Thursday, June 30, 2022

Interesting New Isopods & a Purple Soil Centipede

Magnificent Beasts 2022 Package Series Pt. 2/3
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For this post, we got three non-roach inverts from Brandon's package to cover! 😁

Let's start off with one of the isopod species he sent, Armadillidium maculatum "Yellow". This is a color forms of A.maculatum, the "Zebra Roly-Poly", where instead of white stripes/spots on their backs, they've got yellow ones instead. An odd mutation for sure, but a really cool one! πŸ˜„

I've bred this species in the past, and care is pretty standard for Armadillidium. I've got my dozen or so set up in a moderately ventilated container with an inch or so of coconut fiber as the substrate, topped with leaf litter and bark hides. I'm keeping them semi-humid, and at room temps for now. I'll be offering dog food occasionally as their supplemental diet.

Here are some pics of them:

Definitely a pretty morph, and one I hope does well for me! 😁

Next up, he sent me 5 Cubaris sp. "Amber". These are very pretty isopods, I was skeptical of the pictures I've seen, but as usual these things are much prettier in person. 😍 The three largest are males, so I'm hoping at least one of the two smaller ones I haven't sexed yet are females.

I've got them set up in a well ventilated deli cup, with half an inch of used Macropanesthia substrate (so old coco fiber, bits of leaf litter and roach frass), and more leaf litter, spahgnum moss and bark hides piled on top. I'm keeping them humid, and at room temps. I'll be feeding them dog food as their supplemental diet.

Here are some pictures of one of the larger ones:

Such cuties, I really hope they'll breed for me! 😁🀞

Now, I saved the best for last. Brandon's been breeding these for a few years now, and while his colony growth has been exceedingly slow, their numbers are indeed growing... Introducing, the Giant Purple Soil Centipede, Titanophilus sp. "North Colombia"! 😁

Now, most readers here are probably familiar with soil centipedes, Geophilomorpha, as being very thin, wiry, small creatures only a few inches long at most. Most common species/genera are orange, yellow or red, and can be found in a variety of habitats ranging from forest leaf litter to under rocks in dry scrubland. They're usually exceedingly fragile, and it's not uncommon to tear them in half when attempting to collect them.

The tropical Titanophilus spp. break those norms, with some species reaching 10 inches or more in length, and range in coloration from black to purple. They're usually pretty chunky for soil centipedes as well, and while young ones can still be fragile, larger individuals can be handled gently with little danger of harming them. Despite their collosal size for a soil centipede, they still can't really pierce human skin, and don't even try biting when disturbed. Their venom is probably rather weak anyways, and in captivity at least they seem to mostly be scavengers.

They are communal and can be bred and reared together, so long as there is adequate space, deep enough substrate, and enough food to keep them happy. This makes them one of the easier to breed centipede genera, and it only takes them around a year, two years tops after hatching to reach sexual maturity, depending on the temperature and frequency of feeding. They spend most of their time underground but will come to the surface at night to feed, and it seems the best thing to offer them is prekilled, cut open invertebrates. They can't pierce the exoskeletons of most common feeder inverts, and so the prey must be cut open or smashed, with the guts exposed. When the centipedes find the prey they'll hollow it out, leaving the empty exoskeleton behind.

This particular Colombian species is pretty colorful, immatures are brown with translucent purple sides, undersides and appendages, but larger individuals turn purple all over, with their sides changing to brown apparently. Quite the pretty species, though their eyeless, chonky, smooth conical heads have caused me and Brandon to give them the silly moniker "Purple Peckerpedes™" as a little inside joke... πŸ˜‚ Doubt that'll catch on as the official marketing name for these, but I mean... Look at them. πŸ™ƒπŸ€£
These seem to max out at around 6-8 inches, though it's possible some massive specimens might get a bit longer than that with very diligent care and feeding.

Now, unfortunately when digging through his colony to find some to send to me, Brandon couldn't find all that many (mostly because they're fantastic hiders), so he only sent me one. However we're pretty confident it's female based on how chonky it is, and Brandon says this is about sexual maturity size, so she may be mated already, we'll see. 🀞😁 Of course, the next day after shipping my box out, he found several individuals roaming around his colony, including a young male... πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‚ So worst case scenario I should be able to get a male from him at a later date if need be, and his colony thankfully does seem stable ATM. πŸ˜„

I've got my gal, who I've named Mukade Chōrō (fellow weebs will know why) housed in a moderately ventilated container with a couple inches of compressed coconut fiber as the substrate, which I'm keeping humid. I'm offering prekilled, cut open inverts as food, and am keeping her at around 75-78F°. So far she's doing great and ate an entire half of an Eleodes hispilabris larvae the other day. 😊

Now, here are some pictures of my precious Mukade:

Can't wait until the purple coloration creeps to her back! πŸ’œ Now, fingers super crossed she's mated and gravid, she may only be 3.5 inches or so in length, but she could in fact be sexually mature! 😁🀞 

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Some Returning Roaches from Brandon!!!

Magnificent Beasts 2022 Package Series Pt. 1/3
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Got an amazing package from my buddy Brandon Maines of Magnificent Beasts. 😁 He's preparing to get back into the game and start selling inverts again, so hopefully he'll start taking orders again within a month or so. πŸ€žπŸ˜„
In this post I'll be discussing species of roaches I just got from him that I used to keep before (and one I was already culturing currently).

Let's start off with an old favorite, my old strain of Arenivaga bolliana from "San Antonio, TX", collected for me by an old friend circa 2016. When I left the hobby in 2018, I sent my fairly large colony to Brandon, who bred them quite successfully for another couple years after that. However the culture has been slowly fizzling out on him for some odd reason, but luckily I asked for them in the nick of time, and he's sent me most of the colony to try and restart them. 

I've got my two adult females, ~8 small nymphs and two viable ooths in a very well ventilated container with a few inches of coco fiber as the substrate, with leaf litter on top. I'm keeping half the enclosure humid, half dry, and keeping them fairly warm (75F°). I'll be offering dog food as the staple diet, in addition to the leaf litter. Hopefully these will pull through and breed just fine for me, though I may have to sex the nymphs from a fairly young age and cool the males to sync them up with the females. πŸ˜…

He also sent a couple adult females of another Arenivaga species, though one I already own, Arenivaga sp. "Mt Ord". Reason being, despite the fact he's 95% sure these females were in the presence of several adult males, and look quite plump and gravid, they just will NOT lay oothecae for him. I know the feeling, as I've long had the same issue repeatedly with A.tonkawa (a curse I have recently lifted though! 😁), hopefully I can get these females to breed for me. 

I've dumped the females in with my other nymphs, specifically the container I have my female nymphs and one subadult male nymph in (the rest of my male nymphs I have in a different container, they're being kept cooler than the main culture since the males of this species seem to grow quite a bit faster than the females). So worst case scenario, within a month that one subadult male will probably be mature, and can mate with these adult females if by some small chance they're not currently fertilized.

Here are some pics of the females:

Such a pretty species, fingers crossed these females pop some ooths out for me soon! 🀞 πŸ˜…

Next, I got a starter colony of Plectoptera poeyi "Big Pine Key, FL", the Florida Beetle Mimic roaches! 😁 The ones I sent Brandon last year have bred quite well for him thankfully, he's the only person I sent them to who had success with them. 

Evidently the key to his success is just not having a million springtails get into their 32 oz deli cup, which has a cloth mesh lid. Thankfully he had some of those delis to spare, so I asked him for one along with the starter colony, so I can set them up identically to his. πŸ˜… Hopefully round #2 goes better for me with this species, and I can get them past a couple generations in my care!

I also got a starter colony of the beautiful Panchlora sp. "Costa Rica - Yellow". Just because they were my second favorite Panchlora species to keep (the first being sp. "White"), and they do well for me. Not a ton of people have them ATM so figure it can't hurt to have another colony out there. πŸ˜„

I also asked for a couple Deropeltis sp. "Masai Mara" ooths, a species that has done very well for Brandon but I can't hatch for the life of me... Brandon's been keeping his quite humid, and thinks my failure with hatching their ooths in the past has been due to me keeping them too dry. So this time I'm keeping these ooths super humid, but warm and well ventilated too. We'll see if I have any luck this time, if keeping the ooths too dry was my only mistake with this genus, that's gonna be funny and slightly depressing... πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‚

Lastly, but perhaps most excitingly, Brandon sent me a new morph project to try and isolate fully: Neostylopyga propinqua (African Bullet roach) "Bloody Bullet".
Brandon's African Bullet roach colony has been throwing out a lot of high red individuals lately, and so he picked out the reddest ones he could find and sent them to me, to try and isolate and further refine the high red coloration on them. The morph name "Bloody Bullet" is super cool IMO, and I hope to do that name justice by isolating out a very red line of this species! 😁

I've got them set up in a moderately ventilated container with a thin layer of coco fiber as the substrate. They've got bark hides, and I'm keeping them fairly humid, at around 75-80F°. I'm offering dog food and fruits as the main diet.

Here are some pictures of a couple nymphs, and a couple adults:



The nymphs are VERY high red, like, they have much more red coloration than I've ever seen in my old normal colony of this species. And while I used to have a few reddish adults pop up in my normal colony from time to time, these adults of Brandon's have a much redder base coloration, especially on the abdomen, with lighter red blushing extending from the thorax well into the abdomens as well. 

Hopefully I'll be able to get a colony breeding true for this coloration, and perhaps intensify the red coloration on the adults in particular with selective breeding. 😁

Well, that's it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, stay buggy, and I'll see you all next time! πŸ˜‰