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! 😉

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