Monday, January 29, 2024

Mystery Blaberus Solved... Sorta.

Well, the mystery Blaberus Anthony Green sent me for identification several months ago have finally matured, and I have conferred extensively with Kyle Kandilian from Roachcrossing and Brandon Maines of Magnificent Beasts as to what they could be. They were erroneously sold to Anthony as "Blaberus giganteus" by Paul Sutton (of Paul's Pills), who was also sold them under that name by some random person at an expo years ago. So unfortunately lineage tracing only turned up a dead end, but regardless these are obviously quite differently colored and a lot smaller than actual giganteus.

As for what they actually are, Kyle, Brandon and I are all in agreement that they seem to be something in the light winged Blaberus craniifer complex, possibly a cross between the "fusca" and "peruvianus" lines, as the markings are sort of an intergrade between the two. So while it's technically possible they may not be species hybrids, they are almost certainly at least strain/locality cross. Unless it's an untracked stock from a different import that was never given it's own proper strain name, just constantly traded erroneously as "Giant Cave Roaches" or B.giganteus. But because there's no way of knowing that, they can't truly be accurately or responsibly labeled as anything more specific than Blaberus sp.. 😔

That being said, it is a very good looking (probable) mutt line, with fairly clean and consistent coloration. Here are some pictures of them:


Male #1

Male #2

Male #3

Female and Male #1

Very nice looking mutts, that I honestly might just keep around for the heck of it (but I won't ever sell them).

Anyways, that does it for this post, thanks for reading, I hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Flathorn Adults & Jet Black Princisia

Well, happy news, my Aeluropoda insignis have started breeding! 😄 Only a matter of time until I have a huge colony, I'm sure, these are supposedly quite prolific for hissers.

I decided to snap some pictures of one of my major adult males the other day, and pulled out a minor male for comparison. A lot of people don't realize just how much of a disparity there can be between the sizes of adults in Gromphadorhini, males especially. I feel like a lot of people also underestimate how large this species can get in general, major male A.insignis are nothing to laugh at, and comparable in mass to large male G.portentosa. 😍 Add to that some striking red and black patterning, and a very unique morphology, and you got yourself one of the coolest hissers in culture IMO.

Anyways, here are those pics:

Minor adult male VS major adult male
Minor adult male pronotum
Major adult male

In case you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of the males' pronotum morphology, especially on major males. Not only do they have a very noticeable anterior pronotum notch that makes that of Princisia look unremarkable, but large males have little spikes at the anterior tips of the notch as well. So cool! 😁 

So, the coloration in my Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big/Black" culture has been a bit variable since I hot them, namely a decent amount of adults have popped up that are completely black, with no orange margins on their abdominal segments, and often no red spots on their thoracic pads either. However the morphology remains consistent with Princisia, thus this hasn't changed my mind on them being a pure stock. 

Interestingly though, over time, probably due to most of my majors having more striking coloration, the genetics in my colony are shifting towards more and more colorful individuals. I've been seeing less and less black adults popping up, and have decided to isolate some of the few remaining ones to try and isolate a true breeding, completely black line of P.vanwaerebeki. This would be the ONLY pure, completely black hisser line in the US hobby if I'm successful, since all so called "Black Tigers" in the hobby are just mutts.

Here are some pictures of one of the pairs I've isolated:

Here's hoping I'm successful in my isolation endeavors! 🤞 

Well, that does it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Eleodes subnitens VS E.madrensis

While visiting one of my local friends, Sarah, I was shown her desert beetle tank, which had a multitude of species (most of which came from Peter at Bugsincyberspace). One beetle in particular caught my eye, because it looked awfully similar to my Eleodes subnitens from Orin McMonigle's old stock. However, the pronotum was much more angular, and overall looked a little off for that species.

Sarah kindly traded me the beetle in question, which appears to be female and since she's WC, could potentially be mated. So I immediately set her up in a well ventilated enclosure with an inch of coco fiber substrate, one third kept moist, the rest bone dry. Offering her dog food as the staple diet, and keeping her at 75-80F °. Fingers crossed she lays some fertile eggs!

Anyways, this got me thinking... and so I sent pictures of Orin's "E.subnitens" stock to darkling beetle taxonomist Andrew Johnston, and lo and behold, this is what he had to say:

"That would be Eleodes madrensis! It co-occurs with subnitens in most places but is pretty unmistakable with that pronotum"

So, it turns out Orin's line has been misidentified all this time, and they are actually Eleodes madrensis (considered a sort of sister species to E.subnitens). Whereas this new beetle that I got from Sarah is truly E.subnitens.

Here's some pictures of the true E.subnitens female:


E.subnitens pronotum; relatively slender, anterior margins highly acute.
Orin's E.madrensis pronotum; more rotund, anterior margins not so acute.
Very interesting update, I really hope this lone E.subnitens female I got from Sarah reproduces, so that I can actually get that species established in culture. And nice to have taxonomist confirmation on what Orin's old line is.

Well, that does it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Brandon's Ballin' Box!

A few months ago I got in a big old box of bugs from Brandon Maines at Magnificent Beasts, mostly stuff I've previously had and either failed with, and some stuff I still have but wanted booster groups of just to be safe. Namely these species:

Blattidae sp. "Philippines"
Cariblatta lutea "Brooksville"
Cristarmadillidium muricatum
Eublaberus marajoara
Eurycotis opaca "Jaruco"
Princisia vanwaerebeki "Black & White"
Pseudoglomeris tarsalis 
Troglodillo sp. "Green Spot"
Therea bernhardti
Therea regularis

Plus, both Brandon and Junior Marquez sent me the very last of their failing Pseudoglomeris aerea colonies. I had sent the last of mine to Brandon earlier this year to see if they'd do better for him, unfortunately they did not... and Junior's weren't much better off. So, all in all I've got one adult male, one subadult female and two presub females... I think the three big parts of my previous failure with this species were:

  1. Too much ventilation in their enclosure considering how low my ambient air humidity is. This caused dehydration, but keeping the enclosure more humid caused their bark and too much of the substrate to become moist to the touch, which these loath. Ideally you want high air humidity and low surface moisture with this species, so limiting my ventilation a bit more in the future will be necessary to work with this species. 
  2. Improper hide choices also likely stressed my colony out, I used too flat of bark hides, without enough nooks and crannies for nymphs to hide and feel safe in. This time I'm using cork bark for hides, which seems to be the best hide choice for Perisphaerinae in general.
  3. Poor temperature control, especially in the Summer. I think I let my culture get too warm last Spring/early Summer, due to space constraints in my last place of living. Now that I've moved into a new house though, I should have no issues keeping them at the proper temps year round.
Taking all these issues into consideration, I'm hoping I can salvage this colony, and keep this species going in culture. 🤞 

Now, onto the few species he sent me that I've actually never kept before! First off, we have Ergaula cf. silphoides "Hobby Stock". Formerly labeled as "Ergaula pilosa", as we covered in a previous post, this species is not true E.pilosa, and is most likely E.silphoides (with the previously rumored locality data for this stock of "Malaysia" likely being inaccurate). But I wanted to see in person to confirm this suspicion, especially since I've struggled to find photos that very clearly show the morphological features I'm looking for.

Anyways, I've got then set up in a well ventilated enclosure with an inch or two of coconut fiber substrate, which I'm keeping two thirds humid, one third dry. I'm feeding them dog food and leaf litter for the staple diet, and am keeping them at 75-85F°.

Here are some pics of the fuzzy nymphs:

Here's hoping for adults within the next several months. 🙂

He also sent some Anthrenus sp. larvae from his former home in Osceola Mills, PA. Initially he thought they were Dermestes lardarius larvae, which I was quite excited to keep, but on arrival I was instantly able to tell they were not Dermestes larvae, but rather Anthrenus instead. No idea which species it is, but nevertheless, happy to now have two different strains (and hopefully two different species) of this genus in my collection now.

Here are some pictures:

Hopefully they'll mature soon and establish a colony with little difficulty. 😃

And lastly, he sent some Porcellionides cf. virgatus "Miami, FL", which is in the same species complex of "Porcellionides" as the sp. "Big Pine Key" and "Everglades" strains. I think there's only two other strain of this Florida complex in culture that I don't yet have, so I'm getting closer to having them all. 😂 These "Miami" are actually prettier than I thought they were, definitely a strain that looks better in person than in photos.

As with the other two lines of this complex I keep, I have this Miami strain in a well ventilated enclosure with an inch or so of coconut fiber substrate, topped with bark hides and leaf litter. I'm keeping most of the enclosure humid, and at around 75-80F°. In addition to the leaf litter they are being offered dog food for their diet.

Here are some pictures of them:

Definitely a neat isopod with some variable coloration, hopefully they'll breed as well for me as the "BPK" and "Everglades" lines have!

Well, that does it for this post, thanks for reading everyone, hope you all enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😊