Sunday, April 25, 2021

Further Ammopelmatus Frustrations...

Man, I know Ammopelmatus haven't really been bred with much success in the past, but not having any knowledge of proper post breeding husbandry for females can really make a keeper wanna pull their hair out... I'm sad to report that my second mated A.pictus female also died prematurely, I assume due to being eggbound, so once again I had to cut the eggs she didn't lay out of her abdomen once she had passed. 😑

This time, the female at least laid 5 eggs herself before dying, which is a higher amount than the other female laid, (formerly I thought the previous, smaller female only laid 1 egg before dying, but I found a second egg in her old substrate recently, so that brings her total of laid eggs to 2). I'm quite disappointed that I couldn't get this larger female to lay eggs normally either, but at least the eggs still within her seem just as developed as the ones she laid, so I am again optimal that they'll all hatch. I got a total of 37 viable looking eggs from this female (surprisingly, there were more empty dud looking eggs inside this female than in my smaller female).

So, if this second female truly died from being eggbound like the last female did (which seems to be the case at first glance), then it would seem that after a successful mating, female Ammopelmatus should be fed VERY infrequently, if fed anything at all. Maybe one big meal right after mating, and that's it... 🤔
Either that, OR A.pictus have different care requirements than the SoCal Ammopelmatus I'm used to keeping, and are actually just a finicky species with very particular substrate and/or humidity requirements for oviposition... 🤷 Hard to tell, considering there is no real baseline for difficulty levels between different Ammopelmatus species, and this is only my second attempt at breeding this genus... That's another reason why I'd really like to get my hands on some more species soon, the more experience I get with a wide variety of Ammopelmatus species, the better chance I'll have at cracking the code to creating a repeatable breeding methodology. 

Also, unfortunately both my adult males have passed away now, I honestly assume due to old age, Ammopelmatus males don't live terribly long as adults and these were WC as adults, so who knows how old they were. It's possible shipping them as adults may also have contributed to a shorter lifespan, I don't like shipping adults of most inverts for that reason, but in this case it was necessary to get them into culture. Sadly, this means my subadult female will go unmated, which is unfortunate, but I'll at least get a better idea of how long this species typically lives as adults, since I'll have reared her to adulthood myself and can fully document her adult lifespan. 

Here are some pictures of my subadult female, never showed her off after she molted to a subadult in my care:

As you can see she's got some grain mites attached to her legs and around her eyes, a little unsightly, but nothing serious, I've inoculated her enclosure with predatory mites which will hopefully eliminate the problem. 

In any case, my main hope is that all these eggs will hatch, in total I have 78 viable looking eggs, so if I can hatch the majority out, this will still be a huge win for the fledgling Jerusalem cricket hobby! 🤞😅 I'll have plenty of individuals to test different methodologies on myself, and may be able to send some off to other interested parties as well. I honestly suspect getting the eggs to hatch will be the easy part, the only hurdles I see going forward will be rearing the hatchlings, (something no one seems to have done before on account of a lack of captive hatches, so IDK how difficult it will be), and breeding the adults again in the future; hopefully I can figure out how to prevent the females getting eggbound and/or how to induce proper oviposition. I almost wonder if female Ammopelmatus truly ARE supposed to oviposit all their eggs at once in a little chamber like the old (but mostly outdated) literature says, because all the viable eggs inside these females were at the same stage of development, which I feel is unusual for eggs laid only once a day or so... 🤔 But everyone who's kept them in captivity and has gotten eggs from their females always reports them laying eggs singly throughout the substrate, so IDK.

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

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