Sunday, November 14, 2021

My New Diploptera & Pycnoscelus!

Junkai Package Series Pt. 1/2
Next post in series »»»

Thanks to the generosity of Junkai Wang, I've just received a package with a couple of neat roach species, as well as some misc inverts we'll cover in a subsequent post... But for now, let's focus on the roaches, starting with my new Pacific Beetle Mimics, Diploptera punctata! 😁 

The genus Diploptera is very unusual in that they are the only roaches that are truly viviparous, they don't just incubate oothecae internally until they hatch like most "live bearing" roaches, but actually internally develop individual nymphs, and also feed their newborns a kind of milk-like secretion (which of course, some people are researching as an alternative milk source for humans... because why not? 🙃). This method of reproduction is very unusual for an insect, and so they are one of the more intensely studied roach genera out there, (though almost all studies have been done on the hobby classic, D.punctata).

Junkai sent an adult pair of this species, which will hopefully breed well for me. This is from the old hobby line, not to be confused with the ones bred at Auburn University which have recently entered the hobby, which are noticably smaller and most likely a different locale of the same species. Not a lot of people still have Diploptera in the US hobby, so I really hope I can breed this species well and disperse them among fellow keepers to keep them in the hobby.

I have them set up in a moderately ventilated half gallon container with a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate, one third of which is kept moist, the rest bone dry. They eggcrate for hides, and I'm probably gonna add some leaf litter soon as well. For food I'm offering fruits, dog food and artificial pollen, and I'm keeping them at around 80F°.

Here are some pics of the two:

Adult male

Adult female

A very neat little species, hopefully they'll gain popularity again in time, would be really nice if we could also get some new Diploptera species into the hobby, maybe one day... For now though, if I can breed this species, that'll be good enough for me!

Now onto the other roach species Junkai sent me, Pycnoscelus surinamensis "Black". His colony was actually given to him labeled as "Pycnoscelus nigra", but he had actual nigra already and noticed these were definitely something different... While the exact origin of this stock is unknowns it's clear that they are P.surinamensis, just a dark strain (which I've seen plenty of myself when I lived in FL). Some of the individuals just look slightly darker brown than usual surinamensis, but most of them are nearly black. Reminds me of the darker individuals that sometimes pop up in Pycnoscelus sp. "Thailand" cultures (which makes sense, considering that strain is almost certainly surinamensis). They are smaller than typical hobby surinamensis or sp. "Thailand" though, more like the typical wild surinamensis I found in FL, (so I personally highly suspect this strain is of US origin).

I've got my few dozen individuals set up very simply, in a container filled with a couple inches of moist coconut fiber for their substrate. No hides needed since these are burrowers, and for food I'll be using dog food and fruits. For temps I'm keeping them around 75F°. 

Here are some photos of a couple adults:

I'm sure these will do just as well for me as all my other Pycnoscelus have, it's nice to have another distinct strain of surinamensis in culture. 

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! 😉

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