Allpet Roaches

(Blattodea)

This site is dedicated to all roach enthusiasts. Allpet Roaches' goals are to promote the hobby and provide information and photogaphs on all the incredible looking cockroach species available. Less than 1% of roach species are pests, 99%+ survive indoors only as pets. They require nurturing to survive but the care requirements are easier and less expensive than those of other pets.

Allpet Roaches began in 1980 with a gift of three male and three female Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches from a director of the Cleveland Aquarium. Allpet Roaches came online in 1998 and a message board (forum) for enthusiast's was added to the site in 1999. The Allpet Roaches book was pulished in 2000. The forum was moved to a different address in December 2001 and to a greatly improved format in July 2007.

G.portentosa Gyandromorph


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Malaysian zebra-stripe cockroach Dorylaea orini

Where found: Malaysia.

Adult size: 30-35mm (1 to 1 2/5in).

This beautiful new addition to the hobby is also a new addition to described species in the genus Dorylaea. It was recently described by Dr. Luis M. Roth of Harvard. D. orini sports the most striking nymphs and the adults are somewhat pretty in their own right. This species is easy to keep in culture with moderate care. Petroleum jelly can be placed on the upper edges of the cage to hamper climbing.

Zebra roach Eurycotis decipiens

Where found: Costa Rica.

Adult size: 24-32mm (1 to 1 1/4in).

For noticeable reasons this creature is called the Zebra cockroach. This striking, medium-size species is pretty both as adult and nymph. It can't fly but relies on warning coloration and defenses. The large cerci enhance the ability to escape by sensing the direction of the oncoming predator. The Zebra roach lays medium sized eggcases, slightly larger than those of Periplaneta americana. The ability to scale smooth surfaces is evident in this species but can be easily kept under control by liberal application of petroleum jelly to the top 51mm (2inches) of the sides of the rearing container.


Skunk roach Eurycotis floridana

Where found: Florida, U.S.A.

Adult size: 24-40mm (1 to 1 and 3/4 inches).

A fellow roach hobbyist who keeps them says they smell like Amaretto, and he likes the smell. He is crazy! This adult is by far the largest of the egglaying species commonly kept and the eggcases are huge too. The background color of E.floridana is a strange maroon. In nearly all culture stocks, the medium-sized nymphs have yellowish margins along the sides of the thoracic segments but the adults are always completely maroon. There is also a rare culture stock from the Keys in which the adults retain the nymphal striping. 1st instar nymphs of this species are oddly able to (slowly) walk right over Vaseline so a sealed container is necessary.


Click here for Eurycotis eggcases photo.

Ornate Velvet Cockroach Deropeltis paulinoi

Adult length: 32-38mm (1.1-1.3").

Where found: Angola, Botswana, Congo, Namibia, Zambia -Africa

Nymphs are orange with a large black central marking for the first few intstars but later change over to black with orange markings like the adult female pictured. The fully winged adult male looks like a small version of the Black Velvet roach Deropeltis erythrocephala male. It is a glass climbing species and is oviparous.


Porcelain roach Gyna lurida

Adult length: 20-35mm (3/4 to 1 and a half inches).

Where found: Kenya, Africa

Although adults of this Gyna species are often drab, there are occasional spectacular yellow adults (around one in fifty). Nymphs are always very handsomely marked in mottled black and white. Adult males are small and brown while females are twice as big and most often a delicate porcelain color. They possess incredible nervous energy but nymphs can't climb. The day active adults fly and jump like crazy and can take off from ground level.

Pink cockroach G.capucina

Patchwork cockroach G. bisannulata


Orange head roach Eublaberus posticus

Where found: South America.

The Orange head roach is a very colorful species considering it is nearly two inches long. Most roaches with much color are less than an inch. Orange head roaches have neat looking, deep maroon nymphs, which like to spend their lives buried under the substrate. E. posticus are among the more prolific of the pet roaches and with care will outgrow a large rearing container quickly. It is necessary to keep a bit of available protein on hand, such as dog food, to reduce wing biting. They are horrible wing biters. This is also the only roach I have seen that will actually eat other insects with zeal; any insect unable to get out of harms way is devoured. This species is one of the easily contained Blattodea since it is unable to climb smooth surfaces. Inability to climb glass is caused by the way the tarsi are structured. Eublaberus distanti , the Six Spotted Cockroach, has a similar body but is colored in tan and lacks the hunger for live food. The common name 'six spotted' refers to the six yellowish spots on the brown nymph.


Pacific beetle mimic Diploptera punctata

Where found: Asia and Pacific islands including Hawaii.

The Pacific beetle mimic cockroach is certainly one of a kind. This is the only species of cockroach known to reproduce by vivipary. Females of other cockroaches produce eggcases which are either left to the environment or drawn back into the body for incubation. D.punctata females, however, produce eggs internally which are quite small and are nourished much as in mammalian reproduction.


Cuban burrowing cockroach Byrsotria fumigata

Where found: Cuba, West Indies.

The Cuban burrowing cockroach is one of the more sexually dimorphic of the pet roaches. Not only do the male and female look very different, the female measures in at 40-45mm (just under two inches) and the male at only 30mm (just over an inch). Despite their designated common name, adults actually prefer to hide under bark with just the nymphs, as with many other types of roaches, burrowing. This roach is another of the wonderful species which cannot climb glass.


Dwarf Madagascar hissing cockroach Elliptorhina Chopardi

Where found: Madagascar.

Adult length: 36-42mm (+-1 1/2 inches)

The Dwarf Madagascar roach is a very neat little creature and is easy to distinguish from the following sp. by the v-shaped horn formation on the male and smaller size. The coloration is generally different from Gromphadorhina but both species have somewhat variable colors. This species does not have a defensive smell and is not very fast but does have the ability to climb glass. E.chopardi females are ovoviviparous and give birth to 20-30 tiny young.


V-horn hissing cockroach Elliptorhina laevigata

Where found: Madagascar.

Adult length: 44-70mm (1.8 to 2.8 inches)

The V-horn hisser is a rather huge species compared to other diminutive members of this genus like E.chopardi and E. javanica. V-horns do not have a defensive smell and are rather docile but they do have the ability to climb glass. They tend to be contrastingly marked but range to nearly black. Females are ovoviviparous and give birth to up to sixty babies.


Madagascan hissing cockroach Gromphadorhina portentosa

Where found: Madagascar.

The Madagascan hissing cockroach is, without a doubt, the most commonly kept cockroach in the United States and much of the world. Most pet shops have had this neat creature at one time or another. The "horns" or bumps on the male's pronotum are used in fights for breeding rights to the female. Still, it is very uncommon to see males fight unless you constantly watch your roaches. Hissers do not have a defensive smell but rely on their thickness of hide and noise-making abilities to defend themselves. G.portentosa can range from 40-78mm (1 and 3/4 to 3+inches). Females among most cultures can reach seventy millimeters although males are normally much smaller. Males found in most cultures do not measure over 50mm unless they are obese. Common small male size is partly due to inbreeding and because small males become adults more quickly and mate sooner. Adult coloration (the three males above left are from different stocks of the same species) go to G.portentosa male is variable and can be determined more by food than genetics. Roach cultures tend to shift color --over time-- depending on what their owner's feed them. Feeding only affects coloration when still nymphs; adults will never change to another color because they do not molt.


Harlequin cockroach Neostylopyga rhombifolia

Where found: Asia, Mexico, AZ (U.S.A.).

Size: 20-26mm (3/8 to 1+ inches)

The Harlequin roach is certainly among the neatest looking of the pet roaches and is a very quick moving medium sized species. Nymphs start out life as a plain tan color but slowly molt to become very incredible looking adults. Harlequin roaches easily scale smooth surfaces and like most other glass climbers can be controlled by petroleum jelly. Also, this roach is an egg laying species.


Firefly mimic Schultesia lampyridiformis

Where found: Central America and South America.

The Firefly roach, being from South America, is a somewhat convincing mimic of the firefly beetles that live there. Unfortunately this small (13-20mm) roach does not light up but is a good example of roaches that mimic beetles. S.lampyridiformis produces live birth and the newborn nymphs are large (for babies) in comparison to the adults. Only a small number --less than ten-- of babies are produced each birth. This little roach is very quick and unfortunately both young and adults are more than happy to climb smooth-sided containers such as aquariums and critter cages. The only way to guard against all escapes is to tape or hot glue microscreen to holes in an airtight container or to Velcro a screen lid onto an aquarium.


Peppered roach Archimandrita tesselata

A.tesselata is one of the more massive roaches with males being up to 70mm (not quite 3 inches) and females being much bulkier but shorter due to their more rounded shape.

* * * * * * * * Nymphs * *

Adults live a long time and do not put out defensive smells like many roaches. A.tesselata is becoming a more commonly kept species. Females have 20-30 babies at a time and keep their eggcases inside their bodies until hatching. Nymphs are slow growing and can take nine months or more to become adults. Adults do not fly well and neither adults nor nymphs are capable of climbing up glass which makes them easy to keep inside their home.


Green Banana roach Panchlora nivea

Where found: Cuba, Fl and TX: US, Mexico

The Green banana roach is a very beautiful roach, unfortunately even a large female barely hits 24mm (just under an inch)and the males are even smaller at 12-15mm (half an inch). This is another ovoviparous species and out of the bright green adults are born tiny brown nymphs. The nymphs are burrowers and do not climb, on the other hand, the adults love to climb. If there is a crack, they will find it. Also, when you open the container, watch out! The Green banana roaches are great little flyers. Due to its lack of weight P.nivea is less easily controlled by petroleum jelly barriers than other Blattodea.


Rhinoceros cockroach Macropanesthia rhinoceros

go to M.rhinoceros tibia. Where found: Australia

Adult size: 60-80mm (2 and 2/5 to 3 and 1/5 inches)

Despite the fact that the Rhinoceros roach does not have wings, this monster is still nearly as long as B.giganteus or Megaloblatta longipennis. Among the heaviest of all roaches M.rhinoceros has a meager diet and feeds upon dead Eucalyptus leaves in nature. It will eat dog food and fruits in captivity. These roaches are excellent diggers and have front tibia shaped like spiny shovels- similar to mole crickets. Nymphs can take five years to reach adulthood. The Rhinoceros roach is one of the very few insects that routinely lives over ten years. M.rhinoceros is uncommonly kept outside of Australia but there is hope; a number of captive reared nymphs have been legally imported into Europe and Japan. The photo on the left was taken by Christina Faull of her pet "Phoebe". The photo showing off the front legs, on right, by R.Dryer.


Southern wood roach Parcoblatta divisa

Where found: Pennsylvania to Louisiana, USA

Adult size: 14-22mm (5/8 to 7/8 inches)

The Southern wood roach is very similar to the Pennsylvania wood roach but is smaller and with less distinct coloration. Also, the first two segments (under the wings) of the male do not have overhanging ridges like males of P.pennsylvanica. Male Southern wood roaches often fly long distances before landing, contrary to the hop flying of most winged roaches. Females have reduced wings.


Broad wood roach Parcoblatta lata

Where found: Northeastern US

Adult size: 14-19mm (3/5 to 4/5 inch)

The Broad wood cockroach will feed on wood and dead leaves but enjoys dry dog food much more. Males are excellent flyers. Care is very similar to P.pennsylvanica and the adult lifespan is also short. Adults climb glass well and so must be kept in bounds by a Vaseline barrier.


Pennsylvania wood roach Parcoblatta pennsylvanica

Where found: Eastern North America

Adult size: 18-28mm (3/4 to 1 1/8 inches)

The Pennnsylvania Wood Roach feeds on wood but enjoys dry dog food much more. This is the largest of the Parcoblatta species. The fully winged males often fly to lights at night in their native range. Females lay long thin eggcases every 10-14 days. Adults climb glass well and so must be kept in bounds by a Vaseline barrier.


Banded wood roach Parcoblatta zebra

Where found: Central to Southeastern US.

Adult size: 18-26mm (5/8 to 1+ inches)

The Banded wood cockroach is nearly as big as P.pennsylvanica and may even be prettier. Adults live a short time. As with the other Parcoblatta, Banded wood cockroaches produce quite large oothecae in comparison to their body size. Eggcases are left in suitable places for hatching such as under the bark of old logs.


Madeira roach Rhypharobia maderae

(previously Leucophaea maderae) Where found: Central Africa, Eastern US, South America

Adult length: 35-48mm (1.5 to nearly 2 inches).

The Madeira cockroach is commonly found among ground litter and dead leaves. The wing design allows it to blend in well. For fans of defensive mechanisms, this is the coolest! When picked up it squeaks and at the same time emits a horrible defensive smell while stabbing with the legs and flicking excrement with the rear feet. The Madeira is one of the most advanced caregivers of all roaches with the females looking after nymphs nearly to adulthood! Nymphs can climb glass but adults don't seem to retain that ability.


Giant lobster roach Henschoutedenia flexivitta

Where found:

Adult length: 32-38mm (around 1 and 1/2 inches).

Despite it's common/trade name, H. flexivitta is closely related to the Madeira cockroach (above) rather than the Lobster roach, N. cinerea. Adults do somewhat resemble a rather large Lobster roach, although nymphs are banded and look different. This species can climb glass but prefers to stay on cage decorations like wood and egg carton. Females are live bearing.


Giant cave roach Blaberus giganteus

Where found: Central and South America.

Blaberus giganteus is almost certainly the longest of the roaches that can be found in the worldwide roach hobby. A large female can be up to 90mm (not quite 4 inches) and the wingspan of these critters is usually 5-6 inches! Males and newly emerged females are able to fly but older females get far too heavy. Males can be very aggressive; if only a few males are kept together they will fight and rip each others legs off and even kill one another. A number of males kept together usually prevents too much damage to any one individual.


Death's Head Cockroach Blaberus craniifer

If your cockroach does
not look exactly
like this photo,
it is NOT a
Death's Head Cockroach.

Where found: S.Florida,U.S., Mexico, and Central America.

Adult length: 40-58.

This roach is the "real" death's head cockroach. The obvious reason for this name is the strange skull/vampire face markings on the pronotum. B.craniifer is the only species of Blaberus (there are a minimum of fourteen species) which has a very different color pattern from the rest of it's genus; even the nymphs are much darker. Adults like to jump/fly off your hands when held but are not too fast to be caught afterwards. Like the other Blaberus, the Death's head roach is ovoviviparous and cannot climb glass.


Discoid roach Blaberus discoidales

Where found: Mexico, South and Central America.

Adult length: 35-45mm.

For some incredibly strange reason this species has been called Blaberus craniifer, the Death's head roach for 20 or more years. Somebody must have misidentified this species and it has been traded around as the deaths head ever since. The fact that there is no "death's head" marking on this species should be an obvious hint. It's also been sold as B. giganteus despite looking different and being much, much smaller. This is a prolific species which is easy to get a hold of and is an excellent food animal. Many people raise these to feed reptiles and arachnids. As with other Blaberus species, the Discoid roach is ovoviviparous and unable to climb glass.


Click here for Blaberus sp. size comparison.

Guyana spotted roach Blaptica dubia

Where found: French Guyana, Brazil, South America.

Adult length: 40-50mm.

This species is becoming commonly kept in the hobby and makes a great addition to any roach collection. The females have very short wingcases and are spotted in red-brown, black, and buff. Females can be quite colorful. The adults and nymphs enjoy the usual roach fare (ie. dogfood, vegetables, fruit) and are very active. Fortunately this species is unable to climb glass in either the adult or nymph stages.


Lobster roach Nauphoeta cinerea

Where found: Caribbean.

The Lobster cockroach is commonly kept in the U.S. but usually just as a food source for arachnids and lizards due to their ease of rearing and palatability. The body of this roach is soft enough for almost all predators, there is a high meat to shell ratio, they do not seem to be able to hide as well as many other roaches, and finally, they do not have the impressive defensive smell of many roaches. N.cinerea adults are supposed to feed on Green banana roaches in the wild but I have not tested this theory. Although able to climb glass this species is easily contained by using a greasy substance such as petroleum jelly around the top edge of the container. The above method only works with minimal success with some of the other glass climbers.


Formosan Sand Roach Unidentified polyphagid

Where found: Taiwan

Adult length: 18-24.

The Formosan Sand roach is a great little species with ligh tan to white, winged males and wingless females. It resembles Arenivaga sp. but is much, much faster growing and nearly double the weight (of species currently kept) and females aren't as long-lived. Males are just as short-lived. Oothecae are buried in the substrate. Does not climb glass.


African bullet roach (Unidentified! Bantua robusta is a live bearing roach from the Blaberidae)

Where found: Africa.

Adult length: 15-20mm

These interesting medium size roaches are a recent arrival to the hobby. When grabbed they exude a nearly invisible, sticky, odorless substance. They reproduce very well. Eggcases are nearly the same size and shape as Periplaneta although African Bullet adults are a bit smaller. Glass climbers


American cockroach Periplaneta americana "White-eye" form

Where found: Nowhere in nature.

Adult length: 20-30mm.

This interesting strain of the common American cockroach has white eyes throughout its life; other roaches have black eyes even during molting. This mutation has been in culture more than sixty years. It is hard to say if this strain is blind or not because American roaches use many sensory hairs, antennae, and cerci, so well that eyes are not necessary. This strain is about 25% smaller than the normal form and does not breed quite as well. Of course it is an excellent glass climber and lays many oothecae.


Domino cockroach Therea petiveriana

Where found: India.

Adult length: 22-26mm.

This magnificent looking cockroach mimics a warningly colored tortoise beetle. It is a somewhat slow growing species and the nymphs are substrate dwelling like other Polyphagids. Eggcases are buried and can take up to five months to hatch. Nymphs cannot climb glass but adults, especially males, are capable. The specimen depicted is male, females have less prominent antennae.


Pale-bordered Field cockroach Pseudomops septentrionalis

Where found: Louisiana, Texas, Mexico.

Adult length: 9-15mm.

This distinctive species makes up for its small size with strongly unique coloration. The antennae are black with a light orange band before the end. The eggcases average two-dozen plus nymphs. P.septentrionalis climb glass well and are quite energetic but usually stay on the decorations.


Egyptian Desert Roach Polyphaga aegyptiaca

Where found: Egypt

Adult length: 24-33mm

P. aegyptiaca females have elongate rear legs so they never get stuck on their backs and shovel shaped forelegs for digging. Other Polyphaga sp. cultures contain only females (Parthenogenic) but this species is usually available as bisexual stock. The male is leathery black with full wings and a white margin on the pronotum and a white 'u' on the wings.


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Hissing Madagascars and frenzied B.giganteus