Thursday, December 31, 2020

Invertebrate Dude: 2020 in Review

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! Man, this year's been absolutely CRAZY, has it not? The COVID 19 outbreak, a pandemic unlike anything I've seen in my lifetime, brought the world to a bit of a standstill for most, there was the outrage following the murder of George Floyd, with huge protests taking place all over the world as a result, and of course the presidential race here in the US as well... Just an absolutely insane, frustrating, sometimes downright heart breaking year... But it's had it's highs as well, especially as it's been coming to an end, we've got vaccines being developed and distributed now for COVID 19, and a new president on the way, one can certainly hope next year will be better than 2020 in terms of world events. 

As far as the blog goes though, despite all the chaos and disorder going on in the outside world, my invertebrate collection actually saw a huge growth spurt this year. It started with me just going out and collecting stuff out in the field behind my housing development in Spring and Summer, lots of neat little native invert species I wanted to try breeding, some of which I bred successfully, others not so much... 😅 It was very nice getting out of the house and being in nature, something I've not done a lot the past few years due to health issues, but I was able to overcome some of those issues and go out collecting nonetheless, which I really enjoyed. Sadly, that field has been completely destroyed for housing development these past few weeks... So I don't know that I'll be able to explore the outdoors in 2021 as much as I did this year, at least, I'll have to go out quite a bit further from my house to find anything of interest... 

But moving on, in Spring I also re-acquired 7 Pyrophorus noctilucus click beetle larvae from Eric Maxwell, which were some of the last ones left in the US actually, and descendants of my old colony. I'm happy to say I was able to breed them very well, got tons of offspring and actually distributed 178 larvae to 18 breeders here in the span of half a year! 😁 So NOW they're definitely here to stay, I've made dang sure they won't be lost from US culture, something I should have done years ago, (last time I bred Pyrophorus I only sent them to a few breeders, and all but one lost their cultures). I dare say these may have been my biggest success story for 2020.

I was also sent a free pair of one of my dream species, Macropanesthia rhinoceros, from Peter Clausen at Bugsincyberspace, which was AMAZING! (check out his new revamped website BTW). 😃 Not only that, but I was sent some more awesome roaches and misc inverts from several of my pals in the hobby throughout the year; Eli Castro sent me those (hopefully) pure Princisia, thanks to Alan Jeon I re-acquired Hormetica strumosa, some Arenivaga spp., and was sent the ADORABLE Myrmecoblatta wheeleri and beautiful little Deilelater spp., fellow blogger coniontises sent me that Nyctoporis carinata female (still haven't seen larvae from her yet), and for the first time ever I received a package from Brandon Maines at Magnificent Beasts, which was packed excellently as I had expected! 😄 (I actually filmed an unboxing video but have yet to put it together, whoops!).
Also in the last couple months I received quite a few new roach species thanks to collaborating with Ty Randall of Ty Dye Exotics that aren't yet established in the US hobby, which I hope to help work on making more widespread in US Blatticulture next year! 🤞😉 

I also started posting much more regularly on Instagram, and it's been great, really hope to build up a larger following and community there, as I'm really starting to prefer it to Facebook, my social media platform of choice for the past several years. So if any of you have an IG account and are interested in seeing more content from me, do feel free to click my IG link on the top right side of this blog and give me a follow! 😄

Overall it's been a great year for my collection, I have had some losses here and there for sure, but I've completely shattered my self imposed limit of 10-12 species and have ended the year with around 50 species in my collection, with plans for lots of new acquisitions in 2021! 😅
I would like to thank all my viewers for sticking around and following my blog this year, I hope 2020 hasn't been too rough on you, and that 2021 will be much better and bring about lots of new species for the US invertebrate hobby! 😁 I'd like to end with some New Year's resolutions for 2021:

#1 I would really like to be more active on YouTube, now that I have a bigger collection and more to make videos about. Maybe I could do Q&As if I got enough subscribers? Just a thought, in any case I hope to post more frequently there next year. 🙂

#2 Branch out more into mantid keeping. Already working on that, but I'll need more feeders if I want to work with multiple species of mantids...

#3 Get more Perisphaerinae. Ideally I'd like to own every species available in the US and then some in 2021, seeing as this is my favorite roach group I would really like to focus more on building up a large Perisphaerinae collection. Unfortunately, this is difficult because they're not exactly the most commonly cultured roaches, especially in the US.

#4 Reach 1,000 followers on Instagram. I think this one's pretty doable, I got 500 followers in the past several months alone, hopefully by the end of 2021 I can double that, despite my primarily roach based posting... 😅

#5 Work out a better heating situation for my inverts. One 14 foot heat cable is not enough for my whole collection, I need to step up my game in that department for sure.

#6 Lastly, I'd really like to diversify my collection as much as possible next year, not only branching out into mantids, but maybe some more isopods, orthopterans, centipedes, arachnids, velvet worms, obscure insect groups, etc., I know I mainly specialize in roaches (because they're my favorite), but I'd really like to put the "Invertebrate" in Invertebrate Dude this year, if I only focus on roaches I may as well rebrand myself as "Cockroach Dude", ya know? 😂 Of course, I'm more picky about what non-roach species I'm willing to acquire, but this should ensure that I end up with some really neat species I think! 😅

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, and this year! Thanks for reading, I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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