Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pretty Pink Roach Male!

Well, the Gyna capucina are doing OK now, eating much more protein based foods than they used to now that I'm not using bowls, and they are eating fruit at a good pace too. At least two females have matured in the past couple weeks, and I see one or two subadult females with very puffy thoracic pads, so they'll be maturing here shortly... 
One of the three male subadults I moved to a smaller container (kept cooler than the main breeding tank) just matured, so perfect timing really, considering it seems all the adult males that were in the main colony a few weeks ago have died already.

Interestingly, this male came out with a lot of black mottling on it's wings, much more than I typically see in my males. It's quite attractive actually, in my opinion this is the best looking male I've ever reared. 

Here are some pictures of him:

I wonder if the cooler temperatures I'm keeping the males at had anything to do with the coloration of this one... Supposedly cooler temps can make Archimandrita tessellata adults come out with a much higher amount of black mottling on their tegmina (sometimes to the point where they're almost completely black), compared to those reared at warm temps, but I don't know if that theory was ever proven, or if it even applies to Gyna capucina.

In any case, it was nice seeing this male, now hopefully he does his job, mates with the females, and helps get my colony thriving again! 🤞

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading everyone, hope you enjoyed, stay safe, if you live in the U.S.A please VOTE, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

Friday, October 16, 2020

Cryptoglossa Surprise!

Well, this is interesting. Back in August, I received 4 Tenebrionid larvae from a friend that were all labeled as a certain species, however, only two of them ended up being of that species. The other two were apparently larvae of Cryptoglossa muricata, and I may be the first, (or at least second if Dean Rider beat me) to rear larvae of this species to adulthood! And it was completely by accident! 😂 

So, this story all began on August 8th, when I received the larvae. I kept them in deli cups filled with sand, and a TINY bit of coconut fiber mixed in, with a vertical humidity gradient, and fed them leaf litter and chick feed. They were shipped in warm weather, which wasn't fatal to them thankfully, but approximately 10 days later, on the 18th or 19th, I noticed that the spike in temperatures had caused one of the larvae to construct a pupal cell, where it was going to pupate "prematurely"... A week after that, on the 26th, another one of the larvae followed suit and also made a pupal cell. 😐 I was a bit dismayed by the inevitable small size of these two larvae when they matured, as I was under the impression that they were larvae of a species that gets quite large, but hopeful that they'd at least mature successfully into healthy, albeit tiny adults. 

The first larva spent around 17 days in it's pupal cell before pupating on September 6th. It's worth noting that at this point, my bedroom (where I keep all my bugs), had started cooling down to room temps during the day, rather than the 80s/90s it was reaching during the day in midsummer. So the development of that pupa happened at room temps, though it did construct it's cell and enter it's pre-pupal stage when it was still rather warm in my room. 

Pupal cell and pre-pupal larva

The second larva was doing OK in it's pupal cell, but at some point, maybe a week after it constructed it, I accidentally caused it's pupal cell to partially collapse while watering it's deli cup, and so a few days after that, I dug that larva up and placed it in an artificial pupal cell of sorts. Much to my surprise, the seemingly immobile larva suddenly sprung to life and started burrowing quickly. Evidently, larvae of this species don't enter their completely immobile, pre-pupal stage until they've been in their pupal cells for quite some time... 
So the next day, September 20th or so, I decided to move it to a deli cup, where, instead of the pure sand I'd been keeping them on, I made the bottom inch of substrate a 50/50 mix of sand and coconut fiber. I thought that this would make it's future pupal cell stronger and more resistant to collapsing. However, the larva was seemingly unable or unwilling to use that medium to construct a pupal cell in. So, sometime last week, (forgot to note the date), I redid the deli cup one last time, changed it back to an all sand substrate, and low and behold, it's made a new pupal cell, which I'll do my best not to collapse this time. 😅

The second larva, shortly before making it's first pupal cell

Anyways, backtracking a little bit, that first larva to pupate on September 6th took around a month to develop, (perhaps because it was kept rather cool as a pupa), and finally eclosed on October 4th. I checked the deli cup it was in, and was startled to see it's pupal cell had completely collapsed. I dumped the contents out, happy and confused to find the adult beetle completely intact, but not at all the species I had thought it would be... I instead had an adult beetle of a species that had quite possibly never been reared before in captivity, and one I never actually thought I'd keep myself. Cryptoglossa muricata, one of the black death feigning beetles! 😮

Teneral adult, 10/4/20

Teneral adult, 10/13/20

The adults of this species seem to take FOREVER to fully harden and darken, which, considering their exoskeletons are SO hard and thick, makes sense that it'd take longer to harden than those of darklings with more thin, brittle exoskeletons, like some Eleodes spp. It's been 12 days, and this adult C.muricata has yet to darken fully, it's still a dark red color. I think it has been eating the chick feed I've offered it, so it's hardened enough to eat at least. 

BTW, shortly after realizing that these two larvae had actually been of Cryptoglossa, I did move my other larva into a much warmer spot, which will hopefully speed up it's pupation and get it developing quicker than it's sibling. 

Now, how did this mix-up happen? I honestly don't know, while the tank that my friend had been keeping her darklings in WAS a mixed tank, there were apparently never any Cryptoglossa adults in there, and so she thought all the larvae in there were from the other darkling species I had wanted... 😂 She still doesn't know how on earth any Cryptoglossa larvae could have gotten in that particular enclosure, but somehow they did, and since they look rather similar to the larvae of the other species in that enclosure, we were both none the wiser until this first larva matured. 🤣 An interesting experience nonetheless, and I hope I get lucky and end up with a sexed pair of this species, as now I'd like to rear larvae from egg to adulthood myself, so I can say I've successfully bred and reared at least one death feigning beetle species. 😜

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, I'll be sure to keep you all posted on my two individuals, hopefully this adult darkens soon so I can get some pictures of a fully darkened C.muricata! Thanks for reading everyone, take care, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

Monday, October 12, 2020

My Two New Arenivaga!!!

And now, for the last of inverts Alan Jeon sent me, we've got two awesome species of Arenivaga! 😁

First, let's start with the Arenivaga floridensis "White"! (collected near Lake Placid, FL). He sent me around ten small nymphs of this beautiful little species, and as some of you may remember, I've actually kept this species before, (same color form too). Sadly, I left the hobby before mine actually started breeding, and I've kinda been regretting that... But thankfully Alan has my back, and I've now got a second shot at this species, this time I intend on keeping them until they breed! 😁.

I have them in my typical Arenivaga setup, a small, extremely well ventilated container with an inch or two of fine coconut fiber, with a horizontal humidity gradient, (one third of the substrate kept moist, the rest bone dry). As they get larger I may have to separate males from females and keep them at different temps to sync the pairs up, as males often mature and die much faster than females do, but for now I'm keeping them at around 75F° or so. They've got leaf litter in there to feed on, and I'll offer chick feed regularly as well. 

Here are some pictures of the nymphs:

Beautiful little things, hope they do well for me! 🙂
And now, for something I've never kept before, that's just entered culture, the rare, dark color form of Arenivaga bolliana! 😃 Alan collected these from Del Rio, TX, the dark color form for A.bolliana has only been sighted in a few locales. In these locales, males consistently mature a dark brown or blackish color, and almost look like little Polyphaga males! I believe females and nymphs look much the same as other bolliana locales. 

Alan sent me three oothecae, which I'll keep again in a standard Arenivaga setup, probably in the substrate bordering the humid side. Hopefully they'll hatch in the next month or two! 🤞

Here are a couple pics of an ootheca:

I'm looking forward to seeing some of those dark adult males in person, hopefully they'll do as well for me as my old, normal A.bolliana did, and I can establish a nice breeding colony! 😄

Anyways, that's it for new inverts from Alan, but rest assured, the flow of new species and new posts will be continuing, Fall 2020 is about to make up for the lack of acquisitions all year long! 😁 Thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all in the next post! 😉

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Bioluminescent Deilelater!!!

Finally, we've got a couple US Native Pyrophorini species in the hobby! 😁 Thanks to my buddy Alan Jeon, I have acquired two new species of Deilelater

Let's start with the 9 Deilelater sp. "Ocala, FL" he sent me. Alan collected the adults in FL earlier this year, and thankfully, while they were short lived, they laid some eggs in the setup he gave them. The larvae hatched after a few weeks, and now a couple months later, he's passed 9 of them on to me to help get them established in culture, which I'm confident I'll be able to do, given my positive experience in breeding the closely related Pyrophorus.

The adults of this small species have proven much more fragile than those of Pyrophorus, not only do they have a much thinner exoskeleton that can easily be cracked when collecting them, but they also seem to be very intolerant of even the slightest neglect. Thankfully the larvae are similar to those of Pyrophorus, and have proved rather hardy and easy to rear up, (most Elateridae larvae are like tanks if cared for properly).

I'll be keeping the larvae very similarly to those of Pyrophorus, in deli cups filled with a little crushed rotten wood/flake soil mix at the bottom, topped off with coconut fiber, kept humid and relatively warm. I'll feed them crushed chick feed for now, offer Tenebrionid larvae as they get bigger, and will offer course be keeping larvae separately, as they're almost certainly cannibalistic like Pyrophorus larvae, (and most Elaterids in general).

Here are some pictures of one of the little things:

Looking forward to seeing them grow up, will be cool to compare them to Pyrophorus larvae and see if there are any noticeable morphological differences. 
But wait, there's more! Alan also collected a bunch of Deilelater physoderus adults from George West, TX last month, (which were noticeably larger than the FL species he collected), and has sent me a container full of rotten sawdust that he was keeping some in! I quickly searched around in it and found a couple TINY hatchling larvae, so it would appear they definitely bred for him! 😄

I'll be keeping the larvae similar to my other Pyrophorini, once they're big enough to isolate. For now they're too small to get pictures of, so here's just a picture of their current container:

So glad to have not one, but TWO US native headlamp click beetles in culture now, they may be more finicky and far smaller than Pyrophorus, but I'm really looking forward to rearing them and getting them established in the hobby nonetheless! 😄

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all in the next post! 😉

Thursday, October 8, 2020

My New Myrmecoblatta wheeleri!!!

Man, it's just been back to back posts lately hasn't it? 😂 I've just gotten some exciting new additions to my collection courtesy of my good friend Alan Jeon, but perhaps the most exciting are these adorable little Myrmecoblatta wheeleri! 😁 He caught them himself, in Camponotus ant colonies in FL. They're very tiny little things, Corydiids closely related to Compsodes, however this species have proven more difficult to culture than C.schwarzi.

Thanks to the observations of Brandon Maines, it seems like this species eats various mold types, and may need them as part of their diet, as when the mold blooms in Brandon's old Myrmecoblatta enclosure died out, the roaches did too, and it seems like the roaches themselves were cleaning up the mold from the enclosure. However, Alan Jeon insists they'll also eat dog food and algae wafers, so perhaps they are just generalists that enjoy feeding on molds, like Compsodes schwarzi. This species may prove somewhat difficult to culture, but hopefully not impossible, we'll see. 

Alan sent me two adult males, one subadult male, one adult female and one subadult female. I've got them set up in a minimally ventilated deli cup with a cm or so of moist coconut fiber mixed with roach frass, (my old Gyna capucina substrate), and some bark chips and small cork tile structures for them to hide in. 
For food I'll be offering basic roach chow like chick feed, fruits, maybe even artificial pollen, but also, mold. To achieve this, not only will I let the "normal" foods in their enclosure rot, but I'll also be microwaving bark chips every few days and place them in the enclosure. Freshly sterilized bark molds over pretty quickly, and should provide the roaches with food. Should they not lay any ooths on said bark, I'll nuke them again in a few days when the roaches have fed on all the mold, and rinse and repeat. 

I'll be keeping this species at room temps, since they don't seem to like it too warm, and I'll also be keeping them far away from the rest of my collection, to try and avoid any predatory mites or pests from my main collection getting into their enclosure, as being microfauna themselves, other microfauna may severely stress out and outcompete Myrmecoblatta wheeleri

Here are some pictures of these rarely seen, fragile little roaches:

Adult male

Adult and subadult males

Adult pair

Adult female

Adult and subadult females

Subadult female

Subadult male

Their enclosure

So adorable right? 😁 Males look like mini Hemiblabera, and females are just like little circular Compsodes.
I'll be sure to keep you all updated on them, there is a good chance I'll fail to breed these, as no one has ever reared captive produced nymphs to adulthood. But I will certainly do my best to culture this species, of that you can be sure! 

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, but stay tuned for more upcoming posts regarding the other species I got in this package from Alan! 😁 Stay safe, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and I'll see you all soon! 😉

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

My New Panesthia angustipennis cognata!!!

That's right, thanks to collaborating with Ty Randall of Ty Dye Exotics, I finally got a species that was actually on my wish list for a long time in the past, I am now working with Panesthia angustipennis cognata "Cambodia"! 😁 This is one of the smallest of the angustipennis subspecies, but my favorite, as the nymphs have the prettiest coloration of any Panesthia species in culture IMO. This is probably the first time they've been in the US for a year or so. 

Panesthia belong to the subfamily Panesthiinae, and pretty much all members in the Panesthiinae live inside of rotten logs in nature. They feed mainly on rotten wood, though will sometimes accept fruits and other foods in captivity, (though these should be offered sparingly). Adults of many species (including this one) are winged, and in the wild when they mature, they fly to a new log to colonize, and shed their wings like termite or ant alates do. However, unlike ants and termites, which pop off their wings rather cleanly, Panesthiinae have to rub and tear their wings against their tunnels, until they eventually rip off, leaving little torn wing stubs. Thankfully they don't need to fly or anything in captivity, and after maturing will just stay buried and rip their wings off in the same enclosure. 

Panesthia have been cultured a few times in the US, this very subspecies even, however they never last long. I suspect people in the US keep theirs too well ventilated, and then forget to water them, (as they need very little maintenance period), which leads to cultures drying out and dying... At least, that's likely the main cause of culture crashes here, but others may have lost theirs due to a multitude of other reasons. All I know is they seem to be pretty well established in Europe, and I hope I can help keep this species established here in the US. 

I am keeping my 10 mixed nymphs in a minimally ventilated gallon bin for now, though I may move them to a bigger one when they all mature. I've given them a substrate of rotten cottonwood with a little crushed leaf litter mixed in, several inches deep. I'll keep them moist, and occasionally offer apple slices and maybe chick feed, to see if they'll eat it. I'm keeping them at room temp, in the low 70s F°, which seems to be best for breeding this species. 

Here are some pictures of the nymphs:

So pretty, love the giant orange spots on the back! 😁 Looking forward to breeding this species, hopefully they'll do well for me! 

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉