Thursday, November 30, 2023

New Darklings and Crickets!

Got some goodies from Roachcrossing a couple months ago, including some neat darklings and a cricket species I'll cover in this post. 😃

First off, a species I've been wanting for a while,, Embaphion depressum! This is a small species for this genus, with a less exaggerated "Pie-dish" shape to them than in the other species in culture. I really love how these look personally, and so far they seem to be doing well for me. 😀

I have them set up in a well ventilated shoebox, with a couple inches of a coconut fiber and sand mix for the substrate, a third of which I'm keeping humid, the rest dry. I'm keeping them at around 75F°, and offering dog food as the staple diet.

Here are some pics of the cuties:

They've already started producing larvae and some next generation adults, hopefully they'll grow into a large colony in no time. 😊

Next up, Kyle sent a sexed pair of a large species of Eleodes eschscholtzi from "Mount Hopkins, AZ"... or at least, it was supposed to be A pair of that species. However I was a bit suspicious from the get go, and thanks to further research and the ID skills of Andrew Johnston, we know that the male is indeed Eleodes eschscholtzi. The males of this species have a rather pronounced elytral mucro, whereas the females have a more rounded out appearance, which makes sexing super easy. Females of that species also have a prefemoral spine, which females of most Eleodes spp. don't have, but some subgenus Eleodes species like armata and apparently eschscholtzi do.

That brings us to the disappointing news though... I had suspected it since I first saw her, but after further research and discussion with Andrew, we have come to the conclusion that said Female is of a different species. Something in Eleodes, subgenus Xysta, probably E.longicollis. Even worse, she seems to be unmated, I've seen her lay eggs but none of them have ever hatched. So, this pair of two species is completely useless. 🤣 

Here are some pictures of the two of them:

Male E.eschscholtzi

Female Eleodes (Xysta) sp.

Interesting mishap lol, hopefully Kyle's actual E.eschscholtzi females will start laying some more eggs soon, so I can get some larvae off him in the future.🤞 

Now for two smaller Eleodes spp., let's start with the Eleodes dissimilis "Paradise, AZ". This species seems to be a pretty easy to breed one, as I've already got dozens of larvae from mine, some of which are getting quite large already.

I have mine set up in a well ventilated gallon shoebox, with an inch or two of coconut fiber substrate. I'm keeping a third of the enclosure humid, the rest bone dry, and am feeding dog food as the staple diet. The temperature is about 75-80F°.

Here are some pictures of an adult pair:

Male #1

Male #2

Female #1 (a bit more rotund than usual, likely stunted)

Female #2 (more normal morphology)

Male #2 and Female #2

Nothing too crazy in terms of morphology, just a neat little species that appears to be rather hardy. 😀

And secondly in terms of smaller Eleodes, we have these Eleodes extricata "El Prado, NM". This locality has a very compact build, with deeper elytral pitting than my "Hildale, UT" strain. These too appear to be easy breeders, as I've already got dozens of offspring from them.

Same as the above species, I have mine set up in a well ventilated gallon shoebox, with an inch or two of coconut fiber substrate. I'm keeping a third of the enclosure humid, the rest bone dry, and am feeding dog food as the staple diet. The temperature is about 75-80F°.

Some pics of an adult pair:



Looking forward to rearing more of these up and getting a big colony established, so that I may share this species with other interested keepers. 😊

Lastly for this post, I figure I'd cover the Gryllus sp. "Fort Morgan, AL" culture Kyle sent me. This fairly large field cricket species is also fairly colorful for North American members of it's genus, and fast growing too, with no egg diapause needed.

I sent pictures of an adult male, and audio of one chirping to taxonomist David Weissman, who said they fit within what's currently considered to be Gryllus firmus. However, there are at least two genetically distinct populations of "firmus", one in TX, and one in FL. I'll send him adults from my next generation of this AL strain, as it would be good intermediate material between those two populations (and could be genetically distinct from both of them as well). It's likely G.firmus will get broken up into two or more species in the future, but for now, Gryllus cf. firmus is a solid ID for this "Fort Morgan, AL" strain.

Anyways, the nymphs Kyle sent me all matured and have bred already, producing a few dozen of their own nymphs.
I took too long in rehousing them to a larger enclosure sadly, and I'm pretty sure as a result the adult females all died prematurely, though again, they still left a decent amount of eggs behind. The resulting offspring seem to be mildly cannibalistic, or the adult males enjoy chowing down on them, as the survival rate seems to not be the best. But, I definitely have more than enough to get a culture established, still have nymphs hatching out even now, and I rehoused them to a 5 gallon tub with more hides, so fingers crossed for a huge baby boom next generation. 🤞😅

Anyways, their current enclosure is, as I'd mentioned, a 5 gallon bin, moderately ventilated, with an inch or so of coconut fiber as the substrate. I'm keeping them humid, and at around 75F°, and offering dog food and fresh fruits as the staple diet.

Here are some pictures of an adult male, sadly I wasn't able to photograph the females before they kicked it. And, as I mentioned previously, I did get a good recording of a male chirping for ID purposes, which you can hear here.

A very handsome species of Gryllus for sure, hopefully they'll establish well in my care. I'd love to work with more members of this genus, annoyingly most northern spp. and strains require a diapause either as nymphs or as eggs, whereas this AL species doesn't appear to have that requirement. But, if I happen to find some Gryllus here in ID while I look for bugs in the Spring, I suppose I'll grab them anyways. 😂 

Well, that does it for this post, big thanks to Andrew Johnston for IDing the Eleodes spp., and to David Weissman for IDing the Gryllus. Thanks to all my viewers for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉 

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