1/21/2023: Divergent hissing cockroach projects
I’ve had several Gromphadorhina portentosa breeding projects brewing in the background over the last 2 years, and while many people are excited for breeding up a line’s size, I’ve taken great joy in doing the opposite.
Under the project name Lilliputian, I’ve been breeding for smaller and smaller hissers descending from the “LLE Mahogany” stock. Despite being quite inbred and from pure “Cleveland” stock, one generation was highly variable and gave me the opportunity to create some divergent trait lines. An extremely small male was the spur to begin this one in particular.
The F1 pairing produced variable sizes and the F2 has only now popped up, so I can’t say with certainty if size is strongly genetic. Healthy colonies of many hisser species will produce very small and very large individuals, as will the same litter. I hope to shed some light on a genetic mechanism behind this with this project and hope that by the F5 I’ll have a definitive answer.
Regardless, it is interesting to admire the size difference between roach cousins. I was inspired to do just that in the below photo, where this generation of LLE Mahogany’s stud sits contently with the F1 stud for the Lilliputian line perched on top. For reference, the larger roach is about 83 millimeters.