Monday, November 28, 2022

A Few Last November Roach Updates

My Margattea nimbata culture has really taken off, this species is quite prolific, and thankfully also doesn't seem to care much about crowding or frass buildups. 

I've noticed that they're awfully calm compared to a lot of other Ectobiids I keep, when disturbed they run downwards, instead of upwards like most other climbing Ectobiids do. They're also pretty slow, and seem to only really sprint in short spurts, taking long breaks in between. Overall a very chill Ectobiid to work with, which is nice. 😄

Here are some pictures of a group of nymphs and an adult female feeding on some apple:

Love the ornate patterning on the nymphs, such an underrated species in culture!

I sold off the bulk of my Gromphadorhina portentosa "LLE Mahogany" colony last week, only keeping two fresh adults pairs for myself. These two pairs are quite pale compared to the rest of the individuals that were in that colony, so I figure I'll try and line breed for this coloration, see if I get an even paler morph isolated over time.

Here are some pictures of the two pairs:



They look a bit more yellow in person, but I think I captured their coloration decently in these pictures. Will be interesting to see if this coloration can even be bred for and isolate, or if it's just an inherently random trait with the Mahogany morph.

Lastly, my Eucorydia forceps nymphs are growing quite well, they were tiny little specks just a couple months back, and now they're probably around half grown now. 😊

Here are some pictures of the little cuties:

Can't wait to see adults next year, really looking forward to it! 😁

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! 😉

Friday, November 25, 2022

Meh, Who Needs a Title? Just Some More Updates...

Got some updates and pictures to share! 🙂

First off, my Plectoptera poeyi are popping off, there's so many in my culture, and they've  completely destroyed any and A LOT of new adults! 😁

Here are some pictures I took of a group of them recently:

Such a cute species, hopefully more people will culture them in the future!

Next up, decided to take some better comparison shot of adult females of Perisphaerus punctatus and Perisphaerus pygmaeus. I had taken comparison pictures between the two species when I first got punctatus, and I honestly quite like my male comparison photo. However, the young adult female punctatus in those pictures weren't well fed/gravid yet, and so had shrunken abdomens, compared to the normally quite plump abdomens of well fed/gravid females. Also didn't really get good dorsal shots of the female punctatus alongside the pygmaeus...

So I took better pics comparing the two the other day, here they are (the pygmaeus is the smaller of the two in all these pics, the punctatus the larger, in case that wasn't clear):

Solo shot of female pygmaeus, just 'cause.
As you can see, the punctatus are noticeably larger than pygmaeus (though this wasn't the largest pygmaeus female I've seen, some can get a little bit bigger, but this is fairly representative of average size).

On a side note though, I apparently never posted about it here on the blog, buuuut I'm pretty sure based my previous experience with this species, that Perisphaerus pygmaeus (at least the Taiwanese strain in the hobby) needs a winter diapause for optimal breeding.

You see, I did some detective work, and according to INaturalist, there are sightings of P.pygmaeus all over Taiwan. The most sightings seem to be concentrated in a cluster around the capital of Taiwan, Taipei, with just three sightings scattered across the rest of the island, see here:

And realistically speaking, considering Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, with the highest amount of people living there, I'm sure most roaches coming from Taiwan (especially back in the day) probably were collected in the northern half of the island, not the south. In Taipei, the winter temperatures drop to the mid 50s to mid 60s F°, same as some parts of temperate mainland China, so much like the temperate Chinese Pseudoglomeris spp. in culture, I THINK Perisphaerus pygmaeus might actually prefer a winter diapause.

This may be why they have bred so poorly for US keepers long term in the past, but do well for EU breeders, because several EU breeders (at least some of the ones I talk to) often don't provide a ton of supplemental heat to their colonies during the winter, except for very special species, so their collections can drop to the mid 60s F° during the dead of winter, (at least during the night) as a result. It's not super cold, but most of these temperate Perisphaerinae really do only need mild cool periods, followed by a temperature rise in the Spring/Summer to thrive. Some people may still be able to push colonies through multiple generations by not providing a diapause, but it's evidently a lot more difficult...

So, I put them into a diapause starting in the first week or so of October, in the low to mid 60s F°, and I plan to keep them in diapause until about mid December. Not going to give them quite as long as a diapause as my temperate Chinese species, mostly because I think it's unnecessary considering the founders of this colony that I got only went through a short diapause (they were shipped to me in early October, and took till mid November to arrive, exposed to rather cool/cold temperatures the whole time... 😅), and started breeding rapidly after I got them and started keeping them warm. So I'm basically mimicking that timeline, and then giving them an extra week or two in the cold before warming them up again. Hopefully this will trigger the majority of my females to give birth, we shall see! 🤞😊

Lastly, my Porcellionides sp. "Big Pine Key, FL" have been thriving for me, for me they seem to much prefer more humid conditions, I never found them on their dry side, they'd always be clustered in their humid corner. So I started keeping most of the enclosure humid, and they started breeding much better, and can be found throughout much of the enclosure now (except for the corner I still keep dry). High ventilation still seems to be rather important for them though, I don't think they'll do well in humid but poorly ventilated conditions at all (again, similar to some Spanish Porcellio spp.).

One thing I REALLY love about this species is their polymorphic patterning. But that's not all, unlike most other isopods, their patterning actually can affect their leg color too! I'm finding that lots of my high yellow adults also have bright yellow patches on their legs, often the entire legs are actually yellow! But only on some of the legs, not all of them. This is really neat, because USUALLY, no matter the species or morph, the legs of isopods remain a pale grey/white color, with few exceptions. But in this (likely undescribed) species, even the legs can exhibit some bright colors. 😁

Here's a prime example:

This species is criminally underrated in the hobby IMO, not only are they BEAUTIFUL, and still uncommon in culture (two things most avid isopod collectors drool over in a species), but their wild population is very small and actually took a big loss when their small habitat was hit by a fire recently... They're apparently recovering slowly, which is good, however with their natural habitat being more and more encroached on by human development as time passes, it's pretty important these remain in culture via captive breeding, so that they're not lost forever should the worst happen. So honestly, I think they should be way more popular in the hobby than they are. Sure they're US native, not exotic like the popular Cubaris/Merulanella/Nesodillo spp., but it's not like most people can take a little roadtrip and find them easily (nor SHOULD they considering the status of their only known wild population).

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

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Failed Projects of Summer/Fall

Well, it's about that time again, time to tally up some of my failed projects from the past few months.

First off, let's start with Zetoborinae, which have been a complete disaster for me this year.

The Capucina patula group I received earlier this year all died off after a couple months of me getting them... I even sent a pair to one of my friends, and they died on him too, so that species is apparently just a huge PIA to keep, not exactly sure what went wrong with those in the slightest... Their conditions seemed pretty adequate to me, and they had super smooth bark, the only thing I can think of is maybe the bark was actually too smooth... But I don't know, in any case those aren't getting established in the US hobby anytime soon... 😢

As for the Schizopilia fissicollis I received in the same package, those did a lot better for me, HOWEVER they kept hitting the subadult stage, and then would just up and die. So I sent my remaining three female and two male nymphs to my buddy Brandon Maines a month or so ago, and they already seem to be doing better for him, he's got several subadults that look healthy, and will hopefully mature soon. 🤞 So, those still got a chance in the US hobby, Interestingly he's noticed those actually are going for the more rough and bumpy bark slabs in his setup, not the super smooth ones, so yeah maybe those and Capucina like more bumpy bark hides than Lanxoblatta... 🤔

Lastly, my Phortioeca sp. "Ecuador" females just kept aborting every ooth they made, so I just sent those to Brandon as well, though unfortunately they're likely too old to do anything for him (though, he says two of them have gotten quite plump). Really not sure what went wrong with those either, they were easy to rear and keep alive, but my setup evidently was NOT adequate for breeding somehow... 😟 Thankfully Alan Jeon has a phenomenal colony of those going, and I think Kyle at Roachcrossing has bred his too, so those will likely be here to stay in the US hobby anyways for a while.

Sadly, my Rhabdoblatta parvula were exposed to some pesticides, and I lost basically all of them as a result... 😭 THANKFULLY I sent Brandon a pair months prior, which are nearing maturity, SO, if everything goes right, he should be able to breed those and establish them in the hobby no problem. 

I think I also exposed my R.rustica to the same pesticides, however there was still one healthy, gravid looking female, plus a couple males, so I sent those to Brandon as well, in the hopes he can breed them. 

Now this is probably the most heartbreaking update of the year IMO, and I'm really quite disappointed in myself over it... but I'm pretty sure I've completely failed with Epiperipatus barbadensis. 😭

The two smallest individuals died pretty early on, they got stuck in the goo of another velvet worm (presumably the big female), and both tore off an antenna in freeing themselves, which sadly resulted in their rapid deaths (velvet worms can easily get infected and die from even small wounds). These deaths were infuriating, but also kind of a horrible fluke, I'm honestly not sure what I could have done differently to avoid them getting stuck in each other's goo, other than keep them in a much larger setup, or keep them separately (neither of which SHOULD be necessary for the small group I started with).

Out of paranoia, I then removed and isolated the third small individual to prevent it suffering the same fate, however due to the heater in my place going out for a few days a couple weeks ago, I had to put my entire collection of inverts in big moving boxes, with heat cables inside and blankets on top to keep them warm. I basically didn't do any maintenance on anything for those few days, due to being busy with the whole lack of heat thing... In that time, while basically NONE of my other inverts were affected, the temporary enclosure of that one smaller velvet worm unfortunately got drier than is optimal, and the poor thing dried out and died. 😢 This is the death I'm the most mad about, because it's something that was entirely avoidable, had I just been more diligent with watering... 😡 Though to be entirely fair, again I was quite stressed and preoccupied with the whole heating situation for me and my family (especially considering it was freezing outside that week), so doing routine maintenance on the bugs was not priority number #1 at the time, I was more so concerned with just keeping them and myself warm.

Now, the last, large, hopefully mated female is still alive, and had been super healthy and plump looking this whole time, and real gluttonous too, so I was REALLY hoping she was gravid and would give birth soon. However, the other day I found a couple shallow but noticeable abrasions/wounds on her back, There's nothing alive in the container that could have damaged her (I only feed prekilled prey, and there's not many springtails in there either). I'm always very gentle while poking around too, so my best guess is she sprayed glue at the prekilled prey (which they always seem to do) near one of her hiding spots, got glue stuck on her back somehow, and then tore some of her skin off (looks like some of the glue is dried up and still on her back actually).

Considering how fragile these things are, even though it's a small injury, I'm chalking her up as a loss preemptively... Though I'll obviously continue to monitor and care for her until she passes, and she did just eat an entire subadult Parcoblatta last night, so I guess we'll see. But yeah, I've really messed up with these, and am very upset at this failure. Still, I'll take it as a learning experience I suppose.
EDIT 11/27: Welp, just checked on my last female, and yeah she croaked. 😢 What a shame.

Sadly, while my Chalcolepidius webbii gave me some larvae, my C.smaragdinus female never laid so much as a single egg... Me and Alan have come to the conclusion she was probably just too old to do so, or otherwise had something wrong with her, in addition to that species being difficult to get eggs from period. Quite a shame, as this was the prettiest click beetle species I've ever laid eyes on... But, I'm at least happy I got C.webbii larvae, and hopefully one day I'll get to try smaragdinus again. 🤞

Lastly, a couple of Ectobiid updates.
Sadly, my Blattellinae sp. "Xiamen" pair both died shortly ater arrival... in hindsight I probably shouldn't have picked an adult pair to establish a colony with... 😂 Oh well, my buddies should be able to breed their (much larger) groups no problem, so not a big deal TBH.

I'm more upset about the collapse of my Chorisoneura texensis colony actually... Turns out the Alabama strain of C.texensis that I was keeping needs a diapause when they're large nymphs, failure to provide them one will result in adults that simply refuse to breed... 😐

I didn't know that, and so when Alan sent me WC C.texensis subadults last year during the fall (while they were naturally diapausing under bark on dead, standing trees), instead of keeping them cool until Spring, I instantly started keeping them warm. Now, the few weeks of cool weather they had in Alabama before being collected was enough of a diapause for them to mature into healthy, fertile adults, HOWEVER, because I took them out early, I knocked them out of sync with the seasons, and so instead of their CB, F1 offspring taking until Fall to reach the subadult stage (when I could have easily given them a diapause), they instead matured in mid summer, long before I could reasonably keep them cool, resulting in CB adults that just refused to breed. 🙃 Quite frustrating, but now I know better for the future, and I've at least seemed to nail every other aspect of their husbandry, as they were absolutely thriving for me up until this point (and the CB adults lived quite a while, one of the females is still kicking actually).

Also, not so much a failure of keeping but rather a failure of acquiring, but me and my buddies tried to get some Decoralampra fulgencioi to revive this species in the US hobby this month. Sadly they were all DOA due to the cold weather... A real shame, hopefully we can get some in the Spring. However some of the dead adults were still rather fresh, so I got some pics of a couple dead, but lifelike looking adult females:

Such a pretty species, hopefully we can get them into the US hobby one day, would love to see some live ones in person. 🤞

Well, that does it for this downer post, but hey, gotta keep y'all updated, even on the failures. 😅 Thanks for reading, hope everyone found this post informative, stay safe, and I'll see y'all next time! 😉