Thursday, July 28, 2022

New Beetles & Isopods!

Got a few new inverts from my friends this month that I figured I'd group all together in this post. 😄

First off, Kyle from Roachcrossing sent me a special package, he went out and caught some fireflies for me! 😁 Namely a group of Photinus pyralis, and a female of a small Photinus species probably in the marginella/curtatus species complex. Sadly, all female fireflies and some of the males were DOA, however the pyralis females DID lay eggs in transit, which still look viable, so I'm currently incubating them in the moist paper towels they were laid in, and hope to have a decent starter group of larvae to work with. 🤞

I've always wanted to work with fireflies, they're so neat, and y'all know I love my bioluminescent inverts. 😄 Before now I've never even seen bioluminescent fireflies before, just the diurnal non-glowing species here in Idaho, so watching these glow has been a treat! 🥰

Technically they shouldn't be too hard to breed, but I've long been thrown off by the fact that larval fireflies mostly feed on snails and earthworms, which aren't the easiest food source to acquire where I live. However, I've come across anecdotal evidence from other hobbyists that larvae of at least some Lampyridae will feed on dog food in captivity, and I also found a picture of a Photuris larva eating a millipede on Bugguide, so they may be more opportunistic than I had thought. I'll try a variety of prekilled insects as well as dog food and see if they feed on any of that.

As for the adult males that survived, I've been offering them apple slices (which I've observed them feeding from). They seem to be doing nicely in their well ventilated, 32 oz deli cup with a thin layer of moist coconut fiber as the substrate. They'll only live a few weeks most likely, but watching them glow up at night is so cool. 😁

Here are some pictures of a couple of the live males, plus a comparison photo of a dead male and female:

Live Photinus pyralis males

Male P.pyralis Left, Female P.pyralis Right.
Note that the bioluminescent organ on the female is much smaller than the one on the male. The adult size isn't indicative of sex, as one of the other female pyralis that came in this group was smaller than most of the males.

Fingers crossed that my eggs hatch, would be amazing to start breeding fireflies in captivity! 😁 Lots of awesome and weird looking species/genera here in the US, would love to start introducing more Lampyridae into culture!

Kyle also sent me a few Tenebs that he caught on the grounds of University of Michigan, which ended up being Xylopinus saperdoides. Sadly this species is in the tribe Cnodalonini, which are a huge pain in the butt to breed. 🙃 Not only do they require rotten wood for oviposition and for the larvae to feed on, but Cnodalonini larvae tend to also be quite cannibalistic and photosensitive, and are overall not very fun to rear.
So TBH I'm not even gonna try breeding the Xylopinus this year, but next year if they're still alive I may give them a proper breeding setup. Right now I'm just focused on trying to get my Iphthiminus to breed, I'm only gonna work on breeding one Cnodalonini at a time. 😅

Right now I've got my small group of adults in a well ventilated deli cup with some vertically slanted bark hides, and a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate, which I'm keeping humid. I'm feeding them dog food and apples, and am keeping them at room temperature.

Here are some pics of them:

Neat little species for sure, too bad it's in a tribe that is a pain to breed. 😂

I also got a small package from my buddy Brandon of Magnificent Beasts, containing these absolutely adorable isopods, Cristarmadillidium muricatum! 😁 These cuties are a relatively small, pale species of "roly-poly" type isopod, and are covered in small spines. They're kinda new to the US hobby right now, but will probably become relatively common in the next year or two I think. They're easy to keep and prolific as well, which is always nice. 😄

I've got my 8-9 half grown individuals set up in a well ventilated deli cup with a thin layer of coconut fiber as the substrate, with some leaf litter, bark pieces and sphagnum moss on top. I'm keeping them humid and at room temperature, and am offering dog food as the supplemental diet.

Here are some photos of the cuties:

I actually think one or two of them may be gravid already, so I might be getting babies soon! 😁 Fingers crossed these do well for me, such a cute little species!

Last but not least, there were two Pyrophorus noctilucus adults and one large larva in Brandon's package too, which our friend Alan Jeon sent to Brandon to send to me, since they weren't doing that well for Alan.

The larva was a bit skinny looking on arrival (may have just molted recently), but has since plumped up and eaten a bunch in my care and is looking fine. 😁
I'm not exactly sure what happened to Alan's two adults, as they're both missing most of their legs and some segments from their remaining legs as if they were super old or something... But they're very clearly still young and active, since old adults lose their shiny luster as they age, and can't glow very brightly either. Whereas these adults are quite active, still glow well and overall look pretty young, other than the missing leg parts. In any case I think they'll still be useful for my breeding group, especially if they happen to be females (since males kinda gotta be able to run fast to catch up with mates lol), and I'll be pampering them for sure. 😊

Well, that's gonna do it for this post, big thanks to Alan, Brandon and Kyle for all these bugs! 😄 Hopefully everyone enjoyed, thanks for reading, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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