Friday, April 16, 2021

Ammopelmatus pictus EGGS!!!

Well, good news and bad news here... Good news, you read that title right, the smaller of my two female Ammopelmatus pictus laid an egg! 🙂 Bad news, after laying one egg she got eggbound and died, so I had to cut her open and extract the rest of the eggs by hand. 🙃 Evidently, unlike other Orthopterans I've kept but much like mantids, overfeeding gravid adult females can cause Ammopelmatus to become eggbound, which means they gain too much weight and can't extrude eggs anymore, which then kills them, (basically it's extreme constipation, but with eggs). The fact that this female was small didn't help things, hopefully my other, larger adult female doesn't get eggbound, I'll certainly be feeding her a lot less.

Thankfully I had been keeping a watchful eye on the small female after found the first egg, and noticed her dying the day afterwards... She died from being eggbound very quickly, and as soon as I saw she was definitely dead, I sprung into action, cut her open and extracted the eggs, all of which seemed to be fully developed thankfully. I then gently rinsed the eggs of any residual guts/hemolymph, and buried them in moist coconut fiber in moderately ventilated deli cups, along with the other egg. All in all I got 40 healthy looking eggs from this female, which I'll be keeping humid and at around 74F°.

Interestingly, not only were these eggs kinda huge in comparison to the female, but they're all yellow. Last time I tried breeding Ammopelmatus, the eggs my females produced were smaller, white, and likely infertile since they never hatched. However, I was looking into the species Sia ferox on Instagram (a close relative of Ammopelmatus, also in the subfamily Stenopelmatinae), and turns out some people overseas have bred S.ferox successfully. Interestingly, their fertile eggs are quite yellow, a color I usually associate with infertile Orthopteran eggs for some reason, but it seems that yellow coloration might actually be normal for fertile Stenopelmatinae eggs. So it would seem that this female had definitely been fertilized, and that I'm getting healthy Ammopelmatus eggs this go around, albeit, ones that I had to surgically remove from their mother after death... (coincidentally, one person had their Sia female get eggbound too, and cut the eggs out of her, which is where I got the idea to do it for this female).

Here are some pictures of the first egg, the one that was actually laid, the rest of them look identical to this one:

Weirdly, the eggs have a texture to them similar to that of a compound insect eye, and they're also surprisingly hard and sturdy to the touch, not squishy.

Perhaps worth noting is that the females were having some grain mite issues in their enclosures, so I replaced their substrate with freshly made coconut fiber, and literally the day after that substrate change is when I found this egg. 🤔 Hopefully my other female doesn't become eggbound and actually starts laying eggs normally here soon, and fingers crossed all these eggs prove easy to hatch! 🤞

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

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