Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Illuminating Ignelater!

Well, thanks to the wonderful Alan Jeon, I just got a few adult pairs of an amazing US native Elaterid species, one that I don't think anyone has ever bred before! Allow me to introduce the fourth member of the Pyrophorini now in the US hobby, Ignelater havaniensis! 😁

Now, most of you who follow me probably know this by now, but in case you don't, there are actually a five species in three genera here in the US, in the same tribe as Pyrophorus, (tribe Pyrophorini), which while much smaller, are also brightly bioluminescent! I believe the largest of these US natives is Ignelater havaniensis, found in southern Florida, and Alan managed to catch some last weekend on a collection trip in Miami! 😄

Ignelater havaniensis is differentiated by other US Pyrophorini by it's size, often relatively slender build, and the spinose elytral apices, (the elytra end in little spines). As far as I know, no one has ever bred this species in captivity yet, though I'm sure they're quite similar in ecology and husbandry needs to Pyrophorus.
Thankfully though, unlike Pyrophorus, sexing the adults of this species is actually possible, males appear to be skinnier than the females, but most noticeably the males have much longer and thicker antennae than the females do! 

I've set my 7 adults up in a container with good airflow, and will be keeping them quite humid and warm, (around 74-75F°). I'll offer the adults fresh fruits, as I do my Pyrophorus. I've put a few pieces of bark in there for them to rest on and hide under. The substrate is a mix of crushed rotten hardwood and flake soil, the wood is there solely for the benefit of the newly hatched larvae, which may need at least a little rotten wood in their diet, (though they're almost certainly carnivorous/protein hungry scavengers a few molts later). Adults would probably even lay eggs in coco fiber, and most Pyrophorini seem to have no problem being housed in pure coco fiber once they're large enough to take protein based foods.

Here are some pictures of the adults:

Adult male

Adult female

Adult pair, female on top, male on bottom
Adult male glowing

Very pretty US natives for sure, really hoping to breed these beauties and get them established in the hobby! 😁

Also, funnily enough, the last two of the seven large Pyrophorus noctilucus larvae I received from Eric Maxwell last year have finally matured, and unlike their siblings that pupated prematurely due to temperature spikes from shipping, these two kept growing and matured into fully sized, large adults! 😄 Would be nice if they were a 1.1 pair, but even if they aren't, it's nice to see some big adults of this species in person again. So now, here comes some comparison shots between my largest adults of the two species, as well as some solo Pyrophorus shots too! 

Adult male I.havaniensis besides adult P.noctilucus

Adult Pyrophorus noctilucus 

Despite Ignelater havaniensis being our largest US native Pyrophorini, Pyrophorus noctilucus still dwarves the Ignelater when fully grown! But IMO Ignelater have a more interesting body shape, and I like their longer antennae too! Weirdly though, the Ignelater seem much more hesitant to glow than the Pyrophorus are, and they also lack the orange bioluminescent spot on their underside that Pyrophorus have, (only visible when flying or attempting to fly). 

Well, that's gonna do it for today's post, big thanks to Alan Jeon for introducing yet ANOTHER US native Pyrophorini species to the hobby! 😁 Thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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