Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Rehouse & A Re-do!

So, a couple weeks ago, I started finding dead, half grown to large Gyna capucina nymphs in my enclosure. 😞 There did not seem to be any real cause, and the rest of the individuals in my colony seemed perfectly healthy, but I did notice that the nymphs were growing at staggered rates, with only a dozen or so medium nymphs in the enclosure, and the rest were all tiny, 3rd instar or so nymphs. The 5-6 dead nymphs were all found at various stages of growth, in different areas of the enclosure, some very plump, others flat as if freshly molted...

In case you all didn't know, Gyna capucina and some of the other Gyna spp. seem to spend a lot of time in the first couple instars, then suddenly go through big growth spurts, growing rapidly and then slow down again once they near maturity. Additionally, I've noticed that my capucina nymphs appear to almost exclusively stay within the "semi-humid" areas of the enclosure bordering the moist and dry areas of the substrate, while adult males like the bone dry areas best, and females stay in the more humid areas. This means that the large bone dry area and the most humid areas of the enclosure went largely unused by the largest population of individuals in the container, the nymphs.

So putting all this info together, I've determined that the most likely cause of the random larger nymph deaths was overcrowding, because they were short on space that they'd actually use, and it seems the smallest nymphs have been put on a "waiting line" to start growing, while a dozen or so are allowed to grow out more... Since competition for space was high, I'm assuming the larger nymphs bullied and attacked each other to the point of death in an attempt to create more space.

So, you wanna know what I did? I moved my entire colony to a 20 qt. gasket box, decked out with around four inches of substrate (just plain old coconut fiber), as opposed to the one inch layer they had before, and I'm using a vertical humidity gradient this time, which should give the nymphs a lot more substrate at their preffered humidity levels. The enclosure also has some more driftwood for the adults to climb around on, and I've arranged the bark slabs in a more vertical fashion too. Overall it should be their new, permanent home, and should solve this crowding problem. 😁

As a side note, during the move I found my two adult females, which looked pretty healthy, one subadult female, several adult males, some subadult males, and at least like 50 nymphs of varying sizes... It's hard to tell just how many there are, because most of them are tiny AF, and I can't really tell if any of them are offspring from my females, or just the ones that Seb sent me... Oh well, there's a ton of them, and they all look healthy, so that's all that matters, and with all these adults and subadults and this new enclosure I'm sure they'll be breeding well for me soon if they aren't already! 😄

Here's some pictures of that subadult female and the new enclosure:

The new 20 qt. enclosure.
Also, one last thing, the cotton springtails are really thriving in the G.capucina setup now, and are doing well as cleaners! Additionally they do seem a lot less pesky than Sinella curviseta, which is a relief! 😅

I'll be sure to keep you all posted on any interesting new developments regarding these pink bois, hopefully the nymph deaths are done with, and more nymphs are on the way! 😁

Haven't seen one of these two topic posts in a while eh?

Well my Bantua sp. "Namibia" females still aren't giving birth, but I think that's because they are "catching up" now that they've got so much more airflow, (I did add even more ventilation since my last post about them BTW), and are just starting to gestate larger broods, as at least one of the females is EXTREMELY thicc right now, and most of the others are getting thicker too! 😄 So at least things are headed in the right direction again... Also those nymphs I got from that one small litter have all molted at least three times already, and are doing fantastic!

Anyhoo, I noticed that my females that look like they're going to pop and the one that actually did seem to spend most of their time in between the horizontal bark slabs lying on the substrate next to the moist area... I'm using a heat cable to heat them so it's warmest on the floor of the enclosure as well. Additionally, based on what Seb and another friend have told me, while it's not NECESSARY, they do seem to like boring into rotten logs and such to create brooding chambers, much like Perisphaerus pygmaeus. They actually don't eat the wood, and in fact leave little sawdust piles outside their chambers.

Since my bark isn't especially curly, and I've got no rotten logs, I've made them some makeshift "houses" out of cork tile and hot glue, to kind of replicate that brooding chamber feel. I've also added little "moisture chambers" filled with wet coconut fiber that are attached to the little pods, and the walls which connect them have small holes poked through them so that the moisture can spread to the entire brooding chamber... So they'll have humid retreats even in the drier parts of the enclosure.
It's kind of a hard concept to explain, if they actually end up using them I'll take pics of them so you'll get a better idea of what they look like, but anyways I'm HOPING some of the females may start using them to gestate in, as they are humid, dark retreats which are on the ground and thus quite warm, and the space inside should be nice and cozy for them. To make them fit I had to re-do the enclosure, and I moved the bark in there around to create better spots for the females, so hopefully all this will aid in their gestations greatly.

I'll also probably be keeping them slightly more humid, and will both increase the size of the moist area in their enclosure and lightly mist the entire enclosure every feeding day, (which will probably evaporate completely within a few hours), since the added ventilation is drying things out much faster.

Here's a picture of a random adult male for your patience:

So hopefully all my females start plumping up even more soon, utilize the hides I've made them, and FINALLY start giving birth to large litters consistently... We'll see, I've basically done all I physically can at this point with the materials available to me, hopefully my work will pay off! 😅

Well, that's gonna do it for this post guys, thank you all for reading, take care, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉