Friday, October 13, 2017

Pasimachus L3 Larva & My Current Pyrophorus Larvae Setup

My Pasimachus sp. "Arizona" larva has molted to L3, and is still eating like a champ, fingers crossed it will pupate soon! 😄

I had moved it to a larger jar once it molted to L3, since I thought it would want more room to burrow around, but unfortunately it seems like it took the whole burrowing thing too far, and never found the food I offered it. Once I noticed it hadn't fed on anything for at least a week, I moved it back to it's little deli cup, and it resumed it's normal feeding activity.

So note to self, (and all you Carabidae keepers), don't house Pasimachus larvae in spacious containers with deep substrate, as they don't seem to have the ability to find food easily in such conditions.

Anyway, here are some pictures I snapped of it the other day, I want to be sure to photograph every phase of it's development that I can, including the pupal stage!

Will keep you all updated as to it's development!

So, I have been isolating any Pyrophorus noctilucus larvae from my main enclosure that come close to the surface of the substrate, since they are all starting to grow a bit now! I have twenty-three deli cups devoted to them at the moment, each of them filled with a centimeter or so of moist rotten wood. Twenty of the deli cups now have larvae in them, and it looks like there are still quite a few larvae in the main enclosure... So it looks like my adults have been really busy LOL!!!

I'll be keeping the larvae in these deli cups for several months, until they grow too big for them, and will be feeding them chick feed in addition to the rotten wood, until they are big enough to tackle some small Tenebrionid larvae. My cf. Cynaeus angustus and Tribolium sp. are probably gonna come in real handy for feeding these little guys!

Here is a picture of my current setup for the young Pyrophorus larvae:

As you can see, I've put all of the deli cups in one shoebox, so I can move them around more easily, as taking down each deli cup one by one off of the shelf they are stored on would be quite a pain!

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


  1. Just taking advantage of a security check to log in

    1. Your Eleodes osculans "cuddling" behavior is awfully startling. Zophobas adults that cannot find a proper hiding shelter will form a big pile in one corner and try to hide under each other. Check and see if your hides have become too crowded for their comfort.

    2. It seems that many insects have poor long-range food detection abilities, despite apparently sharp senses. One would expect a Cotinis with its complex lamellate antennae to locate a banana like a homing missile. In reality, the insect just bumbles around until its mouthparts actually contact the food. It can be unaware of ripe fruit several mm away, and then voraciously start licking once accidental contact is made. Zophobas and Coniontis adults/larvae, having poor vision, can expertly locate their meals, but mouth contact still plays a major role.

    3. Several severe issues (including one emergency where a few vertebrate pets nearly got eaten but injuries were luckily slight) are causing severe "headaches", so I am glad to say something about the carrion project. Here is my long list:

    Deltochilum gibbosum is another good candidate for experiments. According to Orin, this adaptable ballroller will breed in ground beef or feathers, and since meat/feather substitutes are much easier to find/make than dung substitutes it will prove useful.

    Also, you might want to investigate sterile maggots used for maggot therapy. Apparently, eggs from wild flies are soaked in a solution to kill bacteria on the surface, because the maggots themselves are not easy to clean. I also read something about the need for internal cleanness as well as external cleanness. Perhaps clean dung/carrion beetles may contaminate a clean environment by excreting pathogenic frass, so perhaps beetles must be internally decontaminated for a few feeks by feeding clean foods while the dirty matter is excreted (search about clean tubifex).

    However, many questions remain. Apparently, the fly eggs are only dirty on the outside. What if our beetle eggs are dirty on the inside? How easily can the techniques for sterile flies be modified for other filth-feeders? How will we even ensure our larvae are clean without killing the whole batch for analysis?

    However, I do have a few good ideas. The other day I was looking at a lump of raw meat being salted for preservation. Obviously, no coleopteran will breed in anything that salty. However, we could use different techniques. Perhaps the generalist species will still use cooked meat without any seasonings, salt, etc. Or maybe we can deep-freeze it like fish for sushi, which probably doesn't alter the nutritional profile as much. Of course, clean meat will still rot, so it would be best for silphids and carrion roves as an oviposition trigger or supplemental food removed after a few hours. Perhaps a more permanent way of preservation that does not cause the meat to become insect-inedible will prove useful for the carrion dung scarabs.

    In summary, cleaning dirty beetles in the same way as tubifex worms and then using deep-frozen meat/fish and dogfood for breeding appears to be a promising idea for carrion species that are not dung scarabs.

    Account issues continue to float around, so post your comments away from my blog

  2. I always forget a few things in every comment

    How willing are YOU to catch a bunch of different carrion-breeders, keep them alive, and perform sanitation experiments? Please inform me of which species are common in your area, too (were the Creophilus larvae easy and not prone to death)?

    1. 1. Good point, I'll try adding more hides to my Eleodes osculans enclosure, in case a lack of hides is causing them to clump together. They could just be a gregarious species, you never know!

      2. You'd think they'd be able to find food easier in the confines of even a large enclosure, I guess in the wild there's food everywhere, so some species don't have to adapt excellent food detection abilities, since in the wild they aren't restricted to one single feeding area.

      3. Deltochilum gibbosum could be a good candidate for experimentation, don't know what a good, sanitary substitute for meat would be though. I doubt fake beef foods made for vegetarians/vegans would work.

      Yeah you would definitely need to put carrion feeders in a decontamination enclosure first, many species have flesh and dung caked onto them, which you would need to wash away by hand/paintbrush, and you would have to wait for them to pass all their old gut contents before introducing them to your "sterile" enclosure.

      I assume that the overall structure and process of laying eggs isn't all that different between flies and beetles, I'd be very surprised if the dung/carrion beetle eggs were internally contaminated with pathogens. I also don't know if beetle eggs would survive being dunked in a cleaning solution, or how do do such a thing without scratching or crushing the eggs, you'd probably need surgical tools to accomplish that!

      What about jerky, that would probably take longer to rot than other meats, and you can try to find brands with very little additives, or try and make some yourself? Getting frozen meat, putting that in a cage for a few days and then taking it out before it rots too much may work the best out of all these methods.

      Unfortunately, I do not really have access to any carrion feeding beetles, I don't go out all that much, and my neighborhood doesn't really have a whole lot of animal carcasses in it, besides the occasional birds, which are immediately swarmed by droves of ants. Even if I did though, I definitely don't have enough room to start a whole sanitation experiment, and since I am vegan, I wouldn't want to work with any vertebrate flesh that I didn't already find dead outside.

      BTW, the Creophilus larvae were pretty easy to rear and didn't have a HUGE die off rate, but I never got the adults I reared to lay any eggs before they died off. (I think I had them too crowded, and seasonal cues may be needed to induce oviposition, like with some other rove beetles).

    2. The problem with jerky: Necrophila and friends aren't desert darklings. Also, "meat/feather substitutes" did not mean vegan fake meat. I was saying that it is easy to obtain various clean meat products, but it is hard to obtain clean material for dung-scarab experiments. Also, apparently some wood-eating beetles spread xylophagous bacteria to their eggs, which is why I was thinking of the internal egg contamination idea.

      My current thoughts on the whole plan:

      1. Get rove/silphid
      2. Put in cleaning chamber
      3. Add oviposition meat

      Currently, the "cleaning chamber" part is the most troublesome. Internal cleaning of adults with clean food should be easy, but external hygiene is not. Time to go pdf hunting, everyone

    3. Haha yeah, I thought it was a long shot. Some other preservation method then...
      I didn't think you meant the vegan fake meat, I was just voicing my own thoughts, which were that I didn't think that stuff would work, and that I didn't know what else would.

      It is definitely easier to get relatively clean meat products than clean dung products, since dung is, well, dung, and it would probably be hard to create a proper substitute for it.

      Do those xylophagous beetles really spread bacteria to the eggs internally? That's crazy, however I think those bacteria are necessary for the larvae's digestive tracts, to digest the wood, I don't think carrion/dung beetle larvae need any similar bacteria to digest their food, at least I haven't heard of anything like that.

      Maybe try wiping the adults with a paintbrush soaked in some non-toxic cleaning material, then again with just water. Rinse and repeat for a week or two, until they are ready to be brought into their breeding setup.

  3. Hey, I recently (a few months ago) got some pyrophorus larvae from gil wizen too. they've been doing pretty well on shrimp pellets but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for good live food. Do you mainly give them mealworms?

    1. Hello,

      Yes, mealworms are the only live prey I am feeding my Pyrophorus ATM, simply because I have a ton of them. Crickets apparently work according to Gil, I honestly have a hard time imagining them catching crickets though, Pyrophorus larvae seem rather slow... Maybe the crickets were incapacitated or something, IDK. In any case, I can tell you for sure that mealworms work very well for live food! :)