Saturday, January 25, 2020

Fourth Bantua Birth!

A couple days ago, (the 23rd to be exact), I checked on my Bantua sp. "Namibia" colony and found another female using one of the cork hides, surrounded by newly birthed but fully hardened nymphs, which I assume were hers... So we have yet another brood! 😁
I think my colony is set now, definitely seems like I have their care down, so now just to establish my colony enough to start spreading them around in the hobby! 😄

Well, that's it for this short update, thanks for reading, I hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Third Bantua Birth!

I've got good news and better news for you lot today regarding my Bantua sp. "Namibia" colony! 😀

So, upon further inspection, it seems there are at least 7, maybe 9 nymphs from last week's brood, so that brood was actually a decent sized one, almost makes me wonder if two females gave birth on the same day... Every single one seems very healthy and they all look like they're going to molt soon, so overall they're doing great!

However in even better news, yesterday while I was doing maintenance, I looked inside one of my corkboard hides, and found a female surrounded by pale, soft, newborn nymphs! 😁 I counted at least 5 nymphs around her, however it's entirely possible, nay, probable, that there were more I missed out of sight within the hide... 😃 I could also see the remnants of her ootheca within the hide, and it seems one nymph did fail to develop correctly and never hatched, but that's a somewhat normal occurrence in Blaberid broods.

I regret not getting any photos of the nymphs while they were still pale and new, but I really didn't want to stress them out any more than I already had. 😅 In the future when my colony is bigger I'll try to get pictures of any freshly born nymphs I find!

So anyways, it seems I was right in my hypothesis that my females all started gestating shortly after I added more ventilation to their enclosure over three months ago, as it seems I am now getting births on the regular. 😁 Let us hope that in no time, I will have a fully established colony of these cuties!

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

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Second Batch of Bantua Babies!!!

So this post should have come out a couple days ago, but alas, complications arose, ensued, were overcome, so let me just start by saying, we've got more Bantua sp. "Namibia" babies!!! 😁

One of my females just gave birth, like I have been expecting them to, since it's been a little over three months since I gave them a significant boost in airflow, which I assumed would make them all start gestating normal broods. Just a couple days ago, the night of the 10th to be exact, I opened up their enclosure and right at the top was a little first instar Bantua nymph! 😄 I rushed to check the rest of the enclosure, and found several more nymphs, but once again, the litter appears to have been a small one, the total I've been able to find so far is five... 😕

However, I've been asking around, and according to data compiled from four other breeder's, apparently anywhere from 5-15 nymphs is considered the norm with this species, with the females' first litters usually containing only half a dozen offspring, (their second litters are usually larger, with 10-15 nymphs being the norm). So then, the amount of offspring I've received from my past litter, (6) and this one, (at least 5), may actually be normal, (for my females' first litters at least).

This begs the question though, did I even NEED to add more ventilation in the first place? I originally thought the small litter size from my first brood was due to lack of adequate ventilation, which is why I added more... However, this recent birth happened almost exactly when I thought it would, based on my assumption that the females would have started gestating properly immediately after the airflow was increased, which seems to insinuate that increased airflow was necessary for proper gestation.
So either; A) The first birth was an abnormality from my first mature female and increased airflow was needed to get the other females to gestate properly.
Or B): The airflow didn't need to change at all, and for some reason my other females are taking around six months to finish gestating instead of three like my first female, and the timing just happens to correlate with my prediction of them giving birth around this time...

I don't know which one is correct, if all my other females that look gravid start popping within the next week or so, I'd assume the first scenario is the right one. If not, then there's probably something wrong with my husbandry, OR my first batch of individuals was screwed up somehow by being shipped, (in which case their newly mature and just birthed offspring should reproduce in a more normal fashion). Time will tell I suppose... 🤔

However, I have some sad news regarding this latest brood of nymphs... While checking up on them initially and counting them all, it appears I accidentally SMASHED and killed one of the first instars between two pieces of decor... 😭 I very rarely accidentally smash my pet inverts, so it's always a quite disheartening event, and to have done it to one of my much anticipated Bantua babies is a real slap in the face... 😢 On the bright side, there are at least four more perfectly healthy offspring from the same litter still alive in the enclosure, and hopefully many more are on the way!

Here are some pics of one of the cuties:






















So dang cute, and I admit I hadn't really noticed the orange spots and borders on the sides of first instars until now! 😊 I hope these new babies are the first of many coming this month, and that they have as high as a survival rate as my first batch of babies did! (100% survival rate so far!). 😁

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

Monday, January 6, 2020

Well...

The rest of my Bantua sp. "Namibia" females still haven't given birth, but some of the offspring from the small litter my first female produced in September have already matured... 😂 Found two freshly matured adult females (and maybe one new adult male) on the 2nd. It took them about 3 months and a week to mature, holy crap is that fast!!! 😮 I totally thought these would take AT LEAST 6-8 months to mature, this species is very fast growing! They just take forever to gestate apparently, especially when you screw up the ventilation levels at first... 😒

Anyways, here is one of the recently matured females:





























The other nymphs are either sub-adults or pre-subs, with one straggler looking to be a pre-pre-sub. All my older adult females are due to pop any day now, so there's a lot of anticipation in the air here at the moment, I swear if these new adult females give birth before they do I'm gonna lose it... 😂 One or two of the older adult males are still alive too BTW, they seem pretty long lived.

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

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" = H.litomorpha, & H.reflexa Disscusion...

Another taxonomy post here, this time for species I've never kept in the genus Hyporhicnoda. 😄 Let's start with Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama", a species that's been cultured in the US for a couple years now, (I believe there's only one culture left, however said colony is apparently on the rebound, and the recent discovery of their love for large pieces of rotten hardwood may hold to the key to culturing them long-term...).

Now according to my research, there are only two species of Hyporhicnoda in Panama. One, H.humilior, has adult females with very rugose, textured exoskeletons, and a very obvious ridge going down the middle of the pronotum and remaining thoracic segments. This does not match the appearance of the female sp. "Panama" in the hobby at all.
The second species, Hyporhicnoda litomorpha, has females that are rather smooth in comparison (according to the original description), they lack the distinct ridge (carina) that species like H.humilior and H.reflexa have, and overall seems like the perfect match for the sp. "Panama" currently in culture.

See this sighting of a presumed H.litomorpha female from Panama, and compare to the below images of the H.sp. "Panama":

Male and female Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon 

Female Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon

Male Hyporhicnoda sp. "Panama" ©Alan Jeon











































So yeah, I'm pretty certain the H.sp. "Panama" being cultured in the US are Hyporhicnoda litomorpha, fingers crossed they'll be firmly established in the US hobby soon! 😁 Apparently these were found in rotten logs in the wild, and it appears all the Hyporhicnoda currently in the hobby greatly benefit from being offered large rotten hardwood chunks or small logs to bore into and feed on.
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Additionally, I'd like to address the identity of the two Hyporhicnoda "reflexa" localities, both of which are most commonly cultured in Europe. One strain is simply labeled as "Hyporhicnoda reflexa", and the other is labeled "Hyporhicnoda reflexa - Venezuela". Both are very similar to each other in appearance, but apparently exhibit slight behavioral differences, so they may actually be two different species, I'm not sure.

Anyway, according to the original description of Hyporhicnoda reflexa adults, the pronotum and mesonotum have a medio-longitudinal carina, this continued on metanotum in the females, (so basically a pronounced ridge going down the middle of their pronotum and upper back). Female with caudal margin of pronotum, mesonotum, metanotum, and dorsal abdominal segments minutely but conspicuously beaded. Both sexes a uniform brown color, males lighter than females.

Here's a line drawing from that paper, figure 8 is an adult male, figure 9 is an adult female:
























However, the females in that reflexa description appear to have been collected in Panama, and I believe they actually became the type specimens for H.humilior... (I'd know for sure if I could access this paper). The adult male was collected in Costa Rica however, and appears to have actually been reflexa.

On the other hand, the male type specimen, (which the above paper states is obviously a nymph, as adult males have fully developed tegmina), quite obviously has a distinct carina and beaded abdominal segments, and seeing as it's the TYPE specimen, and the adult male from Costa Rica also has a carina going down the pronotum and mesonotum, I think we can safely conclude that the adult females of H.reflexa likely also have a carina, beaded abdominal segments, and are probably quite similar to the male nymph type specimen in morphology:

©Cockroach Species File

















Now compare the notes in the description, the line drawing, and the male nymph type specimen to the adults of both "reflexa" strains in culture:

Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa" female ©Cafarnarium

Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa" male ©Cafarnarium

Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa - Venezuela" female ©Cafarnarium

Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa - Venezuela" male ©Cafarnarium
























































The males and females of both stocks lack medio-longitudinal carinae, their exoskeletons are relatively smooth in texture, (much like H.litomorpha), and the males are almost black, whereas the paper states that adult male reflexa are brown, and lighter in coloration than the females... Additionally, at least one of these stocks comes from Venezuela, which isn't especially close to the known range of H.reflexa... (Costa Rica and Nicaragua).
Also, see this subadult male of the captive "reflexa" stock here, it clearly looks nothing like the type specimen nymph above.

These are clearly some other Hyporhicnoda species, of that I'm sure, and while we still don't know what adult female H.reflexa look like, the description of the adult male and the holotype male nymph make it quite clear that these two Hyporhicnoda stocks are not Hyporhicnoda reflexa. As for their true identities beyond Hyporhicnoda spp., I'm not sure...
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Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post everyone, special thanks to Alan Jeon and Nicolas Rousseaux (of the Cafarnarium) for the use of their pictures! I hope you all found this post informative, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😉