Monday, June 21, 2021

Life in a Log

Well, my Hormetica strumosa females, despite both looking quite gravid, just refuse to give birth, so I caved in and got some big, well rotted pieces of wood for them to dig into as they'll supposedly dig in and make brooding chambers and such inside, (at least that's what people say to do with Lucihormetica grossei). So we'll see if that helps get them breeding. 

Interestingly though, the wood I found had quite a bit of microorganisms in it, so I tried to extract as much of these as possible before sterilizing the wood for use for my roaches. Some of the creatures I collected are ones that I'd really like to culture, so let's discuss what I found! 😃

The first find is also one of the most exciting IMO, I found 2 "Two-pronged Bristletails", AKA Diplurans, in the family Campodeidae to be more specific, (good luck getting IDs past family, these things are severely understudied). While they have six legs, Diplura are not insects, but one of four classes in the Subphylum Hexapoda, with the other three being Insecta (insects), Collembola (springtails), and Protura (coneheads). 

I have my two set up in a 2 oz deli cup, with a bit of moist coconut fiber at the bottom, and some rotten wood chunks on top. According to Bugguide they aid in decomposition of organic matter, but they don't go into specifics on what they actually eat... So in addition to the rotten wood (which they may or may not eat), I'm offering them chickfeed and live springtails, since they might be predatory on small inverts, (at least, I believe some Diplurans are).

Here are some pictures of one of the tiny little things:

It'd be great if I ended up with a sexed pair or two gravid females, but I have no idea how to sex them, or how to tell when they are mature... I'd consider it a win if I can just keep them alive for a decent while TBH.

Next up, I found three of these Carabids in the wood, no idea which species or even genus they belong to, will have to post pics on Bugguide and hope for someone to give me a good ID.

I have them set up on a substrate of sand and a little coco fiber mixed in, and am keeping them pretty moist. They've got cardboard pieces to hide under, and I am feeding them chick feed, will probably offer pre-killed camel crickets too. 

Some pics of an adult:

Would be cool if I could breed them, figure this will be a nice side project to have going, since I would still like to hone in my Carabid breeding skills.

EDIT: These were identified as a species of Agonum (subgenus Olisares), by V Belov on Bugguide. 🙂

There were also quite a few earthworms (Eisenia sp.) and small millipedes (Julida sp.) in the rotten wood, both of which I've set up in a 32 oz container filled with spent Panesthia substrate and some chunks of rotten wood as well. I'll offer all sorts of organic matter as well, I'm pretty sure I've bred this millipede species before, never bred earthworms though, which I'd like to do since I plan on eventually breeding fireflies, and their larvae like to eat earthworms.

Last but not least, I found about a dozen individuals of a springtail species I saw years ago here in ID, but haven't been able to collect until now... These are a species in the family Tomoceridae (probably Tomocerus IMO), and are absolutely MASSIVE, silver springtails!!! 😁 

I have been wanting to culture these for years, and I'm glad I finally have the chance, I really hope they breed well, but not too prolifically, and can also withstand predatory mites culling them every now and then, because these would be amazing for keeping with roaches if so! Adults are about 3-4 mm long, 4-5 mm including antennae, which sounds small but is huge for a springtail, they put my Entomobrya unostrigata to shame, and those were the largest springs I'd seen besides these Tomoceridae beasts!

Here are some pictures of an adult, these guys are covered in little silver scales, and sadly while capturing them a lot of the individuals were partially denuded, (their scales were rubbed off), so this one doesn't look as pretty as they normally do. But after a molt or two the scales should all come back:

In the last two pics you can see one of the commonly cultured "Small Silver" springtails next to it, and while that small silver is about half grown, still puts into perspective just how MASSIVE these are for springs! Hopefully they'll breed well for me and I can establish them in my collection, and maybe spread them around in the hobby as well! 😄

EDIT: These were identified as Tomocerus minor on Bugguide by Collembola expert Frans Janssens

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

No comments:

Post a Comment