Wednesday, July 22, 2020

More Neat Finds!

Last week I found two very interesting invertebrate species out in the field, which I'm going to share with you here in this post! 😁

Let's start off with the more recent find, while looking under wooden boards in search of Tenebrionids, I saw several elongate, lightning fast inverts zooming away from the light. I thought they were centipedes at first, but upon closer inspection, I realized they were actually snakefly larvae, (Agulla sp.).
I've actually showcased an adult snakefly on my blog years ago, unfortunately while the individual in question was a female, she didn't last long and never laid any eggs, I suspect she was already a bit old when I caught her.

This time, I'll try my luck at rearing a larva up to maturity, I really don't have much interest in breeding these, so I only collected one of the larvae I saw, just to see if I can rear it up. I have it set up in a 2 oz deli cup with a thin layer of moist coconut fiber, and a flat piece of eggcrate to hide under. They are predatory, so I've been offering Trichorhina tomentosa and pre-killed Eleodes larvae. Hasn't eaten the isopods yet, but is happily accepting the Eleodes larvae.

Here are some photos of the little bugger, these things are very speedy and do NOT stay still, so these were the best pictures I could get:

A very interesting looking invertebrate, both as larvae and as adults, hopefully I can rear this one up to maturity successfully, it looks like it must be at least half grown by now already.

Now, for the more interesting find (in my opinion), this time found under thin wooden boards and old cardboard on top of piles of rotted grain in the old remains of an animal pen of some sort... Pseudoscorpions!!! 😄
These diminutive arachnids resemble tiny scorpions, but without a stinger. They are widespread throughout the world, and some species are even found indoors feeding on booklice, silverfish, and other small household "pest" invertebrates. Most stay outdoors though, under debris on the ground, under bark on dead trees, and underground. They'll often hitch rides from habitat to habitat by grabbing on to much larger, flying invertebrates like beetles, often hiding under their elytra or clinging to their legs.

I've seen these little guys once or twice in my life, but never in numbers high enough to attempt breeding. I've always wanted to get a culture going though, as I've always thought they may have some potential as use for biological control within invertebrate colonies, (feeding on mites and excess springtails in roach colonies for example). This time I found around 8 though, so you can bet I'll try and get a colony set up! 😊
Unfortunately, it turns out they climb smooth surfaces pretty well, so that coupled with their tiny size makes me think they won't be too practical for use in larger invertebrate enclosures, where they could easily escape through larger ventilation holes or slip through gaps in the lids... But it'll still be fun to culture them, if only to have a use for excess springtails. 😛

I have them setup in a small deli cup with an airtight lid and pinholes for ventilation, with a thin layer of moist coconut fiber at the bottom, and lots of corrugated cardboard for hides. For food I've offered cotton springtails, which they seem to like.

Here are some pictures of one individual:

I have absolutely NO idea what species they are, Pseudoscorpions don't appear to be that well studied, or at the very least their taxonomists don't frequent sources like Bugguide... I believe mine are something in the superfamily Cheliferoidea, but that's as far as I can get on my own. They might be the cosmopolitan Chelifer cancroides, but I really don't know... Whatever they are, I hope they'll do well for me! 😂
EDIT: I've asked around and it would appear mine are most likely C.cancroides, good to know! 😄 Not a US native, but still interesting nonetheless.

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

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