Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Myrmecoblatta Blunders & Hormetica Pics

Well, unfortunately I'm very sad to report that I am down to one last Myrmecoblatta wheeleri female. 😭 They were doing OK again in their new digs, and one of the females looked so freakin plump, but then those HORRIBLE yellow mites came back, and this time I didn't notice until it was too late, all my Myrmecoblatta were completely covered in the damn things... 
Then, as a last resort move, I placed them in my Asiablatta enclosure, because it was inoculated with predatory mites and I hoped they'd help the roaches out and eat all the mites. There's only half a dozen Asiablatta in there, which seemed pretty chill and I thought they'd make decent tankmates, but then I checked on them a couple days later and there was only the one female left, (though it seemed most of the mites had left her)... So either the stress was just too much for the two male and one other female Myrmecoblatta, or the Asiablatta ate them... And I'm starting to think it may have been the latter, given the surviving female has a little blemish on her pronotum that wasn't there before. 😭

I then moved her back to her old enclosure, which I had inoculated with predatory mites, and I hadn't seen any of those yellow mites in there for a week or two, so I thought it was safe. But those little buggers appear to be persistent AF, and I checked the enclosure the other day to find my last female covered in the things... So I've moved her to a quarantine setup with paper towel substrate, which I'll replaced daily for a few days, which worked to (mostly) rid them of the mites last time...

I believe my biggest blunder was trying to control the microfauna, specifically predatory mites. While the Myrmecoblatta did very well before I tried heating them up and thus inoculated their enclosure with microfauna, I think that the one species of microfauna I was the most afraid of stressing them out, the predatory mites, probably wouldn't actually have stressed them much considering their super flat build. Predatory mites normally only stress out inverts that are less flat and that they can actually climb up the legs of, like darkling beetles and stuff, because they climb on anything that moves IME. Whereas Myrmecoblatta are so flat that they're on the mites' level already, and they probably wouldn't be stressed much by them since they won't touch their legs. So if I'd let their enclosure become inoculated with predatory mites from the start, then they would never have had the problems they did with the yellow mites, which act like grain mites, which severely affect Myrmecoblatta precisely because they're so flat, the roaches can't help but pick up the mites as they walk over food and around the enclosure, and so the mites just absolutely coat their mouthparts and limbs when they enter their hyposus stage... 😩

I also kept them too cool and minimally ventilated initially, if I had kept them warmer and well ventilated from the start, AND inoculated their enclosure with predatory mites, they'd have bred by now I think. Overall I tried too hard to keep them like I thought I should have kept my Myrmecophilus ant crickets, when I probably should have tried to keep them more like Compsodes/Nocticola, while also giving them mold to feed on... Though that is SUCH a hard thing to do when the enclosure has a lot of springtails, another reason why there should have been predatory mites in their enclosure, less springs...
Also, moving them in with the Asiablatta as a last resort was unbelievably stupid, I don't know WHAT I was thinking, I should have just put them in quarantine again like I'm doing with this last female. 🙄 Sometimes I feel like slapping past me... 

Anyways, I honestly think what I'm going to do with this last M.wheeleri female is keep her in quarantine until the mites are gone, and then honestly I'll probably set her up in a well ventilated, warm enclosure still with a moist, crumpled paper towel substrate, and keep swapping that out every week or so. With any luck, this will prevent harmful mite/springtail buildups, while also allowing for mold growth should the female need it to feed.
Hopefully with adequate heat and ventilation, and no freakin mites, she'll actually oviposit in such a setup, and I can isolate and remove oothecae as I find them into a setup that will either already be inoculated with a more stable microfauna variety, complete with predatory mites and hopefully none of those yellow mites or grain mites, or another quarantine style setup.

Anyways, that's what's going on with those, I feel really bad for making the mistakes I did, but hopefully, by some miracle, I can get this last female to produce some ooths and hatch them, we'll see... I'll be very surprised if I can though. 

Also, just a brief update on my Hormetica strumosa. So far they're doing good, one of the females is SUPER plump and gravid looking, and I expect she'll give birth in a month or two. 😁 The other female has been staying underground mostly, and the other day she surfaced and I noticed she's much less plump than the definitely gravid female, so I'm worried she may not have actually mated, (I removed the males from their enclosure only a couple weeks or so after they all matured, to prevent any potential filicide).

So, I've plopped one of the males back into their enclosure, I'll leave him in there for a couple weeks and then remove him again, which will hopefully ensure that that one female is indeed fertilized, and gets to incubating her brood soon. She may already be mated and for some reason is just taking a longer time to plump up, but I don't wanna take any chances. 

Anyways, here are a couple random pics of an adult male pronotum:

Well, that's gonna do it for today's post, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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