Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ammopelmatus pictus Breeding Project: Failure

Well, I am quite sad to say that I seem to have failed yet again in breeding Ammopelmatus. 😞 Unfortunately, a mere couple of weeks after removing the eggs from my female A.pictus' guts, the majority of them rotted away. I believe I was keeping them far too humid, the substrate they were buried in got just about soaking wet a couple times, and it seems that Ammopelmatus eggs both hate excess moisture, AND a lack of airflow, burying them in substrate directly wasn't working.

I proceeded to uncover the remaining couple dozen eggs and placed them on top of the substrate, however the remaining eggs kept dying off one by one, and every time one died I'd panic and try to change something up, one week I would be keeping them room temperature, the next week more like 80F, one week they'd be humid and the next week almost bone dry, etc., and I think THAT was a huge mistake as well. 😓

I have a pathetic 4 eggs left that still look OK, I moved them off of the coconut fiber I had them on initially and put them on sand, which I am keeping pretty dry but misting very lightly almost daily. They are being kept at room temps and while they don't seem to be developing much, at least they aren't dying either. 🤷

Here are some pics of the eggs, back when I had more of them:

I think, based on all that I've seen thus far, that female Ammopelmatus probably DO lay their eggs all at once, in a brooding chamber as was stated in older literature, and that laying eggs singly in loose substrate is an artifact of captivity and improper husbandry. They are likely laid in an inorganic substrate like clay, sand or a mix of the two, so excess moisture isn't held, but they must be buried deep enough in the ground not to desiccate either, (trust me, being kept bone dry kills the eggs). And the temperature probably stays around room temp that far underground too, even in the summer.

So, in captivity a good idea IMO would be to use a clay/sand mix for at least the lower couple of inches of substrate in an enclosure for gravid adult females, so that they can make a proper brooding chamber and lay their eggs all at once, (which may prevent them from getting eggbound too, even if fed when gravid). Keeping the enclosure semi-humid is probably advised at least while the female is in there, but once the eggs are laid I think most ventilation should be cut off and the cage not watered much at all for a couple months, the substrate should hopefully retain enough humidity for the eggs to survive but not so much that they start rotting either. This will be vastly easier to do in a clay based substrate than a coconut fiber based one IMO. That'll be my methodology in the future when I try breeding Ammopelmatus again, and believe me, I'm gonna keep trying, with as many species as I can, until I can crack the code to breeding these critters! (or until I get too frustrated to continue).

So yeah, pretty sure I've failed with A.pictus, I'll let you all know if those last few eggs pull through, but I think I messed up too bad with incubating them properly early on. 😢 But hopefully I can figure out the secret to breeding this genus, and then try again with the beautiful pictus one day! Anyways, hope this post proved useful, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you next time! 😉

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