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The Case of the Disappearing Males (dubia)

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  • The Case of the Disappearing Males (dubia)

    I hadn’t fed from my dubia colony in months, and when I took a good look over a month ago it was loaded with females and young. I could only find three males, one of which had one normal wing and one short curled one. I tried to catch him to feed him to my beardie, but he did a really good job of hiding and I had to give up.

    I talked to someone about this and he said he’d never heard of that happening, but wanted to trade me some of my females for some males. I traded him 5 for 5, and figured this was a good thing, since my colony is about 2 years old and probably could use some new blood. He thought that if I had somehow gotten a group that produces mostly females he’d like some of my bloodlines, too.

    They’re in a 30x13x19 aquarium with the sides blacked out with construction paper on the outside and plenty of egg crates in the inside. Today when I looked there were 4 males, and one of them was Mr. Curly Wing. I caught him and he became a beardie snack, since if he does have a hereditary deformity, I don’t want him to pass it along. One of the other males was super thin. The females and babies all look healthy and active, and the tank is loaded with girls and babies.

    I feed a combination of Repashy Bug Burger, carrots, and organic apples.

    So what’s the deal with the boys? Surely some of the babies should be growing into adult males, and what happened to the other 3? None of them have escaped. Has anyone else had this happen?
    Boston Terrier 1.0, Stetson R.I.P. 8/15/2015.
    Rough Collie (rescued) 1.0, Teddy
    Crested Geckos 9.11.12
    Pine Isle Chahoua 1.0.1 Hunter, Cami
    Leopard Geckos 1.2 Confetti, Snowdrop, & Beauty
    Bearded Dragon 1.0 Jayden

  • #2
    Maybe the skewed female ratio happened by chance, and the remaining males were so overwhelmed by potential mates they starved themselves in order to mate with as many as possible?

    Otherwise, maybe there is a temperature that you are keeping them at that could be creating that sex ratio? I have no idea if they are TSD (temperature sex determinant). I also don't know if they can change sex depending on social structures of the colony as with some fish.

    What kind of top are you using? If you have an open top, the males can sort of fly - some people have reported males flying out of their bins before. You may not be seeing the escapees if they meet a tragic fate with other pets, insecticide or cold temps.

    Good luck on solving the mystery!
    Specializing in Crested Geckos
    Working with Uromastyx | Uroplatus | PI Chahoua
    Also keeping: Australian Shepherds (Chester & Sadie)
    Moon Valley Reptiles | MVR @iherp | Facebook

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    • #3
      I had actually heard of this happening with someone else who was offering mainly Bug Burger. They bought males twice from me before giving up on the BB and their colony bounced back. I am not sure if it was just chance, and I believe it was when BB had first been created and the protein balance may have been off, but you might want to offer a different diet for a while to see if it helps.
      JBsCresties.com & Facebook & Instagram, oh my

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      • #4
        There's a mesh cover on the tank and it fits pretty well, so I don't think they could get out.

        Most of what I feed them is Bug Burger. The expiration date on the bag is 9/2014, so it's not that old. Now that you mention it, several months back I started offering them mostly Bug Burger with an occasional bit of carrot or apple. Before that it was mostly veggies, leftover CGD, and apples, with an occasional feeding of Bug Burger, but then I decided to start using up the bag to get rid of it. I have another large unopened bag to use when this one's gone. Maybe the mealworms will like it? (Before somebody fusses at me, the mealworms are a favorite of my leopard geckos. They're not for the cresties.) The dog always begs for some Bug Burger when I make it, but he's not getting any!

        That's disappointing, I thought Bug Burger was so well tested that it would be a complete and problem free diet. I'll stop feeding it for a while and see what happens. Thanks!
        Boston Terrier 1.0, Stetson R.I.P. 8/15/2015.
        Rough Collie (rescued) 1.0, Teddy
        Crested Geckos 9.11.12
        Pine Isle Chahoua 1.0.1 Hunter, Cami
        Leopard Geckos 1.2 Confetti, Snowdrop, & Beauty
        Bearded Dragon 1.0 Jayden

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        • #5
          Dangit! I was creeped out by my dubia colony before but now I'm kinda sorta extra horrified to read that the males might be able to fly...
          Come say hi on the Shaky Tail Exotics FB fan page and don't miss out on our fun Instagram account!
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          • #6
            they have wings but they can't really fly. they'll "flutter down" from a high point, but they can't fly up.
            1.0.0 Correlophus ciliatus "MacGruber"
            1.0.0 Pogona vitticeps "J.J."
            0.0.1 Tiliqua gigas evanescens 'Irian Jaya' "Jub-Jub"

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            • #7
              I have been feeding bug burger and vegetable scraps/squeezed citrus. I have also noticed fewer males, but my colony seems to be doing fine for now.

              When I first started my colony I got a text from my SO while we were both at work. It said: 'There's a roach in my shoe.' I thought that he was going to be really upset with me but he was fine with it. We figure that an adult male escaped captivity and then one of our cats found it, played with it, put it in the shoe and then got bored and left it there. Result--Live dubia roach traveling 30 miles from NY to VT in a shoe... And then being flushed down the toilet....
              2.0.0 Cats (rescued: domestic med hair, and ragdoll--Podraig, Otemma)
              0.2.0 Rhacodactylus leachianus henkeli (High white Pine Island and Pine Island (x Bayonnaise) )
              1.0.0 Rhacodactylus leachianus leachianus (GTA x Mt Khogis)
              0.2.0 Correlophus ciliatus (yellow flame, halloween harley, Eggs, Bacon)
              1.1.0 Mniarogecko chahoua (Pine Island)

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              • #8
                I just put 10 healthy looking new males into the tank. There are plenty of females in there for all of them. Now maybe with the change of diet things will get better. (fingers crossed.)

                The idea of an escaped dubia doesn't really bother me too much, it's the crickets I worry about. I had a cricket jailbreak not too long ago and ended up catching and pitching the noisy little buggers out the door between 2 and 3 in the morning.
                Boston Terrier 1.0, Stetson R.I.P. 8/15/2015.
                Rough Collie (rescued) 1.0, Teddy
                Crested Geckos 9.11.12
                Pine Isle Chahoua 1.0.1 Hunter, Cami
                Leopard Geckos 1.2 Confetti, Snowdrop, & Beauty
                Bearded Dragon 1.0 Jayden

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                • #9
                  Update--I just checked, and all the males are there except for one. Since they all appear to be healthy, the odds are that the skinny one that looked like walking death did not make it. At any rate, it's been nearly two weeks since I took the Bug Burger out and they're doing fine. This begs the question of what might be in the food that may have caused problems for males and either lesser problems that weren't noted, or no problems, for the females and young ones.
                  Boston Terrier 1.0, Stetson R.I.P. 8/15/2015.
                  Rough Collie (rescued) 1.0, Teddy
                  Crested Geckos 9.11.12
                  Pine Isle Chahoua 1.0.1 Hunter, Cami
                  Leopard Geckos 1.2 Confetti, Snowdrop, & Beauty
                  Bearded Dragon 1.0 Jayden

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                  • #10
                    If it's excess protein, which was suspected as being the culprit before, it's possible the protein is being better utilized by growing nymphs and breeding females. Bug Burger is in wet form, so they probably plow through it really fast. Dry chow is less preferred than wet foods so they may just have been eating themselves to death because they don't normally have such protein-rich food as part of their natural diet.

                    Thanks for the update!
                    Specializing in Crested Geckos
                    Working with Uromastyx | Uroplatus | PI Chahoua
                    Also keeping: Australian Shepherds (Chester & Sadie)
                    Moon Valley Reptiles | MVR @iherp | Facebook

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                    • #11
                      I spotted several young males this morning! Yay!!!
                      Boston Terrier 1.0, Stetson R.I.P. 8/15/2015.
                      Rough Collie (rescued) 1.0, Teddy
                      Crested Geckos 9.11.12
                      Pine Isle Chahoua 1.0.1 Hunter, Cami
                      Leopard Geckos 1.2 Confetti, Snowdrop, & Beauty
                      Bearded Dragon 1.0 Jayden

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have been feeding mulberry and or a mix I made. Made of turtle food calcium fish food and chicken feed. My only problem is temp. I have an issue on the heat pad. I am afraid to leave it on under the tub. I have a few babies would like it to grow more. Any suggestions on how? It seems like it is going real slow. I have so many adult females but my last male died the other day. Also do juvenile males bread or just adult males. This is all new to me.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jcuevas View Post
                          I have been feeding mulberry and or a mix I made. Made of turtle food calcium fish food and chicken feed. My only problem is temp. I have an issue on the heat pad. I am afraid to leave it on under the tub. I have a few babies would like it to grow more. Any suggestions on how? It seems like it is going real slow. I have so many adult females but my last male died the other day. Also do juvenile males bread or just adult males. This is all new to me.
                          Hmmm... I can understand your hesitance to leave a heating pad on 24/7 underneath their bin but they will not breed without it.

                          I purchased one meant for humans, Sunbeam XpressHeat Heating Pad, and have not had any issues with it.

                          Adding oranges to their diet will also boost reproduction.

                          It does seem to go quite slow they reach maturity at around 4 to 6 months depending on their diet and temperature.

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                          • #14
                            I give them orange water crystals I have tried the orange and it went moldy. I heard potatoes as well and they go bad over night. I am have such a hard time ty for the advice. I will be putting a heating pad that I have under them. I will feel better because they do shut off after being on for so long. So they will get some heat threw out the day. ty

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                            • #15
                              I use orange or more often lemon and lime--usually pre-squeezed for cooking and then just tossed in with them. If they are really active they will eat it down before it has a chance to mold. The important thing with the fresher food is to remove it after no longer than a day or two. I'm not always very good with this and I'll get mold on my egg cartons and have to switch out a bunch of flats.

                              On heating mats--I use seedling heat mats, they come in all different sizes and are not hot enough to harm any roaches at the bottom of my tub. When I put that under them and give them citrus and regular food I really notice an increase in reproduction. The main problem with my colony is that I'm not feeding off enough of it! haha, my chewy's and cresties like the smaller guys, I even give the tiny dubia to my agricolae (who can eat like 10 in a sitting what a beast), but my leachies are just usually not interested, so I have no way to get rid of my excess males..

                              If anyone near Albany needs males, let me know, I'd have to count how many I have, but I know its more than I need.
                              2.0.0 Cats (rescued: domestic med hair, and ragdoll--Podraig, Otemma)
                              0.2.0 Rhacodactylus leachianus henkeli (High white Pine Island and Pine Island (x Bayonnaise) )
                              1.0.0 Rhacodactylus leachianus leachianus (GTA x Mt Khogis)
                              0.2.0 Correlophus ciliatus (yellow flame, halloween harley, Eggs, Bacon)
                              1.1.0 Mniarogecko chahoua (Pine Island)

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