Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Drymaplaneta & a Couple Small Beetle Updates

So far my Drymaplaneta semivitta have been doing great in their new enclosure, and have been growing nicely as well! It really seems like they'll be making it to adulthood, I'm pretty sure some of them are only 3-4 molts away from maturity! 😁 We'll see though, we'll see...

Here are some pictures I took of them the other day:



















The nymphs are already slowly starting to gain patterning similar to those of the adults! 😊 Really hope I'll be successful breeding these, would be great to get these to other US breeders and really establish them in the hobby here!
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Wanted to give a big thanks to AlexW on the Beetle Forum for identifying my "mystery larva" from my last post as the obscure Zenoa picea! It is the only member of it's family in the US, the adults are apparently very short lived, and the larvae dwell in really rotten wood, so hopefully the substrate I gave mine will work perfectly to rear it to adulthood!

Sadly, my male Meracantha contracta died the other day, however the female is still going strong, and there are some signs of the substrate being disturbed, so it appears that she may be ovipositing, we'll see!

Anyway, that's gonna be it for today, I hope you guys enjoyed this post, will see you all next time! 🙂

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Some New Beetles!!

The other day I received a package from Tyler Hedlund, (known as Pannaking22 on the forums and owner of this blog), as part of a trade we are doing! Received lots of cool beetle species, that I will hopefully be successful in breeding!

First, let's start off with the Tenebrionids!

I got 4 Alobates pensylvanica from Tyler, a semi-predatory species of darkling beetle closely related to Coelocnemis, one of my favorite Tenebrionid genera. These guys are commonly found under bark on dead logs in the Eastern US, and both the adults and larvae are supposedly carnivorous on other invertebrates in the wild, however, the few people who have kept this species have had no problems getting them to eat dog/cat food in captivity.

I have them in a medium sized plastic container with rotten hardwood chunks, dead leaves, and fermented Traeger sawdust as the substrate, and have bark and wood pieces in there for hides. I will be feeding them dog food, and will also offer mealworm pupae for them as well, and maybe other soft bodied prey, if they like the pupae that is.

Here are some pictures of them:






















Really hope I can get mine to breed and lay eggs, I don't think anyone has ever gotten this species to oviposit in captivity!

He also sent an adult of the small, but beautiful species, Platydema ellipticum! It probably isn't a gravid female, and this species is associated with shelf fungi as larvae I believe, so I almost certainly won't be breeding this species. The best I can do is keep it in a enclosure with decent ventilation, moist substrate with bark and leaf litter, feed it dog food and hope it lives a nice, normal life in my care. 🙂

Here are a few pictures of it:



















Really nice little species, pretty colorful for a darkling beetle!

Speaking of colorful Tenebs, while they may look black at first, Meracantha contracta have a beautiful copper sheen that makes them one of the prettiest species native to the US! 😁 Tyler sent me a sexed pair of this beautiful species, I am very happy to finally have some, and I really hope I can breed them!

Unfortunately, they were shipped in the same container as the Alobates, and while Tyler had kept Alobates with other Tenebrionid species before with no problems, apparently their predatory side really comes out when being shipped. Since they were in such close quarters with these beauties, without any other source of protein available, they chewed off most of the Meracantha's legs. 😢 Luckily, they weren't killed, but they are sort of crippled now, which sucks.

I once had an Eleodes male that had every single leg bitten down to small nubs, but he still was able to hobble over to the food and water I offered him, and lived for quite a while in that condition! Merecantha seem to stress out more easily than Eleodes though, so I'm not sure how well they'll adapt to this situation.

The male has his left front and hind legs fully intact, but his left middle leg and all of his right legs have been bitten down to nubs. Luckily the female is a lot less damaged than the male, both her hind legs are intact, and one of her middle legs only has the tibia missing, but the other middle leg has been bitten in half, one of her front legs is missing and the other has is a little over half intact. The main thing I'm worried about is that many female Tenebrionids like to burrow before ovipositing, however this female will probably not be able to burrow much since she's lost proper use of her front legs, so unless she is content with just ovipositing directly into the upper layers of the substrate, she may not produce any offspring at all.

I am keeping them in a small plastic container with moist coconut fiber and crumbled up dead leaves as the substrate, and have bark pieces and dead leaves on top for hides. I will be keeping them fairly humid, and will feed them mostly dog food.

Here are some pictures of them:




















So far they seem fairly active and are eating, so that's great, hopefully the female will lay some eggs for me and I can get some larvae of this amazing species! 😊
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Now, let's get to the misc larvae he sent!

First, we have this one Elaterid larva, that almost looks like a small Alaus grub, but definitely isn't. I have it in a small deli cup with rotten wood chunks, dead leaves, and fermented Traeger sawdust as the substrate, in addition to the wood I will also be feeding it dog food.

Here are a couple pictures of it:




















I also received two of these other Elaterid larvae, which look more like your typical wireworms. I have them in their own deli cups as well, with rotten wood chunks, dead leaves and fermented Traeger sawdust as the substrate, and in addition to the wood I will be feeding them dog food.

Here are a couple pics of one of them:












Would be pretty cool if I ended up having a sexed pair of this species, love how the larvae look!

Lastly, he sent this one really weird looking beetle larva, I honestly have no idea what it is beyond that, but I do know it's neither a Tenebrionid or an Elaterid. I have it in it's own deli cup with rotten wood chunks, dead leaves and fermented sawdust as the substrate, and will offer it dog food as well, have no idea if it will eat any though.

Here are some pictures of it:






















Really interested to see what it ends up maturing into, hopefully it'll do well in my care and pupate!

Anyway, that's gonna be it for today guys, I hope you all enjoyed this post, will see you soon! 🙂

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Roaches From Alan Jeon!!!

Yesterday I received a package from Alan Jeon, I ordered a group of Ischnoptera deropeltiformis "Ruby Red", a beautiful new strain of the Dark Woods Roach, (or "Sexy Legs Roach", as Kyle like to call them) that he has been working on, and a group of Gyna cafforum, a nice species of Gyna that's been on my wishlist for a while now! In addition to sending healthy over counts of both species, he also sent me a few Eurycotis lixa nymphs and a trio of Latiblattella lucifrons adults as a surprise! 😁

Let's start off with the Ischnoptera deropeltiformis "Ruby Red". Normal strains of I.deropeltiformis have black wings as adults, this strain however, has adults with dark red wings, which go nicely with the characteristic red legs of this species!

I have them housed in a medium sized plastic container with moist coconut fiber as the substrate, and lots of little bark pieces on top of that, since they apparently don't like to walk on bare substrate. Additionally I have lots of leaf litter and some egg cartons for them to hide in. I will be feeding them mostly dog/cat food.

Here are some pictures of the nymphs:



















Really look forward to seeing what the adults look like in person, can't wait until my nymphs mature!
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Next up, the Gyna caffrorum! You can never have too many Gyna, and this species, the "Chrome roach", or "Ghost Porcelain Roach", is a very pretty member of the genus! The nymphs look very similar to G.lurida nymphs, and the adults have a very nice white and bluish-grey coloration, with a little bit of black too.

Alan was very generous with the amount he sent, giving me a large overcount on this species, which I really appreciate! 😊

I have them in a medium sized plastic container with a couple inches of moist coconut fiber and lots of leaf litter on top. Will be feeding them the usual dog food, fruits and veggies, along with the dead leaves.

Here are some pictures of them:
Nymph














Adult female

















Glad to have this beautiful species in my collection, I'm really loving this genus! I hope to try my hand at the more difficult species soon!
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Alan also sent a few small Eurycotis lixa nymphs, a nice species that is relatively new to the hobby! The adults are jet black, and have very tiny, vestigial wings. This species is known for being pretty territorial, and will fight for food aggressively, as well as eat their own ooths under less than perfect conditions. So I will definitely be trying to keep my culture pretty small, once they get going and start breeding, I will probably sell off quite a bit of the offspring to keep the culture small and at a manageable size.

I am keeping them in a medium sized plastic container with semi-moist coconut fiber as the substrate, with bark slabs, dead leaves, and paper towel rolls as hides. I plan on keeping much of the enclosure dry, with some humid retreats for them, and will feed them mostly dog food.

Here are the two photos I was able to get of the nymphs, they are really fast, can climb well, and definitely don't like getting their pictures taken, so these were all I could get:

















Can't wait until these mature!
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Last, but certainly not least, Alan sent two adult females and one male Latiblattella lucifrons! 😆 This species is very high up on my Ectobiid wishlist, and I am thrilled to have some in my collection! These are the F1 offspring produced from a female Alan caught in Arizona last year, so far it seems the species is not too difficult to breed in captivity!

I have mine housed in a small container with coconut fiber as the substrate, with bark pieces and dead leaves as hides. Will be keeping the enclosure semi-moist, and will feed them mostly dog food, might offer apple pieces from time to time as well, since L.rheni really seem to like those.

Here are a couple pictures of the females, they really don't like to stay still for photographs at all:















The adult females look like giant Cariblatta minima with broader pronotums! I really hope they'll breed for me, I've already seen them mating, (and I hardly EVER see my roaches mate), so that's certainly a good sign! If all goes well, they should start laying oothecae very soon, and with any luck, those will hatch several weeks later, we'll see! 🙂

Anyway, that's gonna be it for this post, today I actually received a package from another friend, so will be posting about that in a couple days! So stay tuned, will see you all soon! 😉

Monday, May 22, 2017

Coelus & Porcellio Updates, & a Look at My Collection

My Coelus ciliatus are doing great, and apparently can pupate in the same enclosure as each other rather successfully, as long as deep enough substrate is provided, with a moist area in the enclosure. Lots of new teneral adults have been popping up in my main enclosure, which is nice! Lots of adults and larvae in the enclosure right now, these guys are quite easy to care for!

Here are a couple pictures I took of a few of my adults, (and a larva):











When I first got this species, I did not expect they would do so well in captivity, I am glad I was wrong! 😊 They seem very easy to keep, like Coniontis, wish that Eusattus were as easy to breed...
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I have some good and bad news about my Porcellio silvestrii. Good news, my pregnant female gave birth to a dozen or so mancae! Bad news, all my other females and one of my males have died. 😭

I really don't know what went wrong, the dead females all seemed to be fully intact, so it does not seem territorial cannibalism or any malnutrition is to blame, they had a corner kept moist at all times, so I doubt that lack of humidity was the problem, (however, two of the females died in the moist corner...), and I'm pretty sure they had enough hiding places as well. The male had his uropods and part of his face chewed off, and he was the runt of the males, so I'm pretty sure that was territorial cannibalism, which happens sometimes with the Spanish species.

The temperatures have risen a little bit in the past couple weeks, so maybe that could have caused the deaths, I would have expected that they would all have died if the temps got too high though. Plus, there are some Oniscus asellus enclosures right above them, that species is really sensitive to high temperatures, and I haven't noticed any die off in their enclosures. Oddly enough, the other females never got gravid in my care, the only one that survived is that one that was gravid, so maybe they had some weird illness from the get go, still doesn't seem right though.

Overall, I'm pretty stumped, no idea why they all died off like that. I removed three of the males from the main enclosure, leaving just one male in with the last female, as I don't want them to stress her out too much. Just thought I'd let you know how things were going with them.

On the plus side, while looking through the P.silvestrii enclosure, I found a young Porcellio scaber with unusual coloration! Hopefully it retains the white patches by it's rear when it matures, and hopefully it'll produce similar looking offspring once I mate it with a normal individual, (since that's what it's gonna have to come down to, as I can' find any others that look like it).

Here are a couple pictures of it:




















Hopefully I'll be able to isolate this morph, it's quite an attractive individual!
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My collection has grown quite a bit in the last few months, so I thought I would take some pictures of my "bug closet", just to show you guys what it looks like now!

Here it is, in all it's glory!:













Really pushing the limits as to how many containers my shelves can hold! 😄

Anyway, that's gonna do it for this post, I hope you all enjoyed, got some new invertebrates coming this week, so stay tuned for some new posts about them! See you all soon! 🙂

Friday, May 19, 2017

Drymaplaneta & a Couple of Tenebrionid Updates

Well, I am now down to 7 Drymaplaneta semivitta nymphs, so in a last ditch attempt to save these guys, I have completely redesigned their enclosure to mimic the setup shown on this blog here. The owner of that blog, Komatsu, has been breeding Drymaplaneta successfully for years, so I'm hoping that by mimicking his setup, mine will thrive and breed as well.

Honestly, I think the major problem with my previous setup is that I was keeping them way too humid. I think they actually like things really dry, with just one small area of the enclosure moist, or just a water bowl for moisture. Most other people suggest that high humidity is vital to their survival, yet those breeders never got theirs to survive for more than a few generations. I think they just need really dry conditions and good ventilation. So I probably didn't have to mimic the above setup as closely as I did, but I figured better safe than sorry!

Here are some pictures of the new enclosure:

















As you can see, I did make a few adjustments to the design of this enclosure compared to the one in Cic.net. First off, I added some dead leaves to the bottom of the enclosure, to make it seem a little more natural, and to give them even more hiding spaces.

Also, I changed up the food bowel a bit. Komatsu uses rat food pellets to feed his roaches, apparently they last a long time in an enclosure, as from what I can tell, it looks like he puts a whole bunch of pellets in a large food bowl, fills it to the top, and then leaves it there for months. Cat/dog food doesn't last that long in an enclosure though, I don't think it would work the same, but if I just put one piece of food at the bottom of the deli cup, they may have a difficult time finding it.

I wanted to keep the food and water bowls level so I could use that little plastic-mesh-bridge thing, so instead of just putting a small milk cap in the corner of the enclosure, I filled a deli cup with foam, then cut a hole in the middle of the foam and put a milk cap inside of it, and put food in that. So now the food will be on the top, level with the water bowel. 🙂

Here is a picture of one of the nymphs:













Hopefully they'll do better in this new setup, I really think that they will like it a lot better than their previous enclosure, if only because of the dryer humidity levels. We'll see...
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I just realized I have never posted about my Superworms, Zophobas morio, even though I've had them for years! They are pretty cool Tenebrionids, underrated in my opinion.

I have a small colony right now, I kept them on coconut fiber before, but now it's mostly just frass. They don't seem to lay many eggs, (possibly because the substrate is mostly frass), but there are always enough larvae to keep the colony going. I use them as feeders, mainly the pre-pupae or pupae, for beetles, centipedes, and my rose haired tarantula.

Anyway, last month while digging around in the enclosure for larvae to pupate, I found a HUGE larvae in there, much larger than any other I had seen. I isolated it for pupation, and it matured recently into quite a large adult! I took some pictures of it compared to one of it's normal sized brethren, here they are:






















The difference in size of just the heads is quite impressive in my opinion! Just thought I'd share this with you guys, I've never reared one quite this large before! 😀
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Lastly, last week I caught a small Tenebrionid that was crawling on my ceiling, I had never seen the species before, so I decided to keep it, I have it housed in a small container with a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate, I am keeping one half moist and one half dry, and am feeding it cat food. Don't know if it's a female or not, would be nice to get some offspring though!

I posted pictures on Bugguide, so far no one has identified it just yet, one member suggested that it may be a mealworm, but at just a little over 5mm, that's impossible. Anyway, here are some pictures of the little thing:




















Hopefully I'll get a definite ID soon, I heavily suspect that it is Cynaeus angustus, the larger flour beetle.

Anyway, that's gonna do it for today, I hope you guys enjoyed this post, will see you all next time! 🙂