Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Bantua Update (Mostly)

Hello everyone, before we get into this post, I would like to start off by saying that I hope you are all doing well despite the craziness going on in the world right now, and that you're all staying home as much as possible, practicing social distancing, and effectively helping to prevent the spread of this COVID-19 pandemic.
These are strange, scary times, and my heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by this virus, physically, economically, and emotionally. My deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones to this disease. This is the worst pandemic to happen in my lifetime, one of the most devastating events in the world's recent history, and as an at risk individual myself, the thought of getting infected is very, very terrifying. I hope that we can all get through this dark moment in history, my thoughts are with you all, stay strong.

Thankfully, despite the fact that the world seems to be falling apart, my roaches are all still doing fine. I sold around 20 of my Bantua sp. "Namibia" nymphs this month, and still have around 30 nymphs left. Some of the nymphs from this recent wave of births are nearly half grown, and I'm looking forward to the next wave of babies here in the next month. ☺

Interestingly, I've noted that for the first couple of instars, nymphs seem to lack any sort of waxy coating on their exoskeletons, it's only around the molt to L3/L4 that they seem to start developing that substance.

Also, they are really chowing down on the artificial pollen now, much more than before, and are also making noticeable dents in the chick feed too. It seems nymphs are more protein hungry than adults, which prefer the fruits.

Anyways, I nabbed some pictures of the nymphs and some adults recently, including some nice shots of my biggest female with a couple of males! 😁

L3-L4 nymph

L2 nymph, (note no waxy coating)

Adult female

Adult female and two adult males

Adult males
Weirdly, I found two nymphs in my colony with weird deformities, I'm not sure if they're genetic or just due to molting problems... I've never seen roaches with these types of deformities, it almost looks like the hemolymph filled "bubbles" you'll sometimes see in Tenebrionid beetles, (which can be fatal). 

I've isolated these two to their own enclosure and will monitor their development, if these deformities were simply molt related and the roaches return to normal after a few molts, I'll reintroduce them to the colony. If not, I'll assume the deformities are due to genetic flukes and euthanize them, (I wish my tarantula would eat them, but she doesn't appear to be hungry, just weirdly aggressive).

Weird right? Just in case these deformities are due to molting difficulties, which I'm assuming would be due to space competition and/or bullying from other nymphs, I'll probably be adding more vertical bark to their enclosure soon, for them to hide in between and molt from.

Also, one random update, that Opatroides punctulatus adult I had is no longer with us... That is to say, I threw some Apsena into it's enclosure, which I had collected for a friend, and when I went to dump all that substrate into the shipping deli cup a few days later, I could not find the Opatroides after a minute of searching the substrate... So I gave up. 😛 I'm sure he's living it up with the Apsena in their new home, it was a dead end of a breeding project for me anyways, seeing as I'm pretty positive I did get unlucky with it being a male. Thought I'd let you all know!

Anyways, I think that's gonna do it for today's post, I hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, stay distanced, and I'll see you all in the next post! 😉

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Confusing Taxonomy Disscusion: Gromphadorhina sp. "grandidieri" "Black Tiger"

Oh jeez where do I even start with this one... So first of all, let's use Kyle Kandilian's Gromphadorhina sp. "Black Tiger" strain as the model, "pure" line of this morph OK? Because they are probably as pure as it gets what with Kyle being as meticulous about hisser purity as he is, (which is a good thing).

So, obviously true Gromphadorhina grandidieri aren't in the hobby, even though one could argue that the black "Gromphadorhina grandidieri" are close in coloration to this female museum specimen, the holotype male of G.grandidieri is described as having a black thorax and a "purplish brown" abdomen, much like this wild specimen which is presumed to be actual grandidieri:

Wild male G.grandidieri. ©George Beccaloni
So right off the bat, I propose pure "grandidieri" strains in the hobby be labeled Gromphadorhina sp. "Tiger", and Gromphadorhina sp. "Black Tiger". Both are assumed to be the same species, whatever they are, as supposedly the "Black Tiger" morph was isolated from a colony of the regular "Tiger" strain... Whether this is actually true, who knows, I think it was too long ago and too poorly documented to verify. Nowadays, jet black individuals seldom, if ever pop up in normal "Tiger" colonies, so I'm a bit skeptical, but nonetheless, for clarity's sake, let's assume that Kyle's "Black Tiger" strain is indeed an isolated morph of pure sp. "Tiger".

Pure Gromphadorhina sp. "Tiger" ©Roachcrossing 
Pure Gromphadorhina sp. "Black Tiger" ©Roachcrossing
So now that we've established the basics of what's in the hobby and where the original "Black Tiger" strain came from, we shall move on to today's horrible reality... Are you ready? Are you sure? OK, here we go: people have been labeling any and all black hisser strains as "Black Tigers"... Probably for years now. 😐 Most of the "Black Tigers" on the market today probably aren't even the "Tiger" hisser species, many are just line bred G.portentosa G."portentosa" mutts...
So now we're in a situation where, unless the person is meticulous with their line tracing and preventing contamination of their own colonies, and can track their lines back to Kyle's or from wherever Kyle got his from, there's really no way to be sure your "Black Tiger" colonies are actually "Black Tiger" colonies or black hybrid/mutt colonies... In which case you should default to calling them hybrids. 

They didn't name the morph "Black Tiger" for the heck of it, that was to signify that is was a morph of the G.sp. "TIGER" rather than a black "portentosa" strain... If you start calling every black hisser a black tiger, then the name loses all meaning... Unfortunately that's what has happened, so that's fantastic... 🙄 

So Kyle's colony may be the last pure, REAL "Black Tiger" colony in existence, (or at least seems to be from the original "Black Tiger" stock, whatever species it actually was), hopefully more hobbyists can get some from him in the future, then sell them as *Pure* sp. "Black Tiger"...
Of course they'll probably keep labeling them as "G.grandidieri", which is kinda stupid, but at least that mistake is better than labeling "portentosa" mutts as "Black Tiger"... 😂 

EDIT 6/18/2022: Nope, not even Kyle's stock are actual Black "Tigers", they look like line bred black hybrids to me. Read more about it here.