Friday, September 1, 2023

My Holy Grail of Sand Roaches (& Other Goodies from Alan)

So, there is one species of sand roach native to the US, that I have wanted to try keeping FOREVER. Eremoblatta subdiaphana has got to be one of the cutest species of Corydiid, period. They are more rotund in build than Arenivaga, and the nymphs and females are absolutely covered in hair. 😊
However, while they are widespread across the southwest, their populations appear very spotty, and so they have proven much, much harder for hobbyists to find with any regularity. They are strict psammophiles and don't seem to utilize rodent burrows as much as their close relatives Arenivaga do, so this makes them harder to collect too. Seems the best way of doing so is digging through sand at the base of vegetation in the proper habitats, they seem particularly fond of sand that's been a bit compacted as well.
Thankfully the absolute legend that is Alan Jeon just went on a trip out west, and was able to collect and send me 6 individuals, so hopefully I'll be able to fulfill my dream of breeding this adorable species! He and Kyle have tried a couple times in the past, however nether have been successful in getting females to produce a decent amount of ooths, or in getting any ooths to hatch at all.

I've got mine set up similar to how I've set up my Arenivaga floridensis, I have mine on pure riverbed sand I gathered myself, mixed in with a TINY amount of fine clay. The substrate is a couple inches deep, I'm keeping one third of the substrate humid, the rest dry. I'm also lightly misting the substrate every few days, so that it compacts and then dries up, since they apparently like that compacted sand the best (the clay is to help aid in the compaction). The substrate is topped with leaf litter, and the humid area also has some sphagnum moss on top for moisture retention. The enclosure is very well ventilated, I'm keeping them at around 80-85F°, and am feeding them dog food and artificial pollen in addition to the leaf litter.

Here are some pictures of two adult females and a nymph:

Absolutely adorable, and my new favorite roach in the collection for now. 😍 Fingers crossed I can succeed where others have failed, and somehow breed this amazing US native!

Now, I've struggled with breeding Jerusalem crickets several times now, so much so that I'd decided not to try again this year unless some really amazing species became available to me... And wouldn't you know it, Alan delivered, and offered to send me a pair of Ammopelmatus mescaleroensis, which I couldn't refuse.

This species is endemic to the Mescalero Sand Dunes, and is very dark in coloration, unusual for this genus. Being a sand dune endemic species, this makes them a psammophile, and one thing I've really struggled with in breeding Jerusalem Crickets is getting the substrate just right for females to want to oviposit in or for nymphs to properly develop in. With these, the guessing is taken out of the equation, because they just need straight sand as the substrate, so then humidity is the only hurdle to overcome (they won't want the sand wet I'm sure, but it needs to be humid enough to retain it's shape). So, all that being said, I'm optimistic I can breed this species, so long as I get my subadult pair to maturity successfully. 😄 

I've got mine in moderately ventilated containers filled to the brim with, you guessed it, sand. 😆 I'm keeping them humid, and at around 75-80F°. I'm offering dog food, prekilled inverts and fruits for the diet.

Here are some pictures of the subadult female:

Definitely excited to see what they look like when mature, I'm guessing they'll be even darker, but we shall see. 😄 

Next up, Alan sent me some "normal" Porcellio expansus. I say "normal", since they're the typical white form, however Alan's colony produces unusually pure white bordered individuals, while a lot of people's cultures have more offwhite or yellow bordered individuals. This may be due to diet, or could be genetic, I'm not entirely sure. But nevertheless, I'm excited to try my hand at this species again, hopefully with more success than my last attempt to breed them (to be fair, I'm pretty sure my last group was poisoned by fire retardant latent cardboard).

Got them set up currently in a well ventilated enclosure with a thin layer of coconut fiber substrate, topped with lots of bark, leaf litter, and eggcrate hides. I'm keeping a third of the setup humid, the rest dry, have them at around 80-85F°, and am offering dog food in addition to the leaf litter for their diet.

Here are some pictures of them:

It'll be interesting to see if they yellow up over time in my care, which would indicate the coloration is solely diet related.

I also got some Parcoblatta zebra "Montgomery", one of my favorite Parcoblatta species, and certainly one of the most colorful. They're still small nymphs, but I'm really looking forward to seeing adults of this species once again, and hopefully will succeed in establishing a healthy breeding colony!

I have mine set up in a moderately ventilated container with a thin layer of coconut fiber substrate, topped with leaf litter, bark and cardboard hides. I'm keeping them humid, at 85F°, and am offering dog food and the occasional bit of fruit for the diet.

Here are some pics of the nymphs:

Definitely an underrated native in my opinion!

Well, that does it for this post, huge thanks to Alan for sending me these amazing species! Thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉

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