Although roaches are often thought of as pests, many types of roaches are actually kept as exotic pets. Other types of roaches may be used to feed other pets, such as reptiles or birds. Whether you are looking for more insight into your pet, or want to start breeding roaches, it's usually easy to see the differences between the genders.
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Determine what type of roach you have in order to know whether the wings of the roach are a gender marker. There are many different types of roaches, some of which are more commonly kept as pets, while others are more commonly feeder insects. Each roach type has a slightly different body shape, size and colour, as well as different gender markers. Some cockroach breeds, such as the Oriental cockroach, have wing differences between the genders. Female Oriental cockroaches are wingless, while the male Oriental cockroach displays short, clear wings. However, other types of cockroaches, such as the giant hissing cockroach, have no wings at all, whether they are male or female.
Observe the size of the roach. Male roaches are often longer or even slimmer than the females, which are short and somewhat plump. It is easiest to see this body shape difference by comparing several roaches. Unlike other gender markers, which may be specific to a certain breed, male and female roaches generally display these size differences.
Look at the abdomen shape of the cockroach. Some species, such as the giant cockroach and the giant hissing cockroach, display different abdomen shapes. This shape difference is most easily observed by looking at the very rear end of the roach. Male roaches have a narrow, somewhat pointed rear, or ventral plate, while female ventral plates are rounder and wider. You can also count the segments found on this part of the roach's body. Females tend to have fewer segments than males, comparatively. Start at about the middle of the roach's body and count the segments as you get to the tail, or rear, end.
Observe the head of the roach. In some species, such as the giant hissing cockroach, the males have two large, hornlike protrusions extending from the front of their heads. These give the male roach's head a very bumpy appearance. Female roaches have smooth, rounded heads with only very small protrusions. Also, look at the antennae of the roach. Male roaches often have fuzzy or hairy antennae. Female roaches have smooth antennae.
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