Thursday, March 11, 2021

My New Ammopelmatus pictus, & 2021's New Focus!

So, for those of you that don't know, I'm currently living in a hotel right now, in between houses... As such I REALLY shouldn't be getting any new projects, since we barely had enough room in our car to get my current collection into our hotel as it is... However, we just extended our stay here for at least another month and a half, and my birthday's coming up here in a couple days, so I said screw it, I can make an exception for this, 2021's new focus for me... Ammopelmatus spp., Jerusalem crickets. 

Recently the new world Stenopelmatidae were revised, by none other than David B. Weissman, and among other things, all US Stenopelmatus were moved to the genus Ammopelmatus, with true Stenopelmatus only being found south of the US border. A revision for Ammopelmatus will be published separately, hopefully sometime soon, and will finally put names to most of the undescribed species in the US.

Now, after years of pining for them, I've finally got a breeding group of what's been my dream Jerusalem cricket for a very long time... Ammopelmatus pictus! 😁 I traded for some from hobbyist Brendan Lan, (@spider_nerd on instagram), who collected these for me himself. In this group I've just received, I've got two adult females, one medium female nymph and a small male nymph, all from west Stanislaus County, CA. However, he'll also be sending me two adult males he just collected from San Joaquin County, CA, next week, so that way I can ensure my adult females are mated. Fingers crossed I can rear the two nymphs up and breed all the adults just fine! 😁
This is quite a small Ammopelmatus species, and occurs mostly in areas with cool to cold winters, so a diapause may well be needed for proper development of the nymphs. However, a diapause will be worth it for how pretty these things are when mature! 😍

I've got my current group set up in moderately ventilated containers, all with a substrate a couple inches deep of moist, slightly compressed coconut fiber. I'll be feeding them chick feed and invertebrate prey, along with fruits and veggies on occasion.

Here are some pictures of my group:

Adult female #1

Adult female #2

Medium female nymph

Small male nymph

Man are those adults beautiful! 😍 The nymphs will gain the beautiful dark markings on their heads and pronotums when they mature as well, the exact patterning differs individual to individual.

I came very close to breeding a SoCal species of Ammopelmatus years ago, so I'm hoping I can take that experience, refine it, and succeed in breeding not only these stunning A.pictus, but also other Ammopelmatus species that I will be getting this year. That's right, plans are already in motion to get at least two or three other distinct, unique species of Ammopelmatus this year, apparently breeding Jerusalem crickets is going to be one of my main projects in 2021. Should I succeed in reproducing them in sustainable numbers, I can actually work on establishing a dedicated JC breeding hobby, which is practically nonexistent ATM, and will hopefully be able to introduce several of the most distinct species to culture right away. It'll be a lot of work, and this is all assuming I can actually breed this genus in the first place, but it's an exciting project that I'm optimistic about. 😁

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

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