Though they’re only about one month old and have grown substantially since birth, ½-inch Dubia roaches are still a long way from maturity. In fact, regarding size – they’re only about 25% of the way to adulthood. This has two important implications for their role as feeders.
First, they’re soft-bodied feeders. Their exoskeletons are still easy to digest compared to 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 nymphs helps maximize the amount of nutrition they get per insect. This is particularly helpful for young animals and times when animals need extra nutrition, such as breeding, managing stress, and illness recovery. 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 their diet based on needs and availability, Dubia nymphs prefer foods that fuel their 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.
Though we can’t say for sure, we like to think this means they have a potential gut load bonus. This would make ½-inch Dubia them a little extra healthy for growing herps. At the very least, it means gut-loading is easy and reliable. What better scenario for gutloading than a nutritious primary feeder insect with a big appetite that loves eating the foods your animals need to grow healthy and strong?
As we know, Dubia roaches are 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.