Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Failed Projects of Summer/Fall

Well, it's about that time again, time to tally up some of my failed projects from the past few months.

First off, let's start with Zetoborinae, which have been a complete disaster for me this year.

The Capucina patula group I received earlier this year all died off after a couple months of me getting them... I even sent a pair to one of my friends, and they died on him too, so that species is apparently just a huge PIA to keep, not exactly sure what went wrong with those in the slightest... Their conditions seemed pretty adequate to me, and they had super smooth bark, the only thing I can think of is maybe the bark was actually too smooth... But I don't know, in any case those aren't getting established in the US hobby anytime soon... 😢

As for the Schizopilia fissicollis I received in the same package, those did a lot better for me, HOWEVER they kept hitting the subadult stage, and then would just up and die. So I sent my remaining three female and two male nymphs to my buddy Brandon Maines a month or so ago, and they already seem to be doing better for him, he's got several subadults that look healthy, and will hopefully mature soon. 🤞 So, those still got a chance in the US hobby, Interestingly he's noticed those actually are going for the more rough and bumpy bark slabs in his setup, not the super smooth ones, so yeah maybe those and Capucina like more bumpy bark hides than Lanxoblatta... 🤔

Lastly, my Phortioeca sp. "Ecuador" females just kept aborting every ooth they made, so I just sent those to Brandon as well, though unfortunately they're likely too old to do anything for him (though, he says two of them have gotten quite plump). Really not sure what went wrong with those either, they were easy to rear and keep alive, but my setup evidently was NOT adequate for breeding somehow... 😟 Thankfully Alan Jeon has a phenomenal colony of those going, and I think Kyle at Roachcrossing has bred his too, so those will likely be here to stay in the US hobby anyways for a while.

Sadly, my Rhabdoblatta parvula were exposed to some pesticides, and I lost basically all of them as a result... 😭 THANKFULLY I sent Brandon a pair months prior, which are nearing maturity, SO, if everything goes right, he should be able to breed those and establish them in the hobby no problem. 

I think I also exposed my R.rustica to the same pesticides, however there was still one healthy, gravid looking female, plus a couple males, so I sent those to Brandon as well, in the hopes he can breed them. 

Now this is probably the most heartbreaking update of the year IMO, and I'm really quite disappointed in myself over it... but I'm pretty sure I've completely failed with Epiperipatus barbadensis. 😭

The two smallest individuals died pretty early on, they got stuck in the goo of another velvet worm (presumably the big female), and both tore off an antenna in freeing themselves, which sadly resulted in their rapid deaths (velvet worms can easily get infected and die from even small wounds). These deaths were infuriating, but also kind of a horrible fluke, I'm honestly not sure what I could have done differently to avoid them getting stuck in each other's goo, other than keep them in a much larger setup, or keep them separately (neither of which SHOULD be necessary for the small group I started with).

Out of paranoia, I then removed and isolated the third small individual to prevent it suffering the same fate, however due to the heater in my place going out for a few days a couple weeks ago, I had to put my entire collection of inverts in big moving boxes, with heat cables inside and blankets on top to keep them warm. I basically didn't do any maintenance on anything for those few days, due to being busy with the whole lack of heat thing... In that time, while basically NONE of my other inverts were affected, the temporary enclosure of that one smaller velvet worm unfortunately got drier than is optimal, and the poor thing dried out and died. 😢 This is the death I'm the most mad about, because it's something that was entirely avoidable, had I just been more diligent with watering... 😡 Though to be entirely fair, again I was quite stressed and preoccupied with the whole heating situation for me and my family (especially considering it was freezing outside that week), so doing routine maintenance on the bugs was not priority number #1 at the time, I was more so concerned with just keeping them and myself warm.

Now, the last, large, hopefully mated female is still alive, and had been super healthy and plump looking this whole time, and real gluttonous too, so I was REALLY hoping she was gravid and would give birth soon. However, the other day I found a couple shallow but noticeable abrasions/wounds on her back, There's nothing alive in the container that could have damaged her (I only feed prekilled prey, and there's not many springtails in there either). I'm always very gentle while poking around too, so my best guess is she sprayed glue at the prekilled prey (which they always seem to do) near one of her hiding spots, got glue stuck on her back somehow, and then tore some of her skin off (looks like some of the glue is dried up and still on her back actually).

Considering how fragile these things are, even though it's a small injury, I'm chalking her up as a loss preemptively... Though I'll obviously continue to monitor and care for her until she passes, and she did just eat an entire subadult Parcoblatta last night, so I guess we'll see. But yeah, I've really messed up with these, and am very upset at this failure. Still, I'll take it as a learning experience I suppose.
EDIT 11/27: Welp, just checked on my last female, and yeah she croaked. 😢 What a shame.

Sadly, while my Chalcolepidius webbii gave me some larvae, my C.smaragdinus female never laid so much as a single egg... Me and Alan have come to the conclusion she was probably just too old to do so, or otherwise had something wrong with her, in addition to that species being difficult to get eggs from period. Quite a shame, as this was the prettiest click beetle species I've ever laid eyes on... But, I'm at least happy I got C.webbii larvae, and hopefully one day I'll get to try smaragdinus again. 🤞

Lastly, a couple of Ectobiid updates.
Sadly, my Blattellinae sp. "Xiamen" pair both died shortly ater arrival... in hindsight I probably shouldn't have picked an adult pair to establish a colony with... 😂 Oh well, my buddies should be able to breed their (much larger) groups no problem, so not a big deal TBH.

I'm more upset about the collapse of my Chorisoneura texensis colony actually... Turns out the Alabama strain of C.texensis that I was keeping needs a diapause when they're large nymphs, failure to provide them one will result in adults that simply refuse to breed... 😐

I didn't know that, and so when Alan sent me WC C.texensis subadults last year during the fall (while they were naturally diapausing under bark on dead, standing trees), instead of keeping them cool until Spring, I instantly started keeping them warm. Now, the few weeks of cool weather they had in Alabama before being collected was enough of a diapause for them to mature into healthy, fertile adults, HOWEVER, because I took them out early, I knocked them out of sync with the seasons, and so instead of their CB, F1 offspring taking until Fall to reach the subadult stage (when I could have easily given them a diapause), they instead matured in mid summer, long before I could reasonably keep them cool, resulting in CB adults that just refused to breed. 🙃 Quite frustrating, but now I know better for the future, and I've at least seemed to nail every other aspect of their husbandry, as they were absolutely thriving for me up until this point (and the CB adults lived quite a while, one of the females is still kicking actually).

Also, not so much a failure of keeping but rather a failure of acquiring, but me and my buddies tried to get some Decoralampra fulgencioi to revive this species in the US hobby this month. Sadly they were all DOA due to the cold weather... A real shame, hopefully we can get some in the Spring. However some of the dead adults were still rather fresh, so I got some pics of a couple dead, but lifelike looking adult females:

Such a pretty species, hopefully we can get them into the US hobby one day, would love to see some live ones in person. 🤞

Well, that does it for this downer post, but hey, gotta keep y'all updated, even on the failures. 😅 Thanks for reading, hope everyone found this post informative, stay safe, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉

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