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Dubia Roaches Vs Madagascar Hissing Roaches
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Madagascar Hissing Roaches or Dubia Roaches? The choice is complicated. Both insects have certain benefits and detriments, and there are many factors to consider. While these insects are both roaches, they each offer a different nutritional value.
In this article, we will take a look at all of the most important aspects when trying to decide which of these feeders to use! We will consider
- nutrient profiles
- mineral content
And we even consider how much fun your reptile or amphibian will have hunting and catching these insects!
The nutritional profile of an insectivorous lizard (like a leopard gecko) should be balanced in the range below:
Typical Carnivorous Reptile Diet
- High in Protein (30-60%)
- High in Fat (40-70%)
- Low carbohydrates and Indigestible Fiber
Other, omnivorous species, have slightly different dietary requirements. However, the insects they eat should be close to this composition for maximum benefits! The high protein allows your pet to build new cells, repair injuries, and create new proteins. The fat serves as a major energy source - eventually being turned into energy for each cell in your pet’s body!
So, let’s see how Dubia Roaches and Madagascar Hissing Roaches stack up to this “ideal” standard, based on information compiled in this large study of insect nutritional composition:
Dubia Roaches Protein and Fat Content
- Protein - 46%
- Fat - 24%
Madagascar Hissing Roaches Protein and Fat Content
- Protein - 64%
- Fat - 20%
In the case of Madagascar Hissing Roaches vs Dubia Roaches, the fat and protein contents are slightly different. As you can see above, the dubias roaches protein fall within a reptile's preferred range of protein. Madagascar hissers, on the other hand, have nearly 50% more protein than dubias. They are on the high-end for protein value for a reptile, but are close enough that they could be used frequently as a feeder.
Although both roaches have an ideal amount of protein, both unfortunately fall short on the preferred amount of fat. Both dubias and madagascar hissers have slightly less fat content than what is desirable for the “perfect” feeder insect. This means both roaches shouldn't be the only option on your pet's menu. Superworms fall perfectly within the range of fat content and protein content - which would make them an ideal supplemental feeder.
That being said - fat content and protein content are not the only important aspects of feeder insects. While both roaches have slightly less fat content, we will see that they are a much more balanced species when it comes to mineral content compared to the popular superworm.
Insectivorous pets and many omnivorous pets require a diet with calcium and phosphorous minerals. These key nutrients are part of many different physiological processes and can lead to very serious conditions if the dietary requirements are not met.
While levels of these nutrients vary among different insects, the most important measurement of these minerals in a feeder insect is their ratio to each other.
Phosphorus and Calcium Ratio
Phosphorous is needed to properly process and utilize calcium, so there must be a balanced ratio for each mineral to be absorbed and utilized properly. Unbalanced feeder insects - while they might contain enough calcium - may not contain enough phosphorous to properly utilize that calcium and your pet will develop a mineral deficiency.
Experts recommend that the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio somewhere around 2:1. Here are the actual mineral contents of dubia cockroaches and madagascar hissers:
Dubia Roaches (g/kg) Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
- Calcium - 5.8
- Phosphorous - 5.9
- Ratio - 1 : 1.01
Madagascar Hissers (g/kg) Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio
- Calcium - 2.5
- Phosphorous - 9.3
- Ratio - 1 : 4
As you can see, madagascar hissers are clearly much further from this optimal ratio. Dubia Roaches have an almost 1:1 ratio. So, in order to get the ratio up to 2:1, all you need to do is use a calcium supplement - generally available as a dust or as a gut-load for your feeder insects. With this supplementation, dubia roaches have the perfect balance of calcium and phosphorous.
By contrast, madagascar hissers show a ratio of nearly 1:4. This means you would have to add nearly 17 grams of calcium per kilogram of hissers in order to balance out the ratio. While insect calcium dust may help balance this ratio a bit - each insect will need a huge amount of dust to become sufficient nutritionally.
In order to properly digest their food, carnivorous reptiles and amphibians need food that is not too fibrous. While fiber is an important part of the human, omnivore, and herbivore diets, it generally hinders most carnivorous organisms from obtaining all of the nutrients present in a feeder insect.
Insects contain chitin - a fibrous substance that is hard to digest and binds many of the important minerals your pet needs. So, in general, insects with less chitinous exoskeletons are easier to digest and will give your pet a higher level of minerals. Less chitin usually translates to a softer, squishier exoskeleton - much like you see on maggots and other soft grubs
Interestingly, Dubia Roaches seem to have very little chitin compared to other adult beetles and insects, practically the same as Superworms:
Dubia Roach Fiber
- Fiber - 8%
Madagascar Hisser Fiber
- Fiber - 2.6%
With approximately 8% fiber, Dubia Roaches are relatively low in chitin content - which can sometimes be as high as 50%! But even more impressive are madagasar hissers. Even thought they can be double the size of the dubias, their fiber content is less than 60%. This means they are much easier for reptiles to digest, assuming your reptile is large enough to eat a madagascar hisser.
Just remember, while these insects have similar fiber content, they have a different mineral content and slightly different fat content. Dubia roaches have a much higher and more balanced mineral content - so they will provide a better mineral source for your bearded dragon or leopard gecko.
Other Factors to Consider
Madagascar roaches and Dubia Roaches are both adaptable to captivity and can be reared in a captive environment quite easily. Both dubia roaches and madagascar roaches can be reared on a wide variety of food waste products.
While simple to care for, madagascar hissers are very large for a roach, and sometimes kept as pets themselves. They are unique, and would be a better option as a supplemental feeder, due to their poor calcium content and size.
Which Insect Will My Pet Prefer?
Natural behaviors are one of the most interesting things your pet will do. In the case of a hungry lizard, watching them seek, hunt, and capture prey is super fun for the owner. At the same time, displaying these natural behaviors actually stimulates your pet’s brain and increases their health and vigor!
For this, both roaches will provide your pet with a much-needed challenge. Dubia Roaches are pretty fast, and will not be caught easily. This will give you pet exercise, engagement, and a variety of opportunities to express behaviors like chasing, waiting, and observing insects.
Madagascar hissers can also crawl and squirm. But again, there are limits due to their size. Younger hissers will do a better job hiding and dodging, compared to the older ones. But ultimately, both roach will do a good job stimulating your pets natural hunting behavior and appetite.
Don’t Forget Variety!
As you can see - neither Dubia Roaches nor Madagascar Hissers fully satisfy the entire set of requirements for insectivorous reptiles and amphibians.
Dubia Roaches have a well-balanced mineral content and low fiber, but they are also slightly low on fat. By contrast, madagascar hissers offer more protein, lower fiber, but are off the Richter Scale for calcium and phosphorus. This means that owners will need to provide a lot of calcium to balance out their ratio.
Dubia Roaches will serve well for most insectivores as a primary feeder, but Madagascar roaches can occasionally be given to support the protein requirement and help your pet grow big and strong.
For juvenile pets and pets owners that are planning to breed, fat content is very important! Because neither of these roaches offer a satisfactory amount of fat, owners would be wise to consider Superworms or black soldier fly larvae.
Plus, there are a wide variety of other insects out there that can add variety to your lizard’s diet! While Dubia Roaches can make a great base - variety is the spice of life! Feeding variety will not only engage your pet more, but it will ensure that the nutrient deficiencies in Dubia Roaches (or your main feeder) are properly countered with nutrients from another species.