Friday, July 28, 2017

Alobates Larvae & Some New Darkling Beetles!

So, my Alobates pensylvanicus eggs hatched over a month ago into lots of tiny grubby larvae, (June 13th to be exact), I never really announced it! They were too small to get good pictures of or handle, and they soon dispersed into the substrate. I dug around the enclosure the other day and found a few of the larvae, most of them were near one corner of the enclosure, and there were less than I was expecting there to be. Granted, I didn't actually dig around the entire cage, and there are lots of bigger chunks of rotten wood that they could have bored into and hid in.

Still, I am a little paranoid about cannibalism, since larvae of this species are supposedly carnivorous, and the larvae seemed to be growing at rather staggered rates, (which suggests that some larvae could have eaten each other and grown bigger, while others hid instead and were just preying on small prey like fungus gnat maggots), so I separated the largest larva I could find and put it in it's own deli cup, and offered it live and pre-killed tiny mealworms. 

Surprisingly, it didn't eat either the live or dead mealworms, and just burrowed into one of the large pieces of rotten wood in the deli cup. It didn't even go for any of the chick feed I offered it, and it doesn't seem like the larvae in my main enclosure like that stuff much either, so far the only thing they really seem to eat is rotten wood.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the large larva I found:

Also, the adults have laid two more clutches of eggs, both are in between the sides of the enclosure and the substrate, and are right up against the enclosure in plain view. So it seems they are not as specific in their egg laying habits as I once thought. 😕

A couple days ago I went out on a little collecting trip to a little stretch of scrubland near me, something I rarely do nowadays. I collected three species of darkling beetles, two of which I've never seen in person before! 😁

I collected three of these medium sized Eleodes, one was walking across a dirt path, and the other two were under large clods of dug up, dead grass. They look very similar to E.subnites, however I'm not sure that species ranges this far north, these are definitely something in the subgenus Promus though, I'm sure of it. Pretty sure all three of mine are females, so with any luck I'll get larvae from them soon!

I have them housed in a gallon sized plastic container with some coconut fiber as the substrate and some dead leaf litter on top. I will be keeping the enclosure dry with one moist corner. I am currently feeding them chick feed. 

Here are some pictures of one of the adults:

I'm surprised I've never seen this species alive before, the area I collected them was very close to an area I camped at frequently in 2014, I found lots of Tenebrionid species at that time, but never saw any of these. I did find a dead Eleodes there that looked a lot like one of these, it was a lot smaller and thinner though, must have been a male, (or a different species).

I also found this small Tenebrionid under a dirt clod, I'm thinking it's something along the lines of Metoponium, but I could be wrong. I've never seen one of these before, I submitted some photos of it (and the above Eleodes) to Bugguide, hopefully one of the experts there will be able to identify them! 😃

I am keeping it in a small plastic container with some coconut fiber as the substrate, and some dead leaf litter on top. I will be keeping the substrate dry with a moist corner. For the diet I will use mostly chick feed, in addition to the dead leaves. 

Here are a couple pictures of the little thing:

I am really hoping it just happens to be a gravid female, I seem to have incredible luck with finding gravid female Tenebrionids where I live, so we'll see! 

I also caught two adult Coniontis sp, one was found by my mom walking across a dirt path, the other I found under a grass clod. They seem to be the same species I've bred in the past, (which I collected in an area very close to where I caught these two), happy to have some again! 🙂 They are quite a bit smaller than the species I have from CA, still a very welcome addition to my collection though! I have them in the same container as the unknown Teneb above, with any luck one of them will be a female, and I'll get eggs soon! 

Well, that's gonna do it for today, I hope everyone enjoyed, will see you all next post! 😉


  1. Awesome man, the Alobates are so unique-looking! :D

    Glad you were able to get out and about collecting, in my opinion that's half the fun of this hobby! :) Pretty nice darklings, I've been finding a smaller species around here, but they aren't nearly as interesting as those.

    1. Yeah, they are quite unusual looking for Tenebrionid larvae!

      It is very fun to go collecting, too bad I am unable to go out more often! We've got quite the variety of Tenebrionid species out here, and it seems like I'm always finding new species every time I go collecting. :)

      Interesting, if you could get pictures, I'd be happy to try and identify them for you!

  2. Do your Coniontis have flight wings?

    1. No, it looks like their Elytra are fused together like Eleodes.

    2. This does seem to be the case, because dead beetles' elytra are hard to pry apart, but do you have evidence for this?

      Also, staggered growth is a normal pattern for some animals, I think, and is not always the result of cannibalism.

    3. No, I don't have evidence, but it seems more than likely to me that their elytra are fused, like many other desert dwelling Tenebrionids.

      Yeah, but when dealing with invertebrates that are supposedly predatory, you can never be too cautious! Seems like their growth rates have nothing to do with cannibalism though, so that's good.

    4. Zophobas morio almost never goes airborne in captivity. I have witnessed hindwings (tenerals) and flight, though, showing how careful we should be at assuming. Flight seems to correlate with starvation and dehydration.

      Coniontis is probably still flightless though. Keep an eye out for teneral beetles that are inflating their hind wings for me.

    5. Often times my Zophobas expose their flight wings when eclosing, so it's easy to tell that they have those wings.

      I have documented and photographed captive bred Coniontis eclosing though, and have never seen any flight wings, they look pretty hollow when teneral, just like other flightless Tenebrionids. See these two post for example: