Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Highs & Lows

Well, I've had a few good things and a couple pretty tragic things happen in my collection lately, let's start with the bad stuff, since I'd like to end on a high note.

So, my Polyphaga saussurei hatchlings have apparently been dying off, any that hatch seem to last for a molt or two, then die. 😧 I didn't really notice it at first, until I searched through my enclosure and found only 7 nymphs, when I know for a fact I had more before. I'm not sure why they would be dying off, they seem to get rather skinny before dying, so lack of proper food or water seems like a likely cause.

They always have a moist spot available, so lack of water can't be it. I'm thinking the switch to chick feed may be the culprit here, however I placed cat food in their enclosure a couple days ago, and they don't seem to be eating it any more than they were eating the chick feed. However, I do still have one subadult female, she should have matured months ago, but hasn't been growing at all for some reason. Sometimes a switch of diet can do that to a roach, so maybe the chick feed isn't really working for this species? Could also just be a fluke though.

In an attempt to tell if it's the chick feed that's causing the deaths, I have isolated my remaining small nymphs and split them into two different deli cups, one group will be fed chick feed, and the other will be fed cat food. Both will have dead leaves available as well of course. If there doesn't seem to be a difference between the two groups after a few weeks, I'll know diet isn't the problem, but then I'll have to try and find out what the real culprit behind the mysterious deaths is...

As for the second tragedy, I have apparently been caring for my Latiblattella lucifrons all wrong, I think I kept them way too moist when I moved them to their large enclosure. They were doing fine and laying oothecae in the first container I had them in, that was a temporary setup though, and when I moved them to their "permanent" enclosure, it looks like they stopped laying oothecae.

My adults are all dead now, and I don't think that in itself is too unusual, but it's been two months since I first got them and they first started laying oothecae, and I still haven't seen any nymphs in their enclosure. So I decided to look around the enclosure, and after a thorough search, I only turned up four oothecae. One of those was crushed though, so I only have three decent looking ooths in total. 😢

I have isolated the three oothecae to a small deli cup with substrate that is moist, but not wet. Luckily the oothecae aren't shriveled looking nor moldy, so they may still be viable, if so, they should hatch very soon. I really hope I can get them to hatch, I really love this species, don't want to lose them due to a stupid over-watering mistake! If I can get the ooths to hatch though, I still have to get the nymphs to mature properly, which means I'll have to keep a very close eye on the moisture levels in their enclosure!

I'll be sure to update you guys on their progress, hopefully the next time I talk about this species in a post, I'll be announcing that I have little nymphs running around!

Now, onto the good stuff! 🙂

My Gyna centurio female gave birth the other day to lots of little brown nymphs, so I'm super happy about that! This species has such stunning looking adults, really glad I was able to breed my pair successfully!

Also, my first batch of Corydidarum pygmaea nymphs have been growing at the same rates, contrary to what I've heard about this species, and I now have two new adult females and one adult male! 😀 Plus, my two original females are still kicking, so hopefully I'll be getting lots of new offspring in my culture!

Lastly, I had a chat with Andrew Johnston, an Eleodes expert, about those Eleodes females I found last week. He's pretty sure they are a form of Eleodes rileyi, a highly variable species (or perhaps several species that have lumped together under one name). Pretty happy to have a name for these, hopefully I'll be able to breed them successfully!

Well, that's going to to it for today, hope you guys enjoyed, will see you all next post! 😉


  1. "I think you should just take a chance and get some roaches, beetles, or whatever it is you are interested in keeping. These fearful scenarios, though reasonable in nature, are unlikely to come into play anytime soon."


    (Who has more dead roaches, you or me?)

    1. Hey, I also have a lot more LIVE roaches than you! 😝 I was talking about easy beginner species, these are much more rare and fickle species to keep and breed! 😆

      Ectobiids in particular are VERY fragile, I'd only recommend them to people who have a very good grasp of Blatticulture. I'm a bit shocked about my P.saussurei though, I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong with them. 😕

      Everybody is gonna have their ups and downs in their collection, but for the most part, most of my species are doing just fine! 😊

    2. Well, personally I would prefer an all or nothing approach: Either have a near-guaranteed happy thriving colony (inevitable accidents still happen) or avoid them for their and your own well-being until you can keep them safely.

      Believe me, keeping a box full of irritated darklings is not pleasant.

    3. Well get a couple of Madagascan hissers then, it's hard to go wrong with those!! ;) OR, you could go for the ultra hardy Blattella germanica, cultures of those are basically impossible to kill off! XD

      Luckily my Tenebs only seem to release defensive fluids when handled roughly, (or sometimes when misted), I have yet to open an enclosure and just smell defensive fluids without causing them some significant distress.

    4. What I meant was that watching beetles/roaches pace around in misery and die will cause you to have a miserable day as well, so be careful of getting too many difficult species unless you can ensure they will thrive.

      I actually sort of like the smell of Zophobas, and scaring darklings during cage cleaning, etc. is probably a necessary evil anyways. Mine weren't too terrified of me either, luckily.

      (Did you see my comment about black Harmonia on the major research survey?)

    5. I make very sure not to get invertebrates I don't think I can care for adequately, unless they are species that no one has kept properly before, and thus no one knows what true conditions they need, because if you want them in the hobby, some trial and error is needed anyway.

      For example, I'd REALLY love some of those predatory spiny katydids native to the southern US, or some Simandoa conserfarium. I have room for neither though, as both need large enclosures and, in the case of the katydids, need to be kept separately. I could try and cram them in less than adequate caging and hope for the best, but I wouldn't do that.

      When a species does poorly in my care, it is usually due to either a small, stupid mistake, (like keeping my Latiblattella lucifrons too moist, or adding in Sinella springtails to my Chorisoneura texensis enclosure), or due to an overall lack of available care information on a certain species, (like with Drymaplaneta, most keepers who have experience with that species claim they need very humid enclosures to survive, so that's what I did, and most of my nymphs died off. I finally found a Japanese keeper that actually had success breeding this species through multiple generations, and he kept his completely different, most of the enclosure was dry, with only a water bowl for moisture. So I changed my care accordingly, and now they are doing great!). Shipping stress can also be an issue why some species do poorly for me at the start, (Panchlora sp. "White"), and then there are weird circumstances where I have invertebrates housed in supposedly "ideal" conditions, similar to other keepers who are having great success with said species, but my individuals end up dying off or simply not breeding, (Polyphaga saussurei, Balta notulaablemy first batch of Pseudomops septentrionalis), in which case, you basically try everything you can and hope for the best.

      Oftentimes, a complete enclosure overhaul can fix the latter problem, other times it's not so simple though.

      The point I'm trying to get at here is that I do try my best to get species that I am confident I'll be able to keep successfully, usually it's just flukes or simple mistakes that end up being the downfall of certain cultures. The only exceptions are with species that are rarely kept, which I will occasionally blindly try to breed to learn more information about them for the hobby.

      I don't mind most Tenebrionid defensive fluids either, most smell exactly like insulin to me.

    6. You didn't really need to make it that long, I was just saying that

      1. If they start ailing for whatever reason, even a dumb mistake, I tend to start biting my nails and not sleeping, although you might not.

      2. I don't like killing invertebrates for the sake of trial and error due to ethical ideas (haven't read research about this, but it's better than finding out you're wrong the hard way) and also since some are hard to come across. I suggested a "gradient cage" idea on roachforum, so an insect can self-regulate if it senses something we cannot. Surely your Drymaplaneta deaths could have been avoided if they had access to both dry and humid areas?

      And that insulin thing sounds interesting. I originally tried to describe Zophobas bombs as " with a stronger bitter and chemical smell and only some sweetness, but like almond-scented soap".

    7. 1. Hahahahahaha... Yeah I get VERY stressed out when one of my species starts doing poorly, so we definitely have that in common. The stress is all worth it to me though, especially if I can get that species to bounce back! :)

      2. I don't like it much either, however every species that has entered culture has almost certainly had to undergo a little trial and error to find out their husbandry needs, I just think it's worth it in the long run, provided you do find out their care needs in the end, so that others don't make the same mistakes you did. That's just my opinion on the matter though.

      Hindsight is 20/20, if I had gone with a moisture gradient, (like my pal in France did with this species), I'm sure things would have ended a LOT better. But all the info I could find from US and European hobbyists who had kept this species in the past said high humidity levels throughout the enclosure were absolutely necessary, so I followed their advice blindly. Looking back, I should have taken said advice with a grain of salt, since none of those people were successful breeding this species past one or two generations... Oh well, lesson learned.

      Yeah, I have type one diabetes, so I deal with synthesized insulin every day, and it smell exactly like many Tenebrionid defensive fluids. That is a pretty good description of the smell!