Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Rehouse & A Re-do!

So, a couple weeks ago, I started finding dead, half grown to large Gyna capucina nymphs in my enclosure. 😞 There did not seem to be any real cause, and the rest of the individuals in my colony seemed perfectly healthy, but I did notice that the nymphs were growing at staggered rates, with only a dozen or so medium nymphs in the enclosure, and the rest were all tiny, 3rd instar or so nymphs. The 5-6 dead nymphs were all found at various stages of growth, in different areas of the enclosure, some very plump, others flat as if freshly molted...

In case you all didn't know, Gyna capucina and some of the other Gyna spp. seem to spend a lot of time in the first couple instars, then suddenly go through big growth spurts, growing rapidly and then slow down again once they near maturity. Additionally, I've noticed that my capucina nymphs appear to almost exclusively stay within the "semi-humid" areas of the enclosure bordering the moist and dry areas of the substrate, while adult males like the bone dry areas best, and females stay in the more humid areas. This means that the large bone dry area and the most humid areas of the enclosure went largely unused by the largest population of individuals in the container, the nymphs.

So putting all this info together, I've determined that the most likely cause of the random larger nymph deaths was overcrowding, because they were short on space that they'd actually use, and it seems the smallest nymphs have been put on a "waiting line" to start growing, while a dozen or so are allowed to grow out more... Since competition for space was high, I'm assuming the larger nymphs bullied and attacked each other to the point of death in an attempt to create more space.

So, you wanna know what I did? I moved my entire colony to a 20 qt. gasket box, decked out with around four inches of substrate (just plain old coconut fiber), as opposed to the one inch layer they had before, and I'm using a vertical humidity gradient this time, which should give the nymphs a lot more substrate at their preffered humidity levels. The enclosure also has some more driftwood for the adults to climb around on, and I've arranged the bark slabs in a more vertical fashion too. Overall it should be their new, permanent home, and should solve this crowding problem. 😁

As a side note, during the move I found my two adult females, which looked pretty healthy, one subadult female, several adult males, some subadult males, and at least like 50 nymphs of varying sizes... It's hard to tell just how many there are, because most of them are tiny AF, and I can't really tell if any of them are offspring from my females, or just the ones that Seb sent me... Oh well, there's a ton of them, and they all look healthy, so that's all that matters, and with all these adults and subadults and this new enclosure I'm sure they'll be breeding well for me soon if they aren't already! 😄

Here's some pictures of that subadult female and the new enclosure:

The new 20 qt. enclosure.
Also, one last thing, the cotton springtails are really thriving in the G.capucina setup now, and are doing well as cleaners! Additionally they do seem a lot less pesky than Sinella curviseta, which is a relief! 😅

I'll be sure to keep you all posted on any interesting new developments regarding these pink bois, hopefully the nymph deaths are done with, and more nymphs are on the way! 😁

Haven't seen one of these two topic posts in a while eh?

Well my Bantua sp. "Namibia" females still aren't giving birth, but I think that's because they are "catching up" now that they've got so much more airflow, (I did add even more ventilation since my last post about them BTW), and are just starting to gestate larger broods, as at least one of the females is EXTREMELY thicc right now, and most of the others are getting thicker too! 😄 So at least things are headed in the right direction again... Also those nymphs I got from that one small litter have all molted at least three times already, and are doing fantastic!

Anyhoo, I noticed that my females that look like they're going to pop and the one that actually did seem to spend most of their time in between the horizontal bark slabs lying on the substrate next to the moist area... I'm using a heat cable to heat them so it's warmest on the floor of the enclosure as well. Additionally, based on what Seb and another friend have told me, while it's not NECESSARY, they do seem to like boring into rotten logs and such to create brooding chambers, much like Perisphaerus pygmaeus. They actually don't eat the wood, and in fact leave little sawdust piles outside their chambers.

Since my bark isn't especially curly, and I've got no rotten logs, I've made them some makeshift "houses" out of cork tile and hot glue, to kind of replicate that brooding chamber feel. I've also added little "moisture chambers" filled with wet coconut fiber that are attached to the little pods, and the walls which connect them have small holes poked through them so that the moisture can spread to the entire brooding chamber... So they'll have humid retreats even in the drier parts of the enclosure.
It's kind of a hard concept to explain, if they actually end up using them I'll take pics of them so you'll get a better idea of what they look like, but anyways I'm HOPING some of the females may start using them to gestate in, as they are humid, dark retreats which are on the ground and thus quite warm, and the space inside should be nice and cozy for them. To make them fit I had to re-do the enclosure, and I moved the bark in there around to create better spots for the females, so hopefully all this will aid in their gestations greatly.

I'll also probably be keeping them slightly more humid, and will both increase the size of the moist area in their enclosure and lightly mist the entire enclosure every feeding day, (which will probably evaporate completely within a few hours), since the added ventilation is drying things out much faster.

Here's a picture of a random adult male for your patience:

So hopefully all my females start plumping up even more soon, utilize the hides I've made them, and FINALLY start giving birth to large litters consistently... We'll see, I've basically done all I physically can at this point with the materials available to me, hopefully my work will pay off! 😅

Well, that's gonna do it for this post guys, thank you all for reading, take care, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉

Monday, October 28, 2019

Hormetica apolinari = strumosa... Sorta...

So some of you lot may remember when I kept the beautiful "Hormetica apolinari" from Ecuador that Gil Wizen collected a couple years ago. However, it appears that ID is incorrect, H.apolinari has only ever been recorded from Colombia as far as I know, and the type specimen has completely different coloration compared to the "apolinari" collected by Gil.

I first noticed this in February, when a European breeder, Ferry Pribik, was showing off some new Colombian Hormetica species he was breeding, one of which looked almost exactly like the type specimen of apolinari, (and they likely are apolinari, as the range matches too). I pointed this out to Gil, citing the differences in coloration, which he then attributed to locality coloration variability, and maintained that his Ecuadorian stock was still apolinari.
(It is worth noting that the tegmina length on Ferry's Colombian apolinari lookalikes appear shorter than that of the type specimen, however I personally attribute this to the fact that the type specimen is dried up and the abdomen is shriveled, it would likely extend quite a bit more past the wings if it were alive).

However, a new paper on the group was just released, see here. It describes a new genus, Quadrihormetica, (which in my opinion should just be a subgenus of Lucihormetica, but that's besides the point), and a new Lucihormetica species, but ALSO features a redescription of the Ecuadorian species Hormetica strumosa... After looking at the specimens shown in the paper of H.strumosa, and reading the distribution info, I was positive that H.strumosa must be the true identity of the "apolinari" Gil brought into the hobby.

After bringing up the matter with Gil in a PM, and showing him the images, description, etc., he also agrees that H.strumosa does appear to be the correct ID, the overall coloration and patterning (as variable as it may be) of H.strumosa is pretty much a perfect match for Gil's stock, and the fact that these are found in Ecuador makes a lot more sense too, (seeing as the true H.apolinari may very well be a Colombian endemic species).

So now, to everyone still breeding this species, you know what to do! 😉 Change your labels before it's too late, especially since there does appear to be a true Hormetica apolinari strain in the EU... And we don't want any more confusion!

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this post, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for an upcoming update on one of my roach colonies, (plus maybe a new addition?). 😁

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Opatroides punctulatus Update

Just a short update on my suspected Opatroides, in a private conversation with Tenebrionidae expert and taxonomist Andrew Johnston, I asked him if he could confirm or deny my tentative ID of this specimen. He did indeed confirm that this was Opatroides punctulatus, and that while he'd heard that they'd been found as far north as Oregon, he wasn't aware of any prior sightings in Idaho... They're definitely here though! 😂

As for the breeding side of things, I can't say for sure, but I THINK I saw a larva in the deli cup while doing maintenance today, but it was just a flash, and digging through the substrate for a couple minutes only turned up the (healthy) adult... Guess I'll just have to wait a bit longer to see if I do indeed have larvae.

Also, on an unrelated note, I've just started posting more regularly on my Instagram account, so if y'all wanna follow me there, simply click on the IG logo located at the top right corner of the blog! 😉

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading everyone, I'll see you all next time!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Interesting Introduced Invert in Idaho...

Well, at least I THINK it's an introduced species, the images I submitted to Bugguide have yet to be properly identified...

Anyways, a week ago while going on a walk, I turned over a wooden plank on the ground and found a small, black Tenebrionid. At first glance I thought it was a tiny Coniontis adult, but upon further inspection I realized it was some other genus I'd never seen before... So of course I collected it, and did some research. 😄

It looked very similar to Blapstinus in appearance, but was too big to be any of the species common here, and wasn't as hairy either. After searching thouroughly through Bugguide, I'm pretty sure the only candidate is Opatroides punctulatus, a species native to the Mediterranean and Asia that was introduced to the US somewhat recently. 😯 They've been found in California and Nevada, and if my beetle really is O.punctulatus, then they've apparently reached Idaho... Interestingly enough though, they don't appear to be grain pests, preferring habitats similar to those of Blapstinus spp., (to which they are closely related).

For now I've placed this individual in a small, well ventilated deli cup with coconut fiber as the substrate, over a CM thick. There are a couple eggcrate pieces for hides, and one small area is kept moist, the rest is bone dry. I'll be offering chick feed as the main diet. Hopefully it's a gravid female, as I haven't been able to find any more...

Here are some pics:

If I get a confirmation or correction to my ID, I'll be sure to let you all know, if this is Opatroides though, then this may mark the first recorded sighting of them in Idaho... They don't seem that common yet, and hopefully it stays that way, as I personally find our native Tenebrionid fauna much more interesting!

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, I hope everyone enjoyed, thanks for reading, I'll see you all next time! 😉