Though they’re only about a month old and have grown substantially since birth, ½-inch Dubia roaches are still a long way from maturity. In fact, they’re only about 25% of the way to their adult size. This has two important implications for their role as feeders:
First, they’re soft-bodied. Their exoskeletons are easier to digest than larger roaches. This makes them a good choice for young animals with sensitive digestive systems. And, a “soft body” means a higher ratio of flesh to chitin, which is the indigestible part of insects. Offering animals soft-bodied feeder nymphs helps maximize the amount of nutrition they get per insect. This is particularly good for young animals that need that extra nutrition. It’s also good for older animals at certain times, such as during breeding, illness recovery, and for managing stress. When you feed a high chitin insect, your animal has to eat more to get the same nutrition.
Second, because they’re fast-growing and self-select certain nutrients in their diet, Dubia nymphs eat or prefer to eat foods that fuel rapid growth. This usually means protein, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, they like carbohydrates too, but given a choice, they tend to gravitate toward high protein and high nutrient density. As far as gutloading goes, this is great for the growing animals that eat them because what goes in a Dubia feeder’s stomach ultimately goes into the stomach of the animal that eats it.
We believe this makes ½-inch and similarly-sized Dubia a little extra healthy for growing herps. It certainly means gut-loading is easier, more reliable, and more beneficial. What better scenario for gutloading than a nutritious primary feeder with a big appetite for the nutrients your animals need to grow healthy and strong? Sounds like a win-win!
As we know, Dubia roaches are among if not THE most nutritious feeder insect. It’s OK if you’re not interested in things like chitin and gut-loadability. Just choose the right size Dubia for your animals and you’re good to go!
A little size fluctuation is normal. Most of these roaches will be about ½ inch. However, sizes can vary due to hydration, feeding schedule, etc.