Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Velvet Ant & Camel Cricket Woes...

Unfortunately, my velvet ants did not do well for me at all... I caught around 8 individuals, a mix of two species, the larger of the two I suspect were Dasymutilla californica (the ones I photographed in my recent post about velvet ants, which I misidentified as D.coccineohirta), and the much smaller species I found which I never photographed I suspect was actually Dasymutilla coccineohirta... I also found a cute Pseudomethoca species, which I did not bother catching or photographing.

Anyways, after a week in my care, at least 6 of them had died. 😢 A couple died due to dehydration, due to me not giving them a water bowl, but the rest seem to have starved, probably because I was only giving them fresh fruits for food. I had thought that would be enough, but apparently they must actually need nectar or artificial nectar to do well... So that sucks. 😣

I am very disheartened by this massive failure to keep these wasps alive for even a week, I released the two survivors I had left, and will not be keeping velvet ants again anytime soon...

My last jumping bristletail has died as well, so that's the complete end of that breeding project, still have no real idea how to culture that group of insects...

And sadly, my female Ceuthophilus gracilipes gracilipes female, Athena, has passed away... 😟 She lost function in her two front legs and simply couldn't move around anymore, so I had to euthanize her... Her remains were thrown into my small Trichorhina tomentosa colony, (started from stowaways in the substrate my Hormetica strumosa nymphs were sent in), where they were consumed rapidly.

Apparently the stress of the overheating during shipping was just too much for her to handle, and even molting to adulthood didn't save her... However, a friend of mine has had great success with breeding the adults he was sent, and will be sending me small nymphs soon, (which should handle shipping far better than subadults/adults do). So at least this update has a silver lining. 🙂

Well, that's gonna do it for this bummer of a post, had to be done though, as I like to be transparent with both my successes and failures on this blog, even when I fail with species considered "easy" to keep alive, like those velvet ants... Thanks for reading everyone, stay safe, and I'll see you all in the next post.


  1. Oh man. Bummer of a week! Sorry to hear about all the fails. I think failures, and the mulling over them, is what enables us to achieve future successes.

    1. Yeah, failure can often be just as good a teacher as success, still never feels good though... But at least I usually come out of it knowing more, except with those Bristletails, I've no idea what the heck their deal is.

      In any case, I'm adamant about sharing my failures on this blog as well as my successes, otherwise I'd feel I wasn't being honest with my audience about my experiences with keeping these invertebrates, and I truly think others can draw valuable information from the failures of others.