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! 😁

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!

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.

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! 😉


  1. Every now and then, I see a wild insect with incorrectly-formed wings. From cf. Tanystoma maculicolle to Jadera haematoloma, the potential is always there. Since Jadera has aposematic colors and many flightless adults, death by mismolt seems unlikely, and yet it is still uncommon.

    I am scheduled for a two-week trip (no internet) soon. It's a safe bet that Cotinis will starve to death in two weeks, and searching old roachforum stuff didn't help. How do you keep your delicate insects (Cariblatta, etc.) fed when away for very long periods? Cotinis isn't a desert darkling, so fruit would mold rapidly.

    1. Your best bet would be beetle jelly, that's how most beetle hobbyists keep their scarabs happy on trips and such, since it's longer lasting than fruit and doesn't mold.

      I haven't gone on any long trips in a few years now, so I haven't had to deal with that yet. When Kyle and Alan etc. go on collecting trips, they usually lose their Ectobiid colonies, in fact Alan sent me my Cariblatta minima, Latiblattela rehni and Balta notulata for free just so I could send him replacements one day, since he was going on a trip to AZ at the time. He did end up losing his C.minima and L.rehni cultures during the trip, luckily I bred successfully and sent him starter groups a few months later. :)

      This year though, he apparently found a way to keep his Ectobiids happy during long trips, but for some reason he didn't want to disclose what method he used...

    2. Ugh, I can't obtain commercial jelly for the same reasons I can't obtain cocofiber (DIY jelly is apparently short-lived outside the fridge).

      Some more delicious research papers:
      (it is possible to raise captive silverfishes)
      (only an abstract, but it shows that jumping bristletails are also rearable)

    3. Even better:

      His last comment on bugguide was in November, so contacting him about bristletail rearing might prove useful.

    4. Dang, I don't know what to tell you then, you could provide fruit but it will just mold and may cause more problems than starvation would. I wonder if you stuck it in the fridge, would it go into hibernation mode, or just die...

      Huh, nice articles, seems like silverfish should be pretty easy to rear then! Wonder how fine the paper has to be shredded, I always assumed they laid eggs in a rather particulate substrate, guess they don't...

    5. And now I am really curious as to how to house Bristletails successfully, as I failed with both Machilinus and one of the Petrobiinae spp...

    6. I don't think the shred size matters very much; as long as they don't lose all scales and die they should be fine:

      (American Insects states that they can simply be reared in oatmeal-filled jars, like mealworms)

      Of course, oatmeal is not very easy to keep moldless when moisture is being added, so a semiarid tenebrionid-style cage (dry coco coir, 1 dish for dryfood, 1 dish for fruit/veg, non-abrasive hiding shelters) seems like a safe bet.

      Whatever works for silverfishes is probably a good idea for bristletails (with species habitat preferences taken into account, of course). Would you mind telling me what your failed silverfish and bristletail setups were like (if different for each species, state which)? I have seen wild silverfishes in rocky terrain under logs; these were quite literally between a rock and a hard place, but still healthy and scaly.

    7. Free tasty roach book, if you haven't read it already:

      Roachforum has mentioned it before, but from the looks of it it wasn't free back then. You might want to post a link to it on the forum, as it is a fascinating, technical read.

      ResearchGate gives out plenty of free goodies C:

    8. Huh, good to know! Maybe that only applies to the household silverfish though. I caught two rather large silverfish here in ID in a scrubland under some rocks, kept them in an enclosure with some darkling beetles, dry coconut fiber with a moist corner, dog food as the food with carrots offered as well. They lived a couple months, but never bred. I could have just had two males or something, I don't know, their scales didn't seem to rub off much, if at all. Wish I had gotten pictures of them, I think they were a US native.

      I think bristletails must have more specific care needs though, because I kept them pretty much the same as I keep my desert Tenebrionids, (and even housed them with some a few times), and they never lasted more than a week. Dry coconut fiber with a moist corner, driftwood and cardboard hides, and dog food with carrots for the diet, that's how I kept my bristletails.

      Thanks for the link, I've had that book for years though, someone on the Roachforum sent me the pdf for free. :)

    9. The silverfish colony in my yard appears to be the same species as the one in my house, and neither of them seems to be Lepisma saccharina. If they can squeeze under logs and between brick slabs without issue, captive care should be easy :)

      The fact that yours only lived for several months is suspicious. Bugguide: "Young look like adults, develop slowly, live several years".

    10. Indeed, wonder why some people have problems with rearing them then.

      Who knows, maybe native species die off during winter as adults and overwinter as eggs/small nymphs? Mine died in December and were collected in mid-Fall. It's entirely possible they died due to improper husbandry, though I'm not sure what I did wrong if so...