Monday, August 29, 2022

New Dermestids, Showy Moth Flies, & Other Updates!

So a few months ago, I found a few dermestid beetles in my room. They looked kinda pretty, and were not a dermestid I've ever seen before, so I dumped them into a minimally ventilated deli cup with some crumpled up paper towel at the bottom, and dog food and dead inverts on top (mainly dead darkling larvae and roaches). They produced a decent amount of larvae, which have been thriving for the past couple months, mainly feeding on the dead insects (but also nibbling into the dog food a bit). Most of the larvae have now matured, and the adults are doing pretty well, and now will likely start producing larvae of their own soon.

However, until writing this post, I still had no idea what species this is, they're not Anthrenus, nor are they Dermestes. But now that I actually got around to taking pictures of my CB adults, I've spent some time comparing them to pictures on, and I'm now pretty sure they are a Trogoderma species. Not sure which one, there's 15 in the US, most of them look pretty dang similar, but at least I know what genus they belong to now.

Here are a couple crappy pictures of the adults:

Hopefully they'll continue to do well for me, I quite like their appearance, and may experiment with using them as cleaners here in the future. 🤔 Anyways, figured I'd share this little project with y'all!

Now for a bummer update, unfortunately my firefly project failed. The few Photinus pyralis eggs I got did hatch, however the larvae would not eat dog food, prekilled and cut up mealworms, or live nematodes, and they died after about a week. So, definitely seems like cut up earthworms/snails are a must for that species, which is unfortunate, but oh well, at least now I know for sure. I'll have to wait to try breeding fireflies again until I have a good source of snails/worms for them.

In more positive news, my Helleria brevicornis have been breeding very well, I counted over 60 babies in their enclosure a couple weeks ago! 😁 Most of my founding individuals are still alive and well, and should breed again next year after I give them a diapause this Fall/Winter.

Lastly, there's an invertebrate I got off of Roachcrossing months ago that I never talked about on my blog before, mostly because I thought I killed them all shortly after acquiring them: the Showy Moth Fly, Lepiseodina conspicua.

Many people are probably familiar with moth flies, particularly Clogmia and Psychoda spp., which are common household "pests" that resemble moths, and breed in sink and bath/shower drains, feeding on various gunk that gets stuck in said drains. However, this particular species, L.conspicua, is less commonly sighted, and doesn't seem to infest houses, preferring to inhabit flooded treeholes and such in the wild. The common name "Showy Moth Fly" is well deserved, adults are black with tufts of white hairs covering their pronotums and margins of their wings.

These flies are fairly easy to breed, in general you want to set them up in a container with a layer of crushed, decaying leaf litter at the bottom, flooded with water, but preferably not completely submerged, you want some of the leaf litter to go above the waterline, both for larvae/pupae to reach the surface to breath, and for adults to land on I suppose. The larvae feed on the leaf litter a bit, but also really enjoy dog food being dropped into the water, they feed on the dog food once it soaks up water and essentially melts, and adults probably feed on that gunk too. However, it's VERY important that you provide them with good ventilation (preferably those mesh lids a lot of deli cups come with, since larvae can make their way up smooth surfaces and could escape out of basically any actual ventilation holes). If you don't give them ventilation, when the dog food rots in the water, the rotting process eats up most of the oxygen in the container, so if there's no ventilation you'll literally gas/suffocate your moth flies to death.

Now, unfortunately, I initially put my group of these L.conspicua in a container with next to no ventilation, and fed them dog food... So, a few days after I got them, I looked at their enclosure one day and saw that most of the larvae were dead and lifeless, and their enclosure stunk to high heaven. 🤢 However, there were still a few larvae that were alive, so I dumped the contents into a 16 oz deli cup with one of those mesh lids, which fixed the problem immediately.

Now I'm not sure how many larvae survived that initial mistake, but I estimate about a dozen. Over the next few months, I had adults come and go in pairs or trios, and honestly doubted I got any actual breeding pairs to mature at the same time, because I didn't really see any young larvae being produced. Oddly there's always been a few large larvae visible, even when it seemed like most of them should have been mature already... Well, apparently one of those small groups of adults in the past few months DID have a breeding pair, and did produce offspring without me noticing, because I checked their container last week, and there's at LEAST 25 adults in there... 😳😂 So yeah, they're thriving now, and I'm sure there's gonna be a TON of new larvae in there soon!

Here are some pictures of an adult (getting these pics was NOT easy):

Their white hairs turned kinda grey on camera, as did their black wings, as a result of the flash, this species looks so much more pretty in person. I'm glad these have recovered so phenomenally, just goes to show how hardy these flies are! 😄 Definitely a neat little group of flies, underrated in the hobby as neat little novelty pets (or even possible feeders).

EDIT 9/10/22: Welp, as it turns out, these are actually Setomima nitida, not Lepiseodina conspicua... 😅 Read this post for more info.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Some New Isopods from Ty Dye Exotics!!!

My buddy Ty Randall of Ty Dye Exotics just sent me three new species/morphs of isopods that I'm excited to be working with, which I'll cover in this post! 😁

First off, let's start with Cubaris sp. "White Ducky". These beauties are a distinctly different species than sp. "Rubber Ducky" or "Blonde Ducky", definitely a flatter species of "Cubaris". I really love the contrasting color on these, along with the copper-ish lines going down the middle of their backs. Care on this species is supposedly the same as for other Cubaris spp., good airflow, relatively high humidity (but not too wet either), and lots of hides (this species does not burrow much).

I have mine in a well ventilated container with half an inch of used coco fiber and spent Panesthiinae substrate mixed together, topped with leaf litter, Macropanesthia frass and a bit of moss. They have cardboard and bark hides, and I'm keeping them humid, at around 75F. I'll be offering them dog food, and dead inverts as supplemental food.

Here are some pictures of these beauties:

Hopefully these will breed well for me, fingers crossed! 🤞

Next up: Cubaris sp. "Red Edge Albino". This is the Albino morph of C.sp. "Red Edge", and man do they look cool, they even have reddish brown eyes like the red eyes of true albino vertebrates! This species is also fairly large compared to the other Cubaris spp. I have, quite active and long legged too!

I have mine in a well ventilated container with half an inch of used coco fiber/sand (old Teneb substrate) and spent Panesthiinae substrate mixed together, topped with leaf litter, Macropanesthia frass and a bit of moss. They have bark pieces for hides, and I'm keeping them humid, at around 75F. I'll be offering them dog food, and dead inverts as supplemental food.

Here are some pics of them:

Most of these pics are kinda "meh", not only are these guys super active and don't like staying still, but their exoskeleton is also a weird matte texture that my camera didn't want to focus on. 😅
In any case, hopefully they'll breed well for me, I'm pretty sure one or two of the females in this group are already gravid!

Lastly, Ty sent me some Nesodillo arcangelii "Yeti". Now these are the "White Out" form of N.arcangelii, I believe the proper term is "super leucistic" (don't quote me on that though), not only is the body white but the eyes are white too. Oddly, I can't seem to find any info on their origins, whether they were isolated from aberrant individuals in the "Shiro Usturi" strain, the "Silver Ghost" strain, or if they were collected straight from the wild like this. Wherever they came from, they're VERY pretty, and I'm happy to have them in my collection now!

I have mine in a well ventilated container with half an inch of used coco fiber/sand (old Teneb substrate) and spent Panesthiinae substrate mixed together, topped with leaf litter, Macropanesthia frass and a bit of moss. They have bark pieces for hides, and I'm keeping them humid, at around 75F. I'll be offering them dog food, and dead inverts as supplemental food.

Here are some pictures of them:

Such a pretty morph, hopefully these breed as well for me as my "Shiro Usturi" have, those are popping off right now! 😄

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, big thanks to Ty for all these beautiful isopods, please show him some love and check out his website Ty Dye Exotics for great deals on a variety of inverts and other exotics! Well, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉

Friday, August 19, 2022

Surprise Pseudoscorpions & Princisia vanwaerebeki Comparison

Huh, well, while doing maintenance on my Cubaris sp. "Rubber Ducky - Blondish", I found half a dozen Pseudoscorpions hiding under the various bark slabs in the enclosure! They were all SUPER well fed, (there's a ton of tropical pink springtails in the setup), and I'm sure are now breeding in there. This is fantastic news, as I LOVE springtails, but my past attempt at breeding Chelifer cancroides ended in disaster (I think due to using carboard hides and not feeding them enough). However these seem to be thriving, and I'm sure a couple of the larger ones are gravid females. 

However, I am now left with the dilemma of finding an ID for these... Which is difficult because I don't know yet whether these came from bark I collected myself and failed to sterilize properly, or whether they came in with the isopods themselves. In which case they either came from somewhere in TX, or possibly are straight up an exotic species from cork bark imports...  So yeah, tracing where these came from is gonna be fun... 😅 Which will make getting an ID very hard, unless they have some distinct morphological features that can be used for identification.

Anyways, here are some pictures of one of the fatter ones I could find:

Such cute little chonks! Hope they continue to do well for me and breed successfully, so that I may spread them around in the hobby!

EDIT: After talking with Pseudoscorpion expert William Samojeden, he says they're something in the family Chernetidae, but that he can't ID them to genus from these pictures. The one in these pics is also a subadult apparently, so that doesn't help. I'm interested to see what adults will look like though, this was the largest one in the setup I could find.

EXTRA EDIT: Well Ty Randall (the person who sent me my rubber duckies) wrote me back, and he says he can't find a single Pseudoscorpion in his colony's enclosure. SO, these almost certainly were brought in with bark from Boise, ID that I collected and failed to completely sterilize before using for my isopods... which is both very concerning because of the pathogen risk, but also a relief in terms of finding out where these Pseudoscorpions came from. 😅

Now, on the opposite end of the size spectrum, I took some comparison photos of my major male Princisia vanwaerebeki "Big/Black" and major male Princisia vanwaerebeki "Androhamana". The two strains are very similar, the "Androhamana" male just looks a bit broader in proportion (probably because it is a larger individual), but both have essentially the same pronotum structure, morphology, etc., obviously different coloration though. That, combined with the fact that I'm now getting my third generation of "Big/Black" adults, and ALL the adult males still have proper Princisia pronotum morphology, leads me to fully believe that my "Big/Black" strain is a pure Princisia strain, just with some unusual color variation (which isn't too outside the norm for this strain IMO).

Here are some pictures of the two side by side:

Such amazing, large hissers, glad I have these two pure strains, looking forward to making them more common in the hobby! 😁

Lastly, on a related, weird note, I did find a weird nymph in my Princisia "Big/Black" bin with an abdominal segment deformity. Such deformities aren't that uncommon in roaches and other inverts, usually it's a dorsal segment that gets all twisty and overlaps other segments. However, this nymph had the first ventral abdominal segment deformity I've ever seen... Really weird, looks like the last couple segments got split down the middle, the white tissue is not guts, just a lot of intersegmental membrane.

Here are a couple pics of the deformity:

Neat right? Curious to see how this one matures, will keep ya'll posted if anything interesting happens.

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