Monday, December 20, 2021

My New Blattella & Balta!

Nennips-Nebahcs Shipment Pt 4/5
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Let's follow my last double Ectobiid post with yet another! 😁 Got two Ectobiids from this particular package, one is a new species for me, and the other is another species I used to keep. 

Let's start off with the new species, Blattella lituricollis, the "False German Roach"! 😁 This is actually a brand new genus for me, I've never worked with any Blattella before! Thankfully, like the majority of Blattella spp., lituricollis aren't a house pest, unlike the most notorious of all pest species, Blattella germanica, the "German Roach". 😅 Most Blattella look pretty much the same, with only slight patterning differences here and there, so if you like the look of German Roaches, but don't want a pest, B.asahinai, B.vaga or B.lituricollis are all good replacements! 😄
This species isn't really present in US culture yet oddly enough, despite this stock having been cultured overseas for many years. Hopefully I'll be able to change that if I breed mine! 😉

I initially had my ten or so individuals housed in a well ventilated container with a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate. For hides I was using pieces of paper towel rolls, and leaf litter (some of which was the leaf litter they were shipped in). I was (and still am) keeping them humid and warm (75-80F°), and feeding them dog food and occasionally fruits.

While they all looked healthy and happy initially, not only did a few die randomly and get covered in Trichoderma (which may have just been postmortem scavenger Trich, but you can never be too sure), but they're now all covered in some tiny red mites I've never seen before, that are either exhibiting a hyposus stage or a parasitic one... 😨 So now I've got them in a more sterile setup with damp paper towel as their substrate and hides... I'm guessing that these mites (and perhaps some harmful fungal pathogen) came in with the leaf litter they were shipped in, or on/in the roaches themselves. Hopefully they'll still breed in this quarantine setup, two of the females are carrying large ooths, and if those hatch then I should be able to isolate those nymphs to a new clean setup before they get those mites on them.

Here are some pics of a subadult nymph and an adult male:

Subadult nymph

Adult male

So yeah, hopefully I can save my culture from their pests and establish a clean one. Like I mentioned, several females have matured recently, and a couple are already carrying oothecae, so fingers crossed! 🤞😅 Oddly, Blattella carry their soft oothecae until they are ready to hatch, and almost look like a Blaberid constantly trying to abort an ooth... It's a weird reproduction method that certain Ectobiids use, almost like a form of live bearing, but the offspring are incubated externally... Neat! 😂 Hopefully I'll see babies soon!

And now, onto my newest reacquisition, Balta vilis, the "Plain Yellow Roach"! 😃 I used to breed these back in the day, but like several other species, once I left the hobby and returned, they'd died out in US culture, (partially because of their finicky nature, but largely due to a lack of interest in culturing them I think).

Funnily enough, NONE of the adults or nymphs that were shipped to me arrived alive, at all. THANKFULLY, there were a couple live oothecae in their shipping cup, and I kept the leaf litter they were shipped with in anticipation of that very possibility. So, several weeks of incubating later, I've ended up with around 20 tiny nymphs. 😄 

I've got them set up in a well ventilated enclosure with a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate. I'm using eggcrate pieces, bark, and leaf litter for hides, and keeping them humid and warm (75F° or so). For food I'm offering dog food, fruits and pollen. 

No pictures of these cuties, they're just so small and skittish, and also just a basic looking yellow looking Ectobiid nymph, so eh, use your imagination. 😂
Hopefully they'll do well for me and I can establish a nice breeding colony, this situation is pretty much exactly what happened last year with my Balta notulata! 😄

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

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