Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Christmas Zombie Roaches (Pt. 3)

1/18/18 - 1/23/18
No changes.

My large nymph has molted successfully, only one more to go! 🙂 He's looking pretty good, I love the slight iridescent sheen that the nymphs have!

Large nymph several hours after molt

1/25/18 - 1/28/18
No changes.

My tiny nymph has finally molted, and has done so successfully! 😁 It's antennae still look screwed up, but the tarsi it was missing have all grown back, so hopefully the antennae will too after another molt. Now all three have molted, and seem to be doing well, I think I can officially declare that they are in the clear!!! (Knock on wood).

Tiny nymph a couple hours after molting.

1/30/18 - 1/31/18
No changes.

So, now that all three of them seem to be in relatively good shape, I think this will be the last post in the "Christmas Zombie Roaches" series, I'll give updates on them in the future like I have with the rest of my inverts, in more basic posts!

Well, that's gonna do it for today everyone, thanks for reading, will see you all next time! 😉


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    1. Me too, looks very unique! :) Just another reason why this species is one of the coolest in culture!

      Good to know! I only have two of the Idaho Coniontis adults right now, and like 5 of the big California ones, so I may have to wait until I rear some more to adulthood to catch the vibrating on film!

      I've seen three species total, one small species that seems widespread in SW ID, (adults average at about 11 mm), a larger species with wrinkled elytra found further north, (the two adults I had were around 15 mm long I think), and finally my new California species, (the largest of which was 17 mm).

    2. Calculations

      my deceased big Coniontis: est. 1-2 tapdances during active periods each day. Apparently somewhat diurnal

      my small garden Coniontis: est. 1 tapdance every several days when healthy. Now appears to be exclusively nocturnal

      The odds are in your favor if you are willing to stare down a bunch of tiny beetles at night.

      (I'm starting to think that you may be right about "laziest tenebrionids ever" for healthy specimens)

      Last night:

      Cool, the coniontis has finally decided to surface in front of me. Hopefully I can film it some more

      (beetle chews dried lettuce, goes back to sleep afterwards)


    3. My CA Coniontis adults are starting to die off, they don't seem quite as long lived as the ID species I've kept, though since these were WC, I suppose I don't know exactly how old they are. Anyways, they've stopped all tapping now, so I'll have to wait until I rear some new ones up to record their thumping.

      My two small ID Coniontis are still alive and well, but I'm beginning to think they are both females, as I have yet to observe or hear any tapping coming from them. I think it's only the males that tap, right?

      Haha, yeah they definitely seem to rest a lot for Tenebrionids! XD

    4. Approximately how long did the dead ones live? Wild-caught specimens are normally in the prime of youth, probably because the old ones get eaten.

      That research paper with Eusattus spp stated that females were never observed tapping. Of course, Coniontis is not Eusattus, and it may even be possible that Eusattus females will tap under specific but difficult-to-observe circumstances. The only scientific documentation on Coniontis tapping online literally consists of a short sentence at the end of the Eusattus paper stating that Coniontis was seen tapping by the authors!

      (of course, the fact that my old two-teneb cage with at least one female Coniontis and apparently no males never had any tapping observed suggests that Coniontis females do not tap or at least do not tap as much as males)

      What I like about the "laziness" of seemingly healthy Coniontis is that it's not the same kind of laziness that certain fishes employ: sleep all day, eat a few worms, continue sleeping for the next 5 days. Although the beetle does seem to spend certain nights inactively, it can be observed bumbling around aimlessly (in a good way)in underground paper caverns during many evenings.

    5. About 6-7 months in my care, I assume they probably matured in spring of last year, and just naturally die off annually. Here in Idaho, Coniontis adults probably last a little longer due to the fact that it gets colder, and they can overwinter. Eusattus and Coelus also seem relatively short lived in my experience, (compared to other Tenebrionids at least), with the oldest ones living a year.

      Good to know, for now I'll just assume only males tap then, after all it is usually the males that make some sort of noise to attract females in the invertebrate world, (though there are exceptions of course).

      Indeed, they aren't terribly inactive pet rocks like some animals, they just are "lazy" in comparison to some of the wandering Tenebrionid genera like Eleodes. :)

    6. My own mini-Coniontis back from summer still acts pretty youthfully, even though a front tarsus has vanished. Even the gigantic Cotinis has been quite feeble since fall, and its elytra are scratched up from being mistaken for a female and from wiping its rear end with those scythe-like tarsal claws.

      But then again, perhaps the local species have evolutionarily adapted to the perpetual sunny weather here in CA. Scudderia adults and nymphs in December? Yep, those eggs must not have been diapausing!

    7. Oh, and I forgot

      According to beetlesinthebush, African tok-tok darklings have females that answer the males with more taps. I was thinking that perhaps Coniontis and Eusattus females do tap, but only under circumstances that would make it hard to observe (ex: females answer males they cannot smell, but once in the same area they do not).

      The research paper said that females were never observed tapping, not that they do not tap. Perhaps if it were discovered that females lacked proper abdominal armor for drumming such a thing could be positively disproved. Of course, tribe Coniontini ain't exactly well-studied.

    8. I'll have to see just how long my ID Coniontis adults live, as I don't remember the exact longevity of the species here.

      It COULD be possible some artifact of my husbandry is causing my California Coniontis to die off early, but the only thing I can think of would be a lack of ventilation. I've got a male Eleodes hispilabris in there with them though, and that species is pretty sensitive to a lack of proper ventilation, yet he's doing well, so I doubt that's it.

      Overall I think the most likely cause of death is old age, but we'll see, we'll see. I'm actually getting a little worried about the future of my culture though, because I can't get any larvae to pupate for me, despite the fact they should be mature now, and I've tried several deli cup sizes and substrate mixes...

      Good to know, it does make sense that the females wouldn't bother tapping back within the confines of captivity, since they could easily find the males by just walking around a bit. Someone would need to construct a huge enclosure for them in order to know for sure whether females will respond to the males with tapping, (perhaps with a barrier of some sort to prevent them from walking into each other inadvertently before the female decides to tap back to the male). Of course, who knows if/when that'll ever happen.