Thursday, August 27, 2020

More Hormetica Adults!

Good news, two more of the Hormetica strumosa have matured, and their wings are looking pretty dang good! πŸ˜„ One of them is my second female, and the other is one of the males! Both look super pretty, and I figured I'd share some pictures of the beauties here. 😁

Here they are:


Male on top, female below

Such a pretty species, and so variable in terms of pronotum and tegmina patterning! Looking forward to seeing what the other male looks like, there's a good chance he may be mature already, but I was not able to find him while digging through the upper layers of substrate... He'll turn up sooner or later, and I'll be ready with my camera... 😜

Anyways, that's gonna do it for today, thanks for reading everyone, hope you all enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you in the next post! πŸ˜‰

Saturday, August 22, 2020

More Misc Updates!

Alrighty, got some more small updates for y'all, so let's jump in, starting with my Jumping Bristletails! (Meinertellidae sp. "ID"). πŸ˜„ Unfortunately that pun is the most lighthearted part of this update, which is rather gloomy...

So I ended up catching five of these things back in July, and unfortunately I only have one left... 😣 They just kept dying one after the other, and I'm honestly not sure why, they've been eating the food I've offered them, they have a moisture gradient, but seem to have no specific preference for their humidity levels, and I've been keeping them well ventilated and warm. Several of them molted, and none lost many scales at all, which was the main problem my group had back in 2014.
The only thing I can think of is that perhaps I kept this group in too small a container, and they actually killed each other due to territorial disputes... Other than that, I've got no clue why they died.

Unfortunately it doesn't seem like they bred or laid any eggs either, as I've not seen courting behaviors or any offspring, perhaps I only had males? That would lend more credibility to my territorial dispute theory... πŸ€”

Anyways, looks like this project was a big bust, maybe I'll try again one day, for now it looks like Bristletails will not be coming to the hobby anytime soon though... 😞

On a lighter note, my Myrmecophilus cf. manni hatchlings are all doing well, don't have a headcount yet, but everytime I open their jar it feels like there's one or two more in there! πŸ˜„ They're also feeding well too, as most look quite plump now, whereas they hatch out very skinny.
I recently added some squares of corrugated cardboard to the enclosure for the nymphs to hide in, to give them more surface area, so far they seem to love them. 😁

Unfortunately I believe all the adults are dead, as I've not seen them in a while, however I've also not seen any adults outside, so they probably just died of old age TBH. So not the most long lived little things, or the most prolific, or the fastest growing, as these hatchlings seem to be taking their sweet time to molt... But cute has to count for something I guess! πŸ˜‚

I am happy to report that after refreshing their enclosure and replacing the substrate, my Bantua sp. "Namibia" have started giving birth again, found a new litter born last week! 😁

Here are a couple pics of the newborns, and a subadult female for the heck of it:

Hopefully there's more where those came from! 🀞

My Conibius cf. seriatus pupae have been eclosing, and I finally snapped some pictures of some teneral adults!

Here's one an hour or two after eclosing

And here's one a few days after eclosing

So it only takes around a week or so for the pupae to eclose, pretty quick! Not surprising considering the larvae only took a few weeks to develop completely. πŸ˜„ If they were a little more prolific, they'd make for some great micro-feeders!

Lastly, I wanted to give an update on my silverfish, Lepisma saccharina. I decided to move their jar downstairs where it's cooler, since I had another batch of babies hatch out, and it looks like most of them died during the recent heat wave we had... πŸ˜‘The adults were all fine thankfully. The few nymphs that survived are doing great now that I've moved them to a cooler location though, and are actually molting and growing, finally! πŸ˜‚ Now hopefully with the next batch of offspring my adults produce I can get the ball rolling on getting a proper colony established! πŸ˜…

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this jam packed update post, hope y'all enjoyed, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you next time! πŸ˜‰

Friday, August 21, 2020

Itsy Bitty Teeny Weeny Orange Polka-dotted Roachies...

I mean the pronotum is kinda polka dotted with black, right? 🀷‍♂️ I dunno, was trying to come up with a title that described how small this adult Hormetica strumosa female came out, and then I got that song stuck in my head... It's a working title I guess. 😜

Yeah so about a week ago Alan Jeon gave me a heads up that his first Hormetica strumosa from this generation had matured, and was only about the size of an adult Luchihormetica subcincta, (less than half the size this species is supposed to be when mature). Apparently he kept his entire colony in a one gallon container, I did the same with six half grown nymphs I bought back in 2017, and they came out rather small for this species, just under the size of an average Lucihormetica grossei adult. But for half of their lives those nymphs had been housed in a much larger setup, whereas these new nymphs I got from Alan a couple months ago had been housed in a crowded one gallon bin their whole lives... So long story short, these adults probably hold the world record for smallest H.strumosa out there! πŸ˜‚

Now, when I found the first adult Hormetica in their enclosure the other day, I just laughed off the smallness, since I expected this and it honestly shouldn't affect the health of the roaches, they'll just give birth to smaller broods, which I can then rear up to a normal size myself in a large container.
However, I was disappointed to see that this adult female, the first adult female I've ever seen in person, had come out with messed up wings... πŸ˜• Apparently I packed the substrate down in their enclosure a bit too much and crammed too much in there, I think she didn't have enough airspace in the enclosure to make a proper molting chamber or tunnel and thus wasn't able to expand her wings properly... Hopefully this will just be a cosmetic issue and not affect her health or breeding ability at all, but I've removed some substrate from the enclosure to ensure this won't be a problem for the other three nymphs in there when they mature.

Anyways, here are some pictures of her:

Still beautiful despite the messed up wings, really hope she does well for me and produces a couple broods in my care, fingers crossed! 🀞
I'll be sure to keep you all updated on these beauties, hopefully the rest will be mature here soon and I can get to breeding these tiny adults, and then hopefully rear up their offspring to a normal size! πŸ˜…

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

Thursday, August 20, 2020

My First Princisia Adult!!!

My first Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big" adult has matured, the female from last post! 😁 Looks perfectly pure too, now to see what the others will look like once mature! I sexed my group of five a few weeks ago, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I have one male and four females... Quite a nice sex ratio if you ask me! πŸ˜„

The other four nymphs are all varying wildly in coloration, the smallest looks normal for it's age, black with white thoracic pads spots, the second smallest already has adult coloration, despite being younger than this adult female was when she was still pitch black, my other subadult female is a dark brownish black, exhibiting no adult coloration whatsoever, and my one subadult male is mostly black with a very faint yellow abdominal bordering and thoracic pad spots... Just goes to show how variable hisser nymph coloration can be, this is true even for pure stocks, the final adult coloration is what we need to look out for.

Anyways, here are some pictures of my adult female, about a day after maturing:

Looks to be exhibiting normal pure stock adult coloration to me! πŸ˜„ Do keep in mind that as she fattens up with food and brood, we'll be able to see her paler intersegmental membranes, which may give her the appearance of being "striped", but this is not the exoskeleton coloration, and all roaches have pale intersegmental abdominal membranes, thus it is not real "striping" like what we see on the actual abdominal segments of tiger hissers, (Gromphadorhina sp. "Tiger"/P.vanwaerebeki "Tricolor") or hybrid Princisia.

Also, I would like to address my labeling of these in my last few posts, I made up the strain name "Standard" and have been calling them Princisia vanwaerebeki "Standard" because I thought these were the long time standard Princisia strain, and indeed this is the most widely available pure form of Princisia out there.
Apparently though, in the US there supposedly used to be another form of pure Princisia actually called P.vanwaerebeki "Standard" that apparently looked more like G.portentosa in appearance, however that strain died out in culture years ago, and I've never seen any pictures of them...

So, to prevent confusion with that old strain, I'll just label these as I've seen this particular strain/form labeled in Europe, Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big". Some people do not label pure stock of this form with the strain name "Big" when selling them, like Roachcrossing and a few other vendors, and only use the species name when labeling them. However, without a distinct strain name they are more likely to be mixed with other strains of Princisia, (most often hybrid strains), so in order to distinguish these from hybrids, and so people know what the supposed appearance of their animals should be, all PURE strains of Princisia should have a special strain name.
While "Big" is kind of a redundant name, since this strain of Princisia is just normal sized for this species and throws out both major and minor adults, that is the name that's been used for this form of Princisia the longest, and is what I'll be going with. I suggest others working with pure stock of this strain do the same. I've edited my older posts so they all use the proper strain name now, as I don't want to spread any more misinformation.

Alrighty, that about does it for today's post, we got more on the way though, so stay tuned for some back to back posts, stay safe, and I'll see you all soon! πŸ˜‰

Saturday, August 15, 2020

My New Velvet Ants!

Whilst out looking for Tenebrionids today, guess what I found? Two female velvet ants! 😁 Haven't seen these things in years, found a multitude of different species an hour or two north of me back in 2014, but I had no idea any occurred in my town!

Despite the common name, velvet ants are not ants, but solitary wasps. Females lack wings and can live a year or two in captivity, while males have wings but have a shorter lifespan.
Velvet ants are parasites of other insects, usually ground dwelling wasps and bees or grasshopper eggs. They seek out the burrows/eggs of their hosts, lay their own eggs there, and then their larvae hatch out and proceed to eat their hosts. Found these two in a field where lots of grasshoppers and other types of solitary wasps and bees live, so it makes sense they'd be down here.

I've decided to keep them for the time being, right now I have them in a temporary setup with some sand as the substrate, with a small piece of cardboard to hide under and fresh apple to feed on. I'm thinking of making a larger enclosure for them, also stocked with excess male Eleodes I rear up, since people usually keep velvet ants and darklings communally, could make for a fun "display" enclosure, (I say display, but they'll still be in a plastic food container, just a larger one... πŸ˜‚).

I'm not 100% sure which species these are, but I'm guessing they're Dasymutilla coccineohirta, considering that species has been found nearby, and looks very similar to these. Here are some pictures of one of the gals:

Hopefully they'll do well for me, I have no idea how long these two will live, since they're wild caught, and may be quite old already. I guess we will find out, they'll definitely be fun captives for sure! 😁

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading, hope you all enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you next time! πŸ˜‰