Monday, March 11, 2024

Tiny New Harvestmen!

I got some new tiny harvestmen added to my collection recently thanks to the kindness of Wyatt Mendez! One is described, but the other two are not, which is pretty nifty.

They are all members of the family Phalangodidae, a fairly numerous group of small species that typically spend a lot of time below the surface under rocks and logs, in caves, and other cool, humid micro-habitats. To be honest, physically all the species I got in this package are very very similar, and resemble tiny Stygnomma.
But I love Stygnomma, and similar to Stygnomma these are fairly easy to breed and rear communally, consistently.

Unlike most commonly cultured harvestmen, these Phalandgodids can't handle warm temperatures for long, preferring winter temps in the 50s, and summer temps in the low 70s maximum. Conditions should be consistently very humid, and with how small these species are, springtails are really the only acceptable prey item for most ages.

Anyways, let's start with the described species, Sitalcina peacheyi (Epigean nr. Type). This strain was apparently collected from near the type locality.

The setup style I'm using for these (and the following two species) is a minimally ventilated container with a substrate mix of coconut fiber, clay and sand, mixed with broken up Styrofoam board pieces in such a way that it has created lots of underground pockets and chambers that are interconnected and accessible from the surface, to try and mimic the their natural micro-habitat. The substrate is several inches deep.
I currently have them in a Styrofoam box in my garage, so the temperatures in their enclosure are in the 50s, maybe even lower. They're still active and thriving despite the cold temps, which goes to show how cool they like it. In the warmer months I'll move them to the floor in one of my closets inside, which shouldn't exceed 73F° even in the summer.
I am keeping them moist, and offering springtails as the staple diet.

Here are some pictures:

My camera really struggled with these little guys, but I think the shots are passable, for what I can produce anyways. 😅

Next up we have Texella sp. "RWM21_081" (kokoweef Group). This genus looks quite similar to Sitalcina, and while I can't tell the two Texella I now have apart by eye, genetically they are distinct species (and possibly morphologically as well, though you may need a microscope to see that).

I have them set up as I described in the S.peacheyi section above.

Here are some pictures of them:

An adorable little species, hopefully they will do well for me!

Lastly we have Texella sp. "RWM21_092" (kokoweef Group). Again, nothing particularly special about these compared to the other Texella (that I can discern anyways), though that doesn't mean they aren't special little harvestmen. 😊

Setup is the same as the other two spp..

Here are some pics:

Hopefully these and the other two species will breed and thrive in my care, and hopefully I can further their spread in the hobby as a result. 🙏 Gotta bring more awareness to these underrated species!

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

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