Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Good, The Terrible, & The Ugly

Let's start with the good. The good news is, two of my four Ancaudellia hamifera nymphs have matured, and it happens to be a male and a female! 😁 The one older adult female I have in this starter group of five still hasn't given birth, nor has she gotten very plump, I don't think she's gravid at all. Hopefully this freshly matured female will mate and produce young for me, along with the other female yet to mature.

I'm surprised by just how long their wings are (especially on the male), the tegmina extend well past their abdomens! Makes them look pretty cool, as interesting as the wing tearing behavior in Panesthiinae is, I do kinda wish they'd keep their wings, they're so sleek and pretty looking. 😍

Here are some pictures of the newly mature pair:

Adult male

Adult female

Had to get a couple butt shots to show off that beautiful gold fuzz on their last couple abdominal segments, such a weird feature for this species to have! 😄 Interestingly, the bases of their legs also seem to be hairy, which you can see in a couple of these photos. 

Anyways, now I've got fresh adult pictures of all my Panesthiinae, time to wait for babies from all of them! 🤞😅 This will probably be the last Panesthiinae post in a long while... 

On to the terrible, terrible news... The other day I found two of my adult female Hemithyrsocera vittata dead. 😭 And upon further examination, the "third female" was actually another male... 😣 Both males are still alive, as is the tiny stunted nymph, so I'm not sure what happened, those females should not have died that prematurely... 

My only two theories as to why both the females died, but none of the others did are:
  1. They didn't have enough ventilation, which some Ectobiids can't handle, and the reason the females were particularly affected was because they were producing ooths, which puts more strain on them and would cause them to succumb to substandard conditions faster than other life stages (and a lack of ventilation is truly the only thing I can think of that was substandard in their enclosure). But, my H.palliata have even less ventilation than they do, and they're absolutely thriving, (though that species is generally more hardy anyways).
  2. The perfectly even sex ratio actually stressed the females out, due to males constantly trying to mate with them. I've seen this in other invertebrates before, but I can't recall this being a problem with any of the roaches I've worked with previously.
Either way, all hope is not lost. I found four oothecae in the substrate of their enclosure, and there may well be more buried in there. However, it's likely at least half of those ooths were laid by the females before the males matured... 😐 The females only had two weeks with the males before they died, and who knows how much of that time they were actually healthy enough to create viable ooths... But hopefully each female got to lay at least one viable ootheca each, I'd really only need one ooth to keep the culture going. 

This is all so frustrating, because I had hoped to really kick things off and get this species well established in US culture ASAP... Yet here I am barely keeping my culture together, hoping for one or two of my oothecae to be viable. 😩 Guess there's a reason they've not been well established in the US hobby before, they are completely unforgiving when it comes to improper or simply substandard husbandry... 🙃

Oh well, fingers crossed one of those ooths is fertile, and I have better luck next generation, I'll definitely keep them better ventilated from here on out.

Also, terrible, but slightly less terrible than the vittata, only because it wasn't unexpected, but the last of my Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa - Venezuela" has just died, and I got no offspring from them at all. 😟 All three of those females were old, and in pretty rough shape on arrival, and sadly I don't think any of them were even carrying ooths. So sadly, that species is not longer in culture in the US, I don't think there was much to be done for those last three individuals other than to keep them comfortable as they lived out their lives.

As for my three Hyporhicnoda sp. "reflexa" females, they're all looking healthy still, but I'm thinking none of them are gravid either, and may be too old to breed as well... So those may go the same way as my sp. "reflexa - Venezuela", though unlike that species, I hear these standard sp. "reflexa" may be getting imported into the US again this year, so hopefully they'll be established in the US hobby at some point. 

And now we get to the ugly... Two more of my Gromphadorhina sp. "Unidentified" males matured recently, one is another average sized male, decent markings, good pronotum structure, but the other one was the largest male in the culture, and looked like he'd have impressive pronotum structure as well... Unfortunately though, not only did he molt in a tight spot between two bark slabs, which caused half of his pronotum to be pressed against bark and not expand properly, giving it a squished appearance, but he was also viciously cannibalized upon for whatever reason. 😟

So, that sucks, however I'm very adamant about documenting all the pronotum structures and coloration of every adult that pops up in this colony. Unfortunately I can't accurately document the final coloration of this dead male since he died teneral, and thus will never darken completely... However, I can still show off his pronotum structure, so here are some pictures of his corpse:

Gross, but while his pronotum is deformed you can still see it's not got an anterior notch or anything (a pronotum notch would indicate Princisia hybridization), and looks like a G.portentosa pronotum, as it should. 

Now, here's that smaller male that matured, strangely he's got a decent amount of grain mites attached to him, he's literally the only one in the culture who's got that problem though... 

Decent abdominal coloration, you can see he's got the pale orange abdominal margins, a bit fainter than on the other males though. Ironically he's got the brightest, biggest thoracic pad spots of any of my males thus far.

Well, that's gonna do it for this update post, now that I've brought y'all up to speed on the important updates in my collection, time to focus on new projects for this year, and I've got a few in the works... 😉
Thanks for reading everyone, hope you enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time!

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