Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Christmas Zombie Roaches! (Pt. 1)

Hey guys, I hope everyone had a great holiday season, mine got off to bit of a rocky start, but it looks like my luck is changing for the better! Here's the whole story about my new "zombie roaches"! 😛

My mom decided to surprise me this Christmas and ordered 4 small Simandoa conserfariam nymphs from Peter Clausen at Bugsincyberspace! Peter ended up sending 8, including a couple larger nymphs from his personal collection, which was very generous of him! 😃 Unfortunately though, the roaches arrived completely motionless, presumably dead, so my mom called me in to check on them and confirm they were actually dead. At first I thought they may just need to warm up a little bit, but after keeping them warm for a couple hours, none of them showed signs of reviving. So it seemed they were really dead, end of story, I left their deli cup in my bug closet for the night though, just in case.

This morning I took a look into their enclosure and found that some of them weren't in the same places they were the day before, a closer examination showed that some of the nymphs were twitching erratically, slowly moving themselves around the deli cup. They didn't seem to have any real control of their limbs or antennae though, and were acting exactly like decapitated roaches do, so I thought they were still dead, and that their secondary nervous system must have kicked in at the last minute. Still, just to be safe, I moved them to a deli cup with actual substrate in it, and placed it next to my heat cable, and left them alone.

Today, one of the largest nymphs, (a male), can run around the deli cup at a decent speed, and the other large nymph, (a female, which looked like she was about to molt), is twitching a lot. Two smaller nymphs are also moving around somewhat erratically in a sluggish manner, the other four small nymphs weren't moving at all though.

Active male nymph

Female nymph in pre-molt

Now the active large nymph can run, clean it's antennae, and even climb smooth surfaces! I moved it to a more permanent enclosure with food, and placed the two small active nymphs in with it, as they also seemed rather lively. The large nymph in premolt looks like it's about to burst out of it's skin, but I'm starting to doubt it has the energy to molt properly. The other four nymphs still aren't moving, and I threw one out as it had started to reek of death.

Christmas eve, and not much has changed, the large active nymph won't eat yet, and the large individual in premolt doesn't seem like it's going to break out of it's skin, I highly doubt it will survive. 😞 The two small nymphs are becoming more and more active, but the other three are still completely motionless.

Christmas day, nothing has changed with the two large nymphs, the two lively small nymphs are becoming even more active, and look pretty healthy. None are eating though... I threw out two of the small motionless nymphs, as they started reeking of death, however the third is starting to twitch now.

The large nymph in premolt keeps rolling onto it's back, and the small twitching nymph is becoming slightly more active. The two lively small nymphs have started climbing the walls of their enclosure like their larger cage-mate, none of them are eating though, I've added some apple pieces in an attempt to get them to feed, it's supposed to be one of their favorites.

No changes.

The small, sluggish nymph has started climbing the deli cup walls, though it still appears sluggish, I decide to put it in with the other more "lively" nymphs, which still aren't eating BTW... That large nymph in premolt still hasn't molted yet.

Not much has changed for most of the nymphs, but the large individual that's in pre-molt has stopped twitching and moving about.

Well, the large individual in pre-molt is dead, and is starting to smell horrible, so I threw her out. Additionally, one of my small active nymphs became very sluggish, then immobile, then was half-eaten and killed by one of it's brethren, none of which are eating any of the conventional food I have in their enclosure BTW! So that sucks...

New Year's Eve, no big changes. I put some cat food in there, and it looks like they took a few bites of it, but my large nymph is still really skinny, and the really small, kind of sluggish nymph certainly can't eat anything, (and is staying near the top of the cage, I think it may try to molt soon), so the only one that could have eaten it is probably the small active nymph. I'm still not getting my hopes up, since it seems like they are slowly dropping like flies...

No big changes, they do seem to really like the cat food though...

My large nymph is finally gaining some weight, so it's definitely been eating! The small active nymph also seems pretty plump and active, the tiny one in pre-molt is still hanging around the top of the enclosure.

So far so good, no big changes, the large male nymph is picking up more weight, the small active nymph seems to be doing great, and the tiny nymph in pre-molt still hasn't made any progress.

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, as it's getting really long, will be sure to keep you all updated on their status! 😉 Will probably put out a part two to this post sometime next week!


  1. Aww man, I thought you were going to say that you found the ones that you had thrown away sitting at the foot of your bed at night, just staring at you.......menacingly!!!

    But anyway, I hope your remaining individusls get better, afterall, we can't just have extinct in the wild roaches dropping like flies !

    1. Haha that would definitely have made for a more interesting post LOL! 😁

      Thanks, I hope so too! I'm pretty sure at least two of them will make it, but we'll just have to see...

    2. Any progress so far? :)

      BTW you have the roaches labeled here as "Simandoa conserfarium", but that u should be turned into an a in the species name. ;)

    3. No big changes so far, the two active nymphs seem really healthy now, and are eating regularly! :) Also, the tiny nymph that looks like it's in pre-molt was eating some cat food last night, so maybe it's not really in pre-molt right now...

      And OMG thanks for pointing that out, I really hate misspelling Latin names! Think I've fixed it now. :)

  2. I can vouch, they really like dry cat food! Sorry to hear some didn't make it.

    1. They are finally starting to eat apple too, looks like they are really building up an appetite now! :)

      Thanks, all things considered though, this is still a pretty good outcome, I thought for sure they were all goners! Who knows though, they still might be, the true test will be whether they can molt or not, when they are ready to. We'll see...

  3. Severely moribund insects usually refuse all food and are hopeless cases much of the time. If the invert is willing to feed, it usually recovers and has not reached the “walking dead” zone yet.

    1. Indeed, which is why I am starting to have high hopes for the remaining three nymphs, all of which have eaten. :)