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! 😉

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