Blaptica dubia, the Dubia roach, also known as the orange-spotted roach,[2] Guyana spotted roach,[3] or Argentinian wood roach,[4][5] is a medium-sized species of cockroach which grows to around 4.0–4.5 cm (1.6–1.8 in).[6][7] They are sexually dimorphic; adult males have full wings covering their body, while females have only tiny wing stubs, their tegmina (forewings) being around a fourth of their body length.[6][8]

Adults are dark brown to black with somewhat lighter orange spot/stripe patterning sometimes visible only in bright light. Coloration does differ slightly with environment and diet from one colony to another.

Blaptica dubia are ovoviviparous, giving birth to live young,[9] and can give birth to 20 to 40 nymphs per month under favorable conditions.

The Dubia cockroach is found in Central and South America, beginning in Costa Rica. It is common from French Guyana and Brazil to Argentina.

Documented specimens have been found in Brazil,[10] Argentina,[6] and Uruguay.[6]


While rarely known to fly, adult males have fully developed wings, and pigmented musculature typical of cockroaches able to meet the rapid energy requirements of sustained flight.[8][9] In laboratory test launches from a ramp 2.5 m high, adult male B. dubia were able to right their dorso-ventral position and rapidly deploy their wings to control and direct their descent; however, active powered flight did not maintain or increase their altitude.[8] Adult females have only rudimentary forewings and lack the muscles required for flight, and showed no flight control in test launches.[8]


Because they lack developed arolium between their claws, neither adults nor juveniles can climb smooth, vertical surfaces,[9] though juveniles have been known to climb silicone surfaces, and the plastic sides of containers.


Ideal temperature range is the higher end of a 75–95 °F (24–35 °C) range. They will not breed below 68 °F (20 °C). They will not molt successfully if the humidity is too low. Dubia roaches can tolerate lower humidity than many other roach species. This species of roach will also sequester more water in its body when well fed upon fruits and water will be released at times of stress.

In captivity, enclosure humidity is less important than a supply of high moisture foods, negating the need to mist the enclosure at all when compared to some other tropical pet insect species. Captive habitats should be kept clean and dry in order to have fecal droppings dry and not provide a medium for bacterial or fungal growth. Vertically stacked egg crates greatly help in this, as does good airflow.


The Dubia cockroach is a frugivore that prefers fruits and grains[citation needed], shunning such high protein sources as meat or waste droppings from other animals[citation needed]. They particularly like semisweet vegetable matter. Appropriate feed for raising Dubia roaches includes: carrots, all manner of tropical fruits (mangos and papayas), apples, avocados, banana, cherries, pears, oranges, strawberries, fresh corn, tomatoes (some individuals show no interest in tomatoes while others eat readily), and lettuce (not iceberg or romaine)—many other leafy greens will be accepted[citation needed]. All grain-based dry cat/dog food, fish food, crested gecko meal and bearded dragon food can also be used to supplement their diet[citation needed]. They will also eat wheat bran and germ-based food products like assorted breads, non-sweetened breakfast cereals (such as Cheerios or Special K), and even softened pasta, although such diets must be augmented with edible vegetation and fruit of some sort to provide sufficient water[citation needed].

High starch tubers like potatoes and yams are eaten with disdain and seemingly only for their water content[citation needed].

New born nymph dubia seem to depend on the adults waste for survival[citation needed].

Too much protein in dubia may cause gout and potentially death in a colony and animals that eat them[citation needed].


  • Mating occurs when the male deposits a sperm packet in the female. This sperm packet inhibits the female from further mating.
  • B. dubia are ovovivoparous[11] as such, eggs hatch within the female body.
  • Gestation is about one month (28 days).
  • Nymphs hatch inside the female. Between 20 and 40 live young, each about 2 mm long, are produced in each clutch.
  • Nymphs mature in about 4–6 months depending on temperature and food supply.
  • Nymphs undergo 7 instars, its pronotum grows about 25% between molts, before reaching adulthood.[7]
  • Adults live 1–2 years.

Use as feeder insect

Blaptica dubia has become a popular feeder insect, particularly among tarantula, amphibian and reptile enthusiasts.[7][12] Keeping or breeding the insect is made easier by their inability to jump or climb smooth surfaces, relatively slow movement, and rarity of flying.[9][12][13][14] They are also quiet, unlike crickets, and tropical environmental requirements reduce the likelihood of establishment of escapees in colder, dryer climates.[12] B. dubia can cause allergic reactions in humans,[12] although they produce relatively little odor compared to many cockroaches.[9]

A study found other cockroaches (Turkestan ("red runner") cockroaches, Madagascar hissing cockroaches,) provided a high-protein, low fat nutrition composition similar to crickets, more so than mealworms or superworm larvae provide.[15] The gut contents of the cockroach, depending on its diet, may provide essential nutrients unavailable from a cockroach with an empty gut.[15] Vitamin and mineral content in studied cockroaches was well represented except for low calcium:phosphorus ratios typical in cockroaches, and relatively low vitamin A and E in captive cockroaches.[15] Supplementation of these nutrients in feeder cockroaches may be advisable.[15] A study of panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) found vitamin A deficiency shortened life spans and reduced reproduction rates.[16]

Some US states do not allow importation by the general public of B. dubia, considered by some as an invasive species.[17] A Florida man was arrested on felony charges in 2011 related to ordering 500 B. dubia over the internet using a doctored permit, typically issued to researchers.[17]


B. dubia is an ovoviviparous species, generally giving birth to live young, and pregnancy in one study lasted 48–64 days, in a 26 °C environment with alternating 12-hour light and dark photoperiods.[18] It carries the ootheca (egg capsule), which holds about 20-35 eggs, until they are ready to hatch, or may drop it earlier under stress conditions.[12] Adults live for up to 2 years, females slightly longer than males.[12] Growth and reproduction rates are sensitive to environmental conditions, optimally 25–30 °C and above 60% relative humidity.[12]


  1. ^ "Synonyms of Argentinian Wood Cockroach (Blaptica dubia)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Schultz, Stanley A.; Schultz, Marguerite J. (1 January 2009). The Tarantula Keeper's Guide: Comprehensive Information on Care, Housing, and Feeding. Barron's Educational Series. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-7641-3885-0. 
  3. ^ Veselý, Petr; Fuchs, Fuchs (2006). "Evolution of warning colouration in palatable prey – An experimental approach" (PDF). Diplomky – Center of Cognitive Ethology: 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-24. 
  4. ^ "Common Names for Argentinian Wood Cockroach (Blaptica dubia)". Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Taxonomy browser (Blaptica dubia)". Taxonomy browser. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 24 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d Hebard, Morgan (1921). South American blattidae from the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 73. Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences. pp. 288–290. 
  7. ^ a b c Wu, Hao; Appel, Arthur G.; Hu, Xing Ping (2013). "Instar Determination of Blaptica dubia (Blattodea: Blaberidae) Using Gaussian Mixture Models". Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 106 (3): 323–8. doi:10.1603/AN12131. 
  8. ^ a b c d Kesel, Antonia B; Martin, Andrew; Hoffmann, Florian (15 December 2009). "Quantifying the landing reaction of cockroaches: final report" (PDF). European Space Agency – Advanced Concepts Team. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Wu, Hao (3 August 2013). "Biology of Blaptica dubia (Blattodea: Blaberidae) (thesis)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-05. 
  10. ^ Almeida, Carlos Eduardo; Duarte, Rosemere; Nascimento, Raquel Guerra do; Pacheco, Raquel S; Costa, Jane (2002). "Triatoma rubrovaria (Blanchard, 1843) (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) II: Trophic resources and ecological observations of five populations collected in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil". Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 97 (8): 1127–31. doi:10.1590/S0074-02762002000800011. 
  11. ^ Pick, Christian; Schneuer, Marco; Burmester, Thorsten (2010). "Ontogeny of hemocyanin in the ovoviviparous cockroach Blaptica dubia suggests an embryo-specific role in oxygen supply". Journal of Insect Physiology. 56 (5): 455–60. doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2009.04.004. PMID 19379755. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Alamer, Ahmad Hussein (2013). Endocrine control of fat body composition and effects of the insect growth regulators methoprene and pyriproxyfen on the development and reproduction of the Argentinian cockroach, Blaptica dubia Serville (Blattaria: Blaberidae) (PDF) (Thesis). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Rubio, Manny (2008). Scorpions: Everything about Purchase, Care, Feeding, and Housing. Barron's Educational Series. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-7641-3981-9. 
  14. ^ Friederich, Ursula; Volland, Werner (September 2004). Breeding food animals: live food for vivarium animals. Krieger Pub. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-57524-045-9. 
  15. ^ a b c d Oonincx, D.G.A.B; Dierenfeld, E.S (2012). "An Investigation into the Chemical Composition of Alternative Invertebrate Prey". Zoo Biology. 31 (1): 40–54. doi:10.1002/zoo.20382. PMID 21442652. 
  16. ^ Ferguson, Gary W; Jones, J. R; Gehrmann, W. H; Hammack, S. H; Talent, L. G; Hudson, R. D; Dierenfeld, E. S; Fitzpatrick, M. P; Frye, F. L; Holick, M. F; Chen, T. C; Lu, Z; Gross, T. S; Vogel, J. J (1996). "Indoor husbandry of the panther chameleon Chamaeleo [Furcifer] pardalis: Effects of dietary vitamins a and D and ultraviolet irradiation on pathology and life-history traits". Zoo Biology. 15 (3): 279–99. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1996)15:3<279::AID-ZOO7>3.0.CO;2-8. 
  17. ^ a b Pacheco, Walter (28 January 2011). "Man arrested on charges of purchasing 500 illegal exotic roaches online". The Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Company. 
  18. ^ Hintze-Podufal, Christel; Vetter, Rainer (1996). "Hormonal control of courtship behavior and reproductive cycle in the cockroach species Blaptica dubia (Blattoidea: Blaberoidea: Blaberidae)". Entomologia Generalis. 20 (3): 169–75. doi:10.1127/entom.gen/20/1996/169. INIST:2964339.