Wednesday, July 31, 2019

THICC Bantua Gal!

Okay maybe not "THICC", but plump as heck for sure! 😜 My oldest adult female Bantua sp. "Namibia" is looking very very plump right now, which likely means she's gravid, and one or two of the other mature females seem to be catching up in terms of weight, which is a great sign!

I've got at least five mature females right now, and it seems that the largest ones are also the ones taking the longest to get really plump. I've also got two mature males, one of which is already about a month old and still looks perfectly healthy, so it appears this genus is one with somewhat long lived males, as opposed to the closely related Perisphaerus, who's males seldom make it to the month mark.

So far the microfauna in the enclosure seems perfectly balanced, (as all things should be), there's a healthy population of the cotton springtails, a lot of Liposcelis sp., and somehow some small silver springtails got in the enclosure as well, and are breeding pretty well in the moist corner... There's also some sort of fast moving, shiny predatory/soil mite, (same type in the Gyna capucina enclosure), red Oribatid mites, and a tiny population of grain mites that seems to dwindle with every passing week...
Probably one of the most varied microfauna groups I've seen in any of my enclosures, but they seem to exist in perfect harmony with each other, and more importantly, don't bother my Bantua, so that's great! 😁

Anyways, here are some pictures of my plumpest female, which is the same one featured in this post BTW!

My female and her little friend, a cotton springtail.

As you can see, most of her already thin waxy coating has now been rubbed off, the same happens to most adult females over time. Hopefully she'll be giving birth soon, time will tell I suppose! 😊

By the way, bananas definitely seem to be the favorite food of my colony, seconded by chick feed, with apples being their least favorite...

Well that's gonna do it for this post, hope everyone enjoyed, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😜

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Roaches In The Pink

In the pink, meaning "in very good health and spirits", which certainly seems to be the case for my Gyna capucina. 😜 Yes, my pink roaches are doing very well, the smaller nymphs are eating, molting, and appear to be thriving in the setup, seeming to prefer the drier areas of the enclosure.

The lone adult male is still alive, and while his wings appear a bit tattered, and he doesn't hold his antennae as straight as he used to, he's still pretty active and agile. I sincerely hope he is still fertile and can breed, because guess what I just found in the enclosure near the feeding area? That's right, an adult female! 😁

I knew one of the larger nymphs I received was a female, but I wasn't expecting her to mature so soon, fingers crossed it was soon enough for her to mate with the adult male before he gets too old, because I'm pretty sure no other nymphs are close to maturing... I mean I've got tons of tiny nymphs, so I'm sure I'll have a breeding population in a year anyways, but it'd be nice to get some offspring from this female as well.

Anyways, this female is quite beautiful, but not nearly as pink as other females I've seen, (this species appears to have quite variable adult coloration). The base coloration is pink but she's covered in lots of brown/black mottling, I don't know if I've ever seen such a dark looking G.capucina female before. I personally like the look, but I may attempt to refine the pink coloration in this strain in the future, so that most individuals are a more solid pink, (similar in theory to the more refined G.lurida "Yellow" strain Roachcrossing sold in the past).

Well, here are some pictures I snapped of both adults, (mostly the female obviously!):

The adult male

Now the BEAUTIFUL adult female!!!

This one's SO similar to an old pic of my male...

She's so pretty isn't she? And a lot bulkier than the male too! She seems very healthy, and will hopefully mate with the male and produce some babies for me soon! 😊

I would also like to note that the grain mites these came with have been virtually eradicated, however the cotton springtails appear to be breeding somewhat minimally, and it appears a type of fast moving predatory/soil mite has taken root in the enclosure, looks like a species I've run into in the past... Luckily they don't tend to bother roaches, especially burrowing ones, so the Gyna should be fine, really all I care about is making sure there aren't any large populations of grain mites in the enclosure, and it seems I've accomplished that, one way or another!

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

Monday, July 15, 2019

Full Circle

Most of my Apsena sp. "Kuna" larvae are at their mature size, and thus I've been moving many of them to a pupation enclosure, (which is just a 16 oz Tupperware with an inch of moist, compressed coconut fiber, and a little bit of cross and lid ventilation).

Now I showed a photo of a pupa in my last post, which then molted into an adult on the 4th of July. Seems it takes pupae 6-8 days to develop on average, which is pretty dang short. Then again, the room they are being kept in is pretty warm during most of the day, around 85-90F°, so that could be accelerating their growth quite a bit.

Interestingly, the teneral adults can take 2-3 days to darken up completely, (depending on the ambient humidity), which is a bit unusual, because in most Tenebrionid species I've kept, teneral adults gain their final coloration within 24 hours no matter the humidity, (though they take much longer to harden completely).

So all in all, it seems the time spent from egg to adult is only around 2-3 months, which is pretty short for a desert dwelling Tenebrionid. At 80-90F°, eggs take 1-2 weeks to hatch, larvae mature in about a month and a half to two months, and pupae only take around a week to develop, with adults taking another few days to darken and harden up.

Anyways, here are some pictures showcasing various stages of development!

Mature larva

Freshly molted, teneral adult:

Day old adult

Fully darkened adults:

Well, that about sums up my experience breeding these little cuties, hopefully this series of posts proves useful to anyone planning on breeding Apsena spp. in the future! 😁

Well that does it for this post, I hope everyone enjoyed it, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😉