Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 In Review

Well, it's been one heck of a year, my collection grew a LOT in the past twelve months, and I've had a lot of successes, as well as a decent amount of failures too. That's all part of the hobby though, and seeing as I like to try and breed species that are known to be finicky or very difficult to care for in captivity, it's to be expected that I'll have some failures here and there.

Anyway, for the most part, I've been very successful in my breeding endeavours this year, a few of my favorite breeding successes from 2017 include:

Pyrophorus noctilucus (*)
Corydidarum pygmaea (*)
Eurycotis improcera (*)
Balta notulata (*)
Oniscus asellus "Mardi Gras Dalmatian" (*)
Polyphaga saussurei (*)
Panchlora sp. "White" (*)
Drymaplaneta semivitta (*)

A few of these were species it really looked like I was going to lose from my collection, but luckily they rebounded, and their numbers are on the rise! 😄

And let us not forget my breeding failures too, quite sad I wasn't that successful with these, but with each failure I experience, I learn something new, so I am thankful for the time I had with each of these species:

Stenopelmatus sp. (*)
Latiblattella lucifrons (*)
Melanolestes picipes (*)
Deropeltis sp. "Jinka" (probably)
Chorisonera texensis (for the second time!)
Alobates pensylvanica
Dorylaea orini (*) (but I've got another batch now)

I am very excited to see what 2018 has in store for me and my collection, hopefully I'll be getting some pretty cool invertebrates in the spring! 🙂

Well, that's gonna do it for today, I hope you all enjoyed this year's posts, happy New Year's eve everybody! 😉


Friday, December 22, 2017

Roach Babies & Pystalla Ups and Downs!

Well, the other day I was checking on my Balta vilis, and I found several 1st instar nymphs in the enclosure! 😄 I haven't even seen any oothecae yet, so I was a bit surprised! So far these have been just as easy to rear as Balta notulata, (which I have over 100 of now...). Unfortunately, I am unable to get any pictures of the new nymphs, because they are just way too small and fast.

Speaking of roach babies I didn't get pictures of, my Panchlora sp. "Speckled" females have started to give birth, found some tiny nymphs in the substrate the other day! 😃 These things breed fast!
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I redid my Corydidarum pygmaea enclosure last week, as the top layer of substrate was just frass and old sheds, (which this species does not eat). So I replaced the substrate, and I also added even more ventilation and a small rotten log, to try and mimic this breeder's setup. As you can see, he has gotten his to breed very prolifically, and I think it either has to do with the sheer amount of ventilation they have, (he keeps his main colony in a large kritter keeper with cloth or parchment paper? spread over the top in between the lid and the container, so the roaches can not escape), or maybe the logs he has in there, (I have observed mine boring into small rotten wood chunks a couple times before).

Anyway, I'll do whatever I can to increase the productivity of my colony, so here's what their enclosure looks like now, (ignore the mold on the log, that is typical post-sterilization mold, it'll be gone after a few weeks):



















And pictures of a tiny nymph and an adult female:





















Also, the nymphs from the second litter that my original females gave me have all started to mature, and a couple months faster than the nymphs from their first litter! (only took them six months instead of eight). I attribute this to increased temperature levels.
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My Pystalla horrida have had it rough lately, they have absolutely refused to eat Hemiblabera tenebricosa adults, (presumably because they aren't that active), and after leaving some H.tenebricosa adults in with them for a couple days, I was horrified to find that they bit off both of the antennae from one Pystalla adult, and bit off one antenna from two of the others! 😰 Needless to say, I will not be feeding them Hemiblabera anymore.

Luckily though, it seems that adult Pystalla will eat prey much smaller than themselves, (something I did not think they would do), and they have been eating Pycnoscelus nigra adults and subadult nymphs!!! I have an UNLIMITED supply of P.nigra, my colony has exploded lately, so if they keep eating them consistently, it seems my Pystalla worries are over! 😁 And yes, I have fed them Pycnoscelus nigra when they were younger, so I know for a fact that they won't turn on them like the Hemiblabera adults did...

Now I just gotta get them all plump and well fed, and I can begin harvesting eggs from my females!

Well, that is going to do it for today's post, thanks everyone for reading, happy holidays, will see you all next time! 😉

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Eurycotis Hatchings & a Couple Other Updates!!!

Great news guys, one or two of my Eurycotis improcera oothecae have hatched! 😁 Was getting a little worried about this species, especially after my Deropeltis sp. "Jinka" oothecae started dying off. The 1st instar nymphs of this species are quite large, which surprised me, considering the oothecae aren't that big.

Here are some pictures I took of the new nymphs:
















Really glad that I have successfully bred this beautiful species, hopefully these nymphs will grow up without any problems!
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My Lanxoblatta rudis are all doing well, and my adult female is getting pretty plump! 😊 It's hard to tell from my pictures, but she now has a hard time laying flush with the bark, hopefully this means she is gravid and will produce some babies soon!

Here are a few pictures I took of the subadult female and the adult female:



















Here's hoping I'll see some babies soon!
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My Porcellio bolivari are also doing very well, and I think one of my females may be gravid! So if all goes well, I hope to see mancae in the enclosure within a month or two, fingers crossed!

Here are a couple of pictures I took of one of my larger males on top of a female:












I don't know whether the male was trying to get a little action or was just resting, but in any case the female seemed rather oblivious to his presence.
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Lastly, I have re-organized my "Bug Closet", to maximize the amount of enclosures touching my heat cable, as it is getting cold here and the room temperatures are no longer suitable for breeding several of my tropical cockroaches. Somehow while moving everything around, I managed to create more free space in my closet, which is great since some of my species need to be rehoused to larger enclosures next month, (namely my Dorylaea orini, Blaberus sp. "Venezuela", Arenivaga bolliana, and maybe my Anallacata methanoides and Eurycotis improcera).

Anyway, here is a picture of the closet now:

















Here is the shelf above my closet:








And here is the floor of my closet:



















That's almost whole collection, minus my Cariblatta minima colony that is under quarantine in my bathroom, and my Parcoblatta divisa and Hymenorus sp. cultures, which are in the garage.

Well, that is going to do it for this post, hope everyone enjoyed, will see you all next time! 😉

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Anallacta Oothecae, Arenivaga Adults & Other Stuff...

My Anallacta methanoides have started laying oothecae now, and I am very excited! 😄 Once I get some offspring from these, I'll finally be able to spread this species around in the US hobby, there seem to be a lot of people interested in these now who will hopefully be able to keep them going in culture here for years to come!

Here are some pictures of one of my females laying an ootheca:



















Will keep you all posted on them!
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My Arenivaga bolliana have started to mature now, mostly males so far, but I think I saw one small adult female in there too! Gotta rehouse them now, I didn't realize they were so close to maturity, and their enclosure is way too small for the amount of adults I'll have! Also, there is a sizable Porcellio scaber colony in their current enclosure, and while they haven't caused any problems yet, I am afraid they'll attack any new Arenivaga oothecae, so I'll have to eradicate them all.

Also, one of my Arenivaga floridensis "White" females has finally matured, and there is also at least one adult male in there that molted recently, so I hope to have some offspring soon! 😊 Half of my starter culture ended up being males that were close to maturity, (which have all died off by now), all I have left is this adult female, one or two adult males, a pre-sub female, several pre-sub or subadult males, and a few small nymphs I haven't sexed yet.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the adult female:




















She's a real beauty, hopefully she makes a lot of oothecae for me! 😍
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I have some good news and some bad news regarding my Pystalla horrida. Good news, I finally got them to feed on male Blaberus sp. "Venezuela", which they really seem to like! 🙂 Bad news, they still won't eat Hemiblabera tenebricosa adults or nymphs. I only have less than 10 Blaberus sp. "Venezuela" males left, and my colony is way too small for me to feed off any of my females. I have TONS of the Hemiblabera though, so I really need the assassin bugs to start eating those instead.

I think part of the reason they won't eat the Hemiblabera is that they often play dead and are relatively inactive compared to the Blaberus, I may try dumping way more Hemiblabera than they could eat in their enclosure, since they will likely move more if they are always bumping into each other. If I do, I'll be sure to toss some fruit in there so the roaches won't turn on the assassin bugs.

Anyway, dietary problems aside, my last Pystalla nymph has matured and came out perfect, here are some pictures of it:



















Hopefully I can get them to eat the Hemiblabera soon, but I'm glad they are eating something at least! This has brought to my attention how minimally prolific my Blaberus sp. "Venezuela" have been though, so I should really look into revamping that colony...
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Lastly, I just cleaned out my Paranauphoeta discoidalis container, since most of the substrate was frass, redesigned their enclosure and added dead leaves and moss to the enclosure, etc. I have a lot more adults than I thought I did, so I'm expecting to have a population boom soon! 😁

I've also learned that the adults of this species seem to need vertical hides like eggcartons or bark slabs propped upright in order to properly form their wings. Took me a while to realize this, and as a result more than half of my adults have messed up wings. Most of the deformities are not very noticeable, just very slightly ruffled wings, others look really messed up though. But hey, at least now I know, and most of my newer adults are coming out with perfect wings now that I added some more vertical surfaces for them.

Here are some pictures I took of a few adults the other day:























With any luck I will have a big baby boom soon, as some of my females look like they are going to burst!

Anyway, that's it for today's post, thank you everyone for reading, will see you all in the next one! 😉

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Deropeltis Dilemmas & Other Invertebrate Woes...

Happy December everyone! ❄ ⛄ Unfortunately, it hasn't been the best December for my collection so far, but hopefully that will change as the month goes on.

First off, several of my Deropeltis sp. "Jinka" oothecae have molded over, when opened the contents revealed brown mush. I'm having flashbacks of my failure to breed Dorylaea orini, as the same thing happened to their oothecae. 😞 However, it's come to my attention that I may very well be the last person in the USA keeping this species, so if I lose these, who knows when I or any other US hobbyist will be able get them again!? 😱

I've taken all of the oothecae out of the main enclosure, and moved them to a 24 oz container with good ventilation, a thin layer of almost dry coconut fiber as the substrate, and bark bits and pieces of moss here and there, so if/when they hatch, the nymphs will have places to hide until I find them. I've also thrown in some Sinella curviseta springtails, because despite all my complaints about them, they do help in keeping mold levels down.

The container is on top of a heat cable, well, the heat cable is wrapped in newspaper and the container is on top of another container's lid, just to make sure the ooths don't overheat or dry out completely, like they probably would if I put the enclosure directly on the heat cable. I've been misting them lightly a couple times daily, as the heat still does dry things out quite a bit, and some of the ooths were starting to dimple a bit, (a sign of dehydration).

So far things are looking OK, I really hope at least a couple of these oothecae hatch. Unfortunately my adults are getting old, and most of the ooths my females are laying are either tiny or really deformed looking. Will keep my fingers crossed for some successful oothecae hatchings, that would be a great Christmas present! 😁
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Well, all but one of my Pystalla horrida nymphs have matured now, which is great! Sadly though, one adult came out with a completely bent and deformed front leg, and a deformed antenna. I doubt it can catch prey by itself now, so I'm hoping it will share meals with it's brethren, (which I've seen the nymphs do several times), otherwise I'll have to tong-feed it, and I rarely have success tong feeding things, (IDK if my hands shake too much or something, I've had a few predatory inverts attack what I have in the tongs, but they never seem to grab it...).

Also, none of my adults have fed yet, which worries me too, so there's that... I've got a few ideas on how to fix that situation though, so I'll keep you posted on them!
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My Pasimachus sp. "Arizona" pupa has eclosed, just in time too, since the day before it did there was a little mold growing on it! 😮 At first, the adult looked perfect, the elytra are nice and smooth, there are no dents anywhere, all that was left was for the elytra to finish inflating and cover the rest of the exposed abdomen. Buuuuuuut, they never did. 😑 I am not sure why, but the elytra do not fit the abdomen at all, and there is quite a bit of abdomen left exposed. Really sucks, wish I knew what I could have done to prevent it.

Anyway, here are some pictures of it, first as a teneral adult, then with the finished coloration:

















You can kinda see a little wrinkled, dimpled spot near the end of the elytral seam, I think that's where the elytra stopped inflating for whatever reason, and since that spot didn't inflate completely, they failed to cover the rest of the abdomen. Oh well, at least this deformity doesn't seem to hinder it's ability to survive much, it just ate a mealworm the other day.
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Lastly, I cleaned out my Cariblatta lutea enclosure, since they don't seem to be doing all that great, and there were a lot of dead bodies in that enclosure due to a previous accident. So, I cleaned it all out, put in some new substrate, (no sand this time), new hides, etc., so hopefully they'll start doing better now!

Also, my main Cariblatta minima colony just seems to be going downhill, doesn't look like they will beat the mites. So, over the next few weeks I'll be periodically removing a few roaches at a time, putting them in a quarantine deli cup with paper towel as the substrate to make sure no mites came with them, and will then put them in with the small group of adults I separated from the main enclosure a little while ago. Then, when all of the roaches are gone, I'll thoroughly clean out and sterilize the main enclosure, and place them back in it, since it is larger than the enclosure I'm currently keeping the mite-free C.minima in.

Anyway, that is going to do it for today's post, thank you everyone for reading, will see you all soon! 😉

Friday, December 1, 2017

Last Chance to Order!

Some shameless self promoting here, today, tomorrow and Sunday are your last chances to make an order from me in December, after which I'll be taking the "For Sale" page down until early/mid January. Just letting all of you know, have a nice day everyone, and happy December! 😁