Sunday, October 30, 2022

New Record of Nyctibora from Arizona!!!

This is a pretty exiting post, as we'll be talking about a recent discovery made by Benjamin Senigaglia (the same person who introduced Arenivaga sp. "Mount Ord" to the hobby). While looking for bugs around Peña Blanca Lake in Arizona, Benjamin found some interesting looking roaches, both females, which he thankfully captured and photographed. After the pictures got around to Alan, Kyle and I, we determined they were most likely a species of Nyctibora, a genus that until now had NEVER been recorded in the US before! 😲

I did some further research, and it would appear that there are two Nyctibora species in Mexico that could conceivably range north into Arizona, namely N.truncata and N.tetrasticta. The two are very similar, and can only reliably be told apart by looking at adult males; male truncata are all black, whereas male tetrasticta have reddish brown spots on either side of their 5th and 6th abdominal tergites. Benjamin only found females though, so we won't know for sure what species these are until we get offspring and rear some males to adulthood. Still, a very exciting development, these Nyctibora would appear to represent a previously unknown, native US population, and are probably the northernmost ranging Nyctibora species, period. 😃

Nyctibora are typically dark brown or black, velvety Ectobiid roaches in the subfamily Nyctiborinae, which also includes popular genera such as Megaloblatta, Eushelfordia and Paratropes (now Rochiana). This subfamily is notoriously difficult to culture, mainly because their oothecae usually take 6-14 months to incubate (depending on the species), and can be prone to rotting if they stay too humid (but can't be kept dry either). Only in the last few years have hobbyists around the globe been having success breeding some members of this subfamily, and now I get to try out with what's probably the ONLY US native species! 😁 That's right, Benjamin sent both the females he collected off to Kyle, however before doing so, the females laid a couple ooths in his care, which he told Kyle to pass onto me.

I've just gotten the two oothecae from Kyle, and have placed them in a well ventilated, 32 oz deli cup, with a thin layer of moist coconut fiber at the bottom, I've got a layer of crumpled up paper towels on top of that, which is what the ooths are on. I'm aiming for high air humidity, and low surface humidity for them. If it looks like they're shriveling at all though, I'll increase humidity and maybe place them on the substrate. Keeping them at around 77-85F°.

Here are some pictures Benjamin let me use of the adult females he collected, plus some of my own pics of their unique looking ooths:

Adult female ©Benjamin Senigaglia
Adult female ©Benjamin Senigaglia
Adult female ©Benjamin Senigaglia
Adult female, ventral abdomen ©Benjamin Senigaglia

Such a neat species, really looking forward to seeing babies at some point, fingers crossed! 🤞😁

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! 😉

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Some Random Fall Updates!

Both my Ancaudellia hamifera AND my new Ancaudellia s. serratissima have given birth this month, which is awesome! 😁 Been waiting on more babies from the hamifera for a while now, but was surprised to find babies in the serratissima bin already! Considering the relatively large size of the serratissima babies compared to the adults, pretty sure they only have broods of 6-8 nymphs at most. Still, so glad they've bred for me already, looking forward to watching the colony grow, and spreading this species around in the US hobby! 😄

Speaking of serratissima, some of the larger nymphs in my starter culture have matured recently, so I was able to get some pictures of some fresh adults:

Cute species, quite similar to hamifera in morphology, but WAY smaller. 😂

Bit of a random update, but my Cylisticus convexus "Eagle, ID" have been doing quite well. Truth be told, they were the only species up on my For Sale List that didn't have any pictures, because the only pictures I've taken of this species were during the infancy of this blog, and all piss poor quality... 😅 So, I decided to take some new pictures of my current stock, not the BEST photos I could have taken, but definitely WAY better than my older pics of this species. 😆

Here they are:

One of the neater backyard isopods IMO, I really like their unique morphology and subtle patterning. 😊

Now, for some sad Perisphaerus sp. "Kota Kinabalu" news... I'm down to three nymphs, and an old WC adult female. 😢 I had four nymphs, one of which was a subadult male, that I had HOPED would mature soon, mate with the old WC female, and perhaps trigger her to incubate another brood and give birth to more babies (truth be told, I have NO idea if this female is one of the ones who gave birth for me previously, or if she's a virgin...).

Now, said subadult male actually DID mature a couple of weeks ago... And died as a teneral adult, despite looking perfectly healthy externally. 😭 Not sure what happened exactly, but I assume it was just sickly... After all, every one of my nymphs were born from stress broods, as a result their survival rate has been abysmal, and they've been plagued will all sorts of random health issues. 

So, now I've got a pre-subadult female, pre-pre-subadult female, a pre-subadult or pre-pre-subadult male and that old WC adult female... It's a long shot, but I could still potentially get a colony established... Buuuut, might just need to get another starter colony one day instead. 😕 

Anyways, here are a few "meh" quality pictures I took of the adult female the other day:

Kind of a sour turn for this species, I suppose I'll just to wait and see what happens to them.

Lastly, on a happier note, my second, runty female Macropanesthia rhinoceros has finally matured! 😁 She's still teneral ATM, but in a few days I'll toss the adult male back into their setup and let him mate with the younger female, and then both of my gals will be fertilized! 😄 The first female is already pretty plump, and hopefully starting to incubate a brood! 🤞

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Camel Cricket Adults & Beetle Updates!

Some of my Ceuthophilus chiricahuae have started to mature, and they look pretty neat. 😀 It seems this species gets just a tad bigger than C.agassizii, and is certainly a lot leggier. 

Here are some pictures of a mature pair:



Hopefully these breed well for me, happy to finally have a third species of camel cricket in my collection. 😁 As much as I love the genus Ceuthophilus, I would REALLY love it if I could get my hands on another US native genus, especially one of the sand treaders... But, I shall stay content with my Ceuthophilus for now. 😅

Next up, a small update, but the other week I reared up a female Eleodes hispilabris "South Texas Race" adult with a nice red stripe going down the middle of her elytra, and felt compelled to take some pictures. Pictures that I will now share here. 😂

Very nice form of this species, glad they've been breeding well for me. 😊

Also, just thought I'd mention that I've gotten larvae from my Eleodes extricata and Eleodes subnitens now! 😁

Lastly, my Trogoderma sp. "Boise, ID" have been breeding incredibly well, and I now have starter colonies available for sale. 😄 I can see the larvae potentially being used as feeders, and honestly these may make decent cleaners in dry roach bins, they pretty much only eat dead, dried invertebrates, they'll eat dog food too but at a MUCH slower rate.

Anyways, I got pictures of the adults before, but not the larvae, here's some grubs digging into some dead invertebrates:

Kinda cute, in a creepy way, right? 😄 Glad these are doing well for me, hopefully they'll be identified to species eventually. 🤞

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

Monday, October 17, 2022

My New Velvet Worms!!!

It's finally happened, I have Velvet worms! 😁 Specifically, four Epiperipatus barbadensis, courtesy of experienced hobbyist Kevin Nasser. These are some of the most coveted and rarest of invertebrates in culture, though many don't even know they exist. For those of you who don't know what velvet worms are, allow me to explain.

Velvet worms aren't worms, but a group of unique invertebrates in the phylum Onychophora, which is part of three extant phyla that make up the clade "Panarthropoda". These three extant phyla are Arthropoda (so insects, arachnids, crustaceans, etc.), Tardigrada (water bears), and of course, Onychophora (velvet worms). So velvet worms aren't quite arthropods, but they're more closely related to arthropods than actual worms. 😄

Velvet worms have very soft, thin, velvety skin, and as such should never really be handled. Despite their cuddly, chonky appearance, and the fact that they get along great communally, they are actually predatory. They feed on a variety of invertebrates, and they hunt by shooting strings of very sticky slime at prey through two oral papillae, which are a pair of highly modified limbs on the sides of the head below the antennae. The slime strands entangle their prey, and quickly dry, as the velvet worm goes in for the kill.

Overall very neat invertebrates, and so cute too! However, they can be quite fragile in captivity, their thin skin makes them more sensitive to a variety of issues that wouldn't bother most other captive invertebrates, and some species are VERY heat sensitive as well. Thankfully, Epiperipatus barbadensis is one of the hardier, tropical species of Onychophorans, and has slowly been becoming more and more established in the pet hobby for the past few years. This is thanks largely in part to Mackenzie Harrison, the original breeder of this species, who's also written a great caresheet on these creatures which can be seen here.

I've got my group housed in a minimally ventilated container with an inch deep mix of coconut fiber and spent Panesthia substrate. There's a live, rooted Pothos cutting planted there, and they've got moss, leaf litter, and some crumpled paper towels on top of the substrate to hide under. In case you can't tell, I'm going for a more simplistic, sterile setup with these guys, since it's a small starter group that I want to monitor closely.
I'm keeping them at around 75F°, watering them only with distilled water (since chlorinated tap water is harmful to them), and am feeding them prekilled Parcoblatta and live Compsodes. Can't tell if they've eaten any of the Compsodes, but they've messed up the prekilled Parcoblatta, my largest Epiperipatus (a suspect female) ate it's weight in Parcoblatta in one night. 😳

Here are some pictures of my largest individual:

So cute!!! 🥰 Their little feet especially are freaking adorable! 😭🥺 I love them so much, I really hope that out of my four individuals I have a breeding pair, and/or that my largest, suspect female is mated and will produce offspring soon. 🤞😁 

Well, that does it for this post, HUGE thanks to Kevin for sending me these beautiful creatures, I'll do my best to help bolster their numbers in captivity!
Thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉