Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Ancaudellia hamifera Babies!!!

Well, this week is going fantastic in terms of getting offspring from my slow breeding Blaberids! 😁 This story starts with some disappointment though, last week we had a 16 hour power outage in my neighborhood, and sadly the day afterwards I found one of my female Ancaudellia hamifera dead on the surface of the substrate. I assumed it was due to heat stress, as the closet they were in probably got to a little over 75F. 

So I was quite upset about that, however, yesterday I just found at least 5 small nymphs in the container, and can't help but wonder if that female that died was my oldest one that I received as an adult, and she just gave birth as she was dying, because I doubt either of the females that matured in my care would be ready to give birth already. So not only did I get babies, but I also think my two remaining females are my youngest ones, which is good news as well!

Anyways, here are some pictures of one of the little cuties:

I am thrilled that I got offspring of this species, and this is the first Panesthiinae species I've actually bred! 😁 Hopefully my Panesthia and Salganea will start giving birth soon as well!

Also, was playing around with stuff to post to instagram, and I got this neat shot, sadly the lighting isn't great so I don't know if I'll be posting this one there, but figured I may as well share it here. 

As you can see, I've got an adult female Ceuthophilus gracilipes gracilipes, adult male Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big" and adult Pyrophorus noctilucus on my hand, was going with a "giant species" theme using the three insect groups I have the most interest in, cockroaches, orthopterans and beetles

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Lucihormetica grossei BABIES!!!

WOOHOO!!! 😁😁😁 Of all the roaches in my collection currently, the ones I've been most eager to breed are my Hormetica strumosa and my Lucihormetica grossei ("Mega Glowspot Roaches"), and I can now say that I have bred the latter!!!

I found a few first instar nymphs in their enclosure on the 27th, I haven't gotten a real headcount but there are at least three, and it does seem like it's a small litter, as it was one of the smaller females that gave birth and she didn't even look that gravid to begin with, (whereas my largest female is basically a walking sausage right now, so hopefully she'll give birth soon as well to a much larger litter!). But I'm not complaining, I'm just glad I got babies period, as my last attempt at breeding this species was unsuccessful on account of me receiving adults in the past, which handle shipping horribly. SO stoked I got babies from them to begin with, and I hope there is more where this came from!

Here are some pictures of one of the L1 nymphs:

So cute right? 😊 Really hope they do well for me, I love Hormetica and Lucihormetica, and really hope to be successful in breeding both genera!

Anyways, that's it for this update, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all in the next post! 😉

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ammopelmatus pictus Breeding Project: Failure

Well, I am quite sad to say that I seem to have failed yet again in breeding Ammopelmatus. 😞 Unfortunately, a mere couple of weeks after removing the eggs from my female A.pictus' guts, the majority of them rotted away. I believe I was keeping them far too humid, the substrate they were buried in got just about soaking wet a couple times, and it seems that Ammopelmatus eggs both hate excess moisture, AND a lack of airflow, burying them in substrate directly wasn't working.

I proceeded to uncover the remaining couple dozen eggs and placed them on top of the substrate, however the remaining eggs kept dying off one by one, and every time one died I'd panic and try to change something up, one week I would be keeping them room temperature, the next week more like 80F, one week they'd be humid and the next week almost bone dry, etc., and I think THAT was a huge mistake as well. 😓

I have a pathetic 4 eggs left that still look OK, I moved them off of the coconut fiber I had them on initially and put them on sand, which I am keeping pretty dry but misting very lightly almost daily. They are being kept at room temps and while they don't seem to be developing much, at least they aren't dying either. 🤷

Here are some pics of the eggs, back when I had more of them:

I think, based on all that I've seen thus far, that female Ammopelmatus probably DO lay their eggs all at once, in a brooding chamber as was stated in older literature, and that laying eggs singly in loose substrate is an artifact of captivity and improper husbandry. They are likely laid in an inorganic substrate like clay, sand or a mix of the two, so excess moisture isn't held, but they must be buried deep enough in the ground not to desiccate either, (trust me, being kept bone dry kills the eggs). And the temperature probably stays around room temp that far underground too, even in the summer.

So, in captivity a good idea IMO would be to use a clay/sand mix for at least the lower couple of inches of substrate in an enclosure for gravid adult females, so that they can make a proper brooding chamber and lay their eggs all at once, (which may prevent them from getting eggbound too, even if fed when gravid). Keeping the enclosure semi-humid is probably advised at least while the female is in there, but once the eggs are laid I think most ventilation should be cut off and the cage not watered much at all for a couple months, the substrate should hopefully retain enough humidity for the eggs to survive but not so much that they start rotting either. This will be vastly easier to do in a clay based substrate than a coconut fiber based one IMO. That'll be my methodology in the future when I try breeding Ammopelmatus again, and believe me, I'm gonna keep trying, with as many species as I can, until I can crack the code to breeding these critters! (or until I get too frustrated to continue).

So yeah, pretty sure I've failed with A.pictus, I'll let you all know if those last few eggs pull through, but I think I messed up too bad with incubating them properly early on. 😢 But hopefully I can figure out the secret to breeding this genus, and then try again with the beautiful pictus one day! Anyways, hope this post proved useful, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you next time! 😉

Monday, June 21, 2021

Life in a Log

Well, my Hormetica strumosa females, despite both looking quite gravid, just refuse to give birth, so I caved in and got some big, well rotted pieces of wood for them to dig into as they'll supposedly dig in and make brooding chambers and such inside, (at least that's what people say to do with Lucihormetica grossei). So we'll see if that helps get them breeding. 

Interestingly though, the wood I found had quite a bit of microorganisms in it, so I tried to extract as much of these as possible before sterilizing the wood for use for my roaches. Some of the creatures I collected are ones that I'd really like to culture, so let's discuss what I found! 😃

The first find is also one of the most exciting IMO, I found 2 "Two-pronged Bristletails", AKA Diplurans, in the family Campodeidae to be more specific, (good luck getting IDs past family, these things are severely understudied). While they have six legs, Diplura are not insects, but one of four classes in the Subphylum Hexapoda, with the other three being Insecta (insects), Collembola (springtails), and Protura (coneheads). 

I have my two set up in a 2 oz deli cup, with a bit of moist coconut fiber at the bottom, and some rotten wood chunks on top. According to Bugguide they aid in decomposition of organic matter, but they don't go into specifics on what they actually eat... So in addition to the rotten wood (which they may or may not eat), I'm offering them chickfeed and live springtails, since they might be predatory on small inverts, (at least, I believe some Diplurans are).

Here are some pictures of one of the tiny little things:

It'd be great if I ended up with a sexed pair or two gravid females, but I have no idea how to sex them, or how to tell when they are mature... I'd consider it a win if I can just keep them alive for a decent while TBH.

Next up, I found three of these Carabids in the wood, no idea which species or even genus they belong to, will have to post pics on Bugguide and hope for someone to give me a good ID.

I have them set up on a substrate of sand and a little coco fiber mixed in, and am keeping them pretty moist. They've got cardboard pieces to hide under, and I am feeding them chick feed, will probably offer pre-killed camel crickets too. 

Some pics of an adult:

Would be cool if I could breed them, figure this will be a nice side project to have going, since I would still like to hone in my Carabid breeding skills.

EDIT: These were identified as a species of Agonum (subgenus Olisares), by V Belov on Bugguide. 🙂

There were also quite a few earthworms (Eisenia sp.) and small millipedes (Julida sp.) in the rotten wood, both of which I've set up in a 32 oz container filled with spent Panesthia substrate and some chunks of rotten wood as well. I'll offer all sorts of organic matter as well, I'm pretty sure I've bred this millipede species before, never bred earthworms though, which I'd like to do since I plan on eventually breeding fireflies, and their larvae like to eat earthworms.

Last but not least, I found about a dozen individuals of a springtail species I saw years ago here in ID, but haven't been able to collect until now... These are a species in the family Tomoceridae (probably Tomocerus IMO), and are absolutely MASSIVE, silver springtails!!! 😁 

I have been wanting to culture these for years, and I'm glad I finally have the chance, I really hope they breed well, but not too prolifically, and can also withstand predatory mites culling them every now and then, because these would be amazing for keeping with roaches if so! Adults are about 3-4 mm long, 4-5 mm including antennae, which sounds small but is huge for a springtail, they put my Entomobrya unostrigata to shame, and those were the largest springs I'd seen besides these Tomoceridae beasts!

Here are some pictures of an adult, these guys are covered in little silver scales, and sadly while capturing them a lot of the individuals were partially denuded, (their scales were rubbed off), so this one doesn't look as pretty as they normally do. But after a molt or two the scales should all come back:

In the last two pics you can see one of the commonly cultured "Small Silver" springtails next to it, and while that small silver is about half grown, still puts into perspective just how MASSIVE these are for springs! Hopefully they'll breed well for me and I can establish them in my collection, and maybe spread them around in the hobby as well! 😄

EDIT: These were identified as Tomocerus minor on Bugguide by Collembola expert Frans Janssens

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

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Princisia vanwaerebeki: New Male Overview (PICTURE HEAVY!)

So, some of my Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big" nymphs are finally maturing (just as a newer, but far smaller batch of offspring was born), and sadly I'm a little less than enthused with how my adults look... Today we'll just be focusing on the males that have matured since they are most important for determining stock purity on account of their pronotum structure. Keep in mind that all these males, due to crowded conditions came out pretty small, so even the largest of these don't have spectacular or strong pronotum structure, thus the notches on some of them are pretty shallow compared to my first, large male.

Here's the first of the new males, which we'll call Male #2, (with #1 being the first male I started my culture with). Coloration is pretty nice, so is the pronotum structure, nice noticeable notch on the anterior margin:

That was a nice looking one, right? Well, here's a not so nice male, Male #3, who completely lacks any abdominal patterning, or even any thoracic pad spots, he's just completely reddish-black. Right away my suspicion is this is a sign of hybridization, however it's worth noting that the pronotum structure is correct for Princisia:

Now back to a normal looking one, Male #4. Abdominal patterning is a bit weird, the yellow borders just taper off halfway down the abdomen, but I'd say this is within normal variation, and the pronotum looks right too:

Here's another dark one, Male #5. However, unlike #3, #5 still has the faintest bit of abdominal bordering, it's just HIGHLY muted out, very hard to see unless you have the brightness turned up all the way on your device. No patterning on the thoracic pads though, but the pronotum looks alright: 

Now we come to the ones with the weirder pronotums... Male #6 was probably destined to be a minor male genetically even without being crowded, because in addition to his smaller size, his pronotum has the least exaggerated features of almost any P.vanwaerebeki "Big" I've seen, though the anterior notch IS still there... So looks pure to me, just a minor male:

Now Male #7 seems to have had an accident while molting, his pronotum is malformed on the left side, and didn't expand forward fully, (likely was being pressed against a hide or something as he was still soft and teneral). Despite this, to me it looks like he does have the notch on the anterior margin of his pronotum, even in this state, and if he had molted properly the notch would be even more apparent:

Lastly, we end on another dark male, Male #8. He completely lacks abdominal and thoracic patterning, and is a solid reddish black. The notch in his pronotum is quite shallow, but still definitely there. To me he looks the most Gromphadorhina-ish of any of my males so far based on the pronotum, but I think he falls within normal variation for this species pronotum structure wise:

So yeeeeeaaaaahhhhh... I really don't know if this strain is pure. I've also had a completely black adult female pop out, and I think the two female "nymphs" from my first group of five are actually adults, because they haven't molted since my last update on them, and I think one of them could have given birth to that small litter I just found in there... Either that or they are still nymphs but just stunted as all heck, I have a hard time telling with hisser females. I'll continue to monitor all new adults that pop up, and will likely send this post to Kyle at Roachcrossing for his opinion.

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, I'll keep you all updated, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and I'll see you in the next post! 😉