Thursday, August 22, 2019

Goodbye Apsena! :)

Hey guys, hope all is well with you! 🙂 I just wanted to write this post explaining what happened to my Apsena sp. "Kuna" colony, because as a few of you may have noticed, they are no longer listed on my "Current Species List".

I was never really planning on keeping these beetles long term, I just wanted to see if they could be bred in captivity easily, (they definitely can), and wanted to get photos of larvae and pupae for science, as no one's ever bred this genus as far as I know, nor were there any photos of larvae or pupae in existence.

Well, I've accomplished all my goals with this species, and after rearing a few to adulthood I was planning on releasing them all back where I found them, but it turns out a few keepers wanted to continue on with breeding them, so I ended up splitting the colony in half and sending them to two US Teneb breeders, one of which is the author of the awesome blog, All About Arthropods, which I highly suggest you check out if you haven't already! 😁

So yeah, I am no longer breeding this species, but I did successfully rear around 50 adults, which is impressive considering I started the colony with half a dozen adults in late April/May... Definitely a fast growing, prolific and hardy species, which I hope will persist in the hobby for quite some time to come, thanks to the breeders I've sent them to!

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

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Small Bantua Update

My Bantua sp. "Namibia" are still doing well, no babies yet, though I'm expecting some any day now!🤞Most of my nymphs have matured at this point, with only 2-3 small nymphs remaining. Before they all mature though, I wanted to get some pictures of one of the nymphs fully covered in their waxy secretion, which appears to be unique to this genus. Well I'm happy to say that a week or two ago, I did just that! 😄

Here are a couple pictures of a subadult male, covered in the waxy secretion:













I think that male actually matured a couple days after that photoshoot, so I got those pics just in time! 😁 I'll be sure to keep y'all updated on any big changes with this species, fingers crossed my next post about them will be showing off some babies! 😊

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

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Caught in a Pink Romance

Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga ooh-la-la!
Want your pink romance! 😜

Seriously though, love is in the air in my pink roach enclosure, and the rest of this post explains why!

See, I knew my old adult male Gyna capucina was still alive, as we discussed in my last post about this species, I even snapped a couple pictures of him, as well as the newly mature female I found then. I was a bit worried about his fertility, and wondered if he might already be sterile due to old age, in which case I thought my female would die without mating, as I didn't think any other males were even close to maturing. That would obviously be a big waste of a female, especially since under optimal conditions they have quite large litters...

Luckily though, I was wrong, as when I was doing enclosure maintenance a couple of weeks ago, I found at least TWO recently matured, perfectly virile adult males! 😁 There might even be a third, but I only caught a glance before it buried itself rapidly, so it may have been the older male... In any case though, my female will DEFINITELY be fertilized soon, (if she hasn't been already), and should give birth to a bunch of nymphs if all goes well! 😊

Anyways, here are some photos of one of the the new studs! This time I tried a variety of backgrounds when photographing, to try and get the most authentic coloration I could, and while the ones with the white background may be a bit tough to look at, the true pink color of the males showed up best in those ones:


























Fingers crossed I can breed this species successfully, they are so, so pretty, definitely more so in person than in photos! 😍

Also, I've been meaning to feed both these and my Bantua some artificial pollen, as apparently Gyna love it, and seeing as Bantua are semi-aboreal, it seems reasonable enough to me that they'd come across pollen in the wild. Thankfully my buddy Brandon Maines at Magnificent Beasts just hooked me up with some, so I'll definitely be offering it to these two species regularly! 😄
It's quite a good supplement to the diet of a variety of roach genera, and palynivores like Pseudoglomeris magnifica or Hemithyrsocera vittata/palliata breed and develop far better when it's included in their diet. Brandon should have some more artificial pollen in stock right now for a good price, so if you'd like to add it to your roaches' diets, I'd hit him up at Magnificent Beasts. 😉

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

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! 😉

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tiny Pupa & Long Wings

Well, it's that time, my Apsena sp. "Kuna" larvae have started to mature! Most of them appear ready to pupate, and thus I have been moving larger larvae to a container with an inch of moist, compressed coconut fiber, and am letting them make their pupal cells within it. Since they are so small, I've decided to go for a communal pupating setup, and so far it seems to be successful.

No one's ever bred Apsena as far as I know, so I made sure to dig up one of the pupae for pictures, for science's sake! 😜 These are likely the first and only pictures of Apsena pupae in existence.

Without further adieu, here are the pics:






Don't worry about this one, I've put it in a deli cup with a thin layer of moist coconut fiber, should be able to develop just fine outside of it's pupal cell.

I can't wait until they all start maturing, at which point I will try to get pictures of the teneral adults! 😊
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Now for some even more exciting news, one of my Bantua sp. "Namibia" males has FINALLY matured! 😁 I've got two adult females now, so I'm definitely glad this male matured too, hopefully he does his job and mates with my females soon!

Here is the stud!

















Isn't he so sleek looking, almost like a little torpedo when his antennae are tucked in! 😄 Fingers crossed he fertilizes my females, and I can successfully get them to give birth! 😊

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