No comments: