Sunday, December 24, 2023

Happy Holidays, Here's a Throwback!

Happy 2023 Holidays, I hope y'all are doing well! 😃 

For this post, I'm gonna be talking about a failed breeding attempt me and my friend went into last year. In early 2022 a buddy of mine bought (and I brought in) some Sundablatta sexpunctata. Since he was the one who bought them, not me, and since only a few showed up alive (over two separate shipments), they all obviously went to him, and he didn't want me posting about them until he actually bred them, or failed to breed them for that matter. Sadly the latter happened, but I still wanted to share my pictures of them, as well as talk about what went wrong.

Now, this locality came from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This species is well known as being one of the prettiest roaches out there, and you'll often see pictures of these being pulled from Google and posted by newcomers to the hobby in various roach groups, asking if they're in culture at all. They appear to be beetle or Hemipteran mimics of some sort, but we're not sure exactly. They're often found out and about on tree stumps, logs, etc., and often in groups, so clearly not that afraid of being seen.

Now, some notes on their care. They were not difficult to rear, or keep alive, but rather it seemed getting females to oviposit, and getting ooths to hatch was the hurdle. Only two sexed pairs arrived alive, one adult male, and three nymphs. Now unfortunately, for whatever reason, the first female to mature either had a prolapse, or some other internal issue causing her to only make a few deformed ooths that never hatched, and then she died. The second female thankfully was much healthier, and through some trial and error, Brandon was able to get her to produce several viable looking oothecae, but they sadly never hatched. These are some of the more useful tips from what we learned in keeping them:
  • The Allee Effect: They don't seem to do well solo, at least we noticed that the second female made ooths much more infrequently when she was kept solo. Brandon had separated the surviving male from the second female, as he feared he would stress her out with constant mating attempts. However, she soon stopped making ooths, and only seemed to start laying again when Brandon reintroduced the male to her enclosure.
  • Territorialism: Despite not doing well solo, they also show a decent amount of territorial behavior, chasing and nipping at each other. So in a small enclosure, a decent sized group of individuals seems to stress each other out, and indeed in the wild they are normally only found singly or in very small, spread out groups on the same logs/stumps. So it would seem a large enclosure with lots of surface area is most conducive to rearing a sustainable colony of this species. Overcrowding is seemingly not acceptable.
  • They prefer semi-humid conditions: Contrary to our initial hunch, this species doesn't actually like super high humidity, and instead does better with a horizontal 50/50 humidity gradient, in a well ventilated enclosure, with light mistings every now and then. When the entire enclosure was kept humid, it appears the majority of oothecae rotted. Whereas when multiple different microclimates, including drier ones were added, only then did oothecae start hatching. The adults also actively preferred hiding on the dry side, especially in hides that were touching the humid side. A look into their locality shows that the ambient humidity in their habitat is only around 50% for most of the year. Unfortunately we learned that bit quite late on in the breeding attempt, and so I think quite a few of the viable ooths may have rotted due to excess humidity.
  • Not picky about food: Really, they aren't picky at all, they seem rather protein hungry and will eagerly feed on dog food and pollen. Fruits will also be accepted, most mushrooms are ignored. Overall pretty easy to feed, contrary to anecdotal reports of them being picky eaters.
Overall, not THE most difficult Ectobiids to keep alive, though can be finicky and unforgiving in terms of improper husbandry. And obviously we never figured out how to incubate their ooths...

Anyways, I did of course manage to take pictures of these when they were briefly in my possession, before handing them off to Brandon. Here they are in all their adorable, colorful glory:

Subadult female

Adult male

While I'm quite sad these failed to get established in my friend's collection, I am at least happy I got to see these wonderful little roaches in person. And hopefully one day I'll actually be able to try keeping these myself, and apply what we've learned so far into culturing them. 😄 

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

White Out Titans & New Roaches!

Just did a trade with Maxwell Wolfgang of PA Pods, and can't be happier with what I received! 😊

First off, the main attraction in this trade, a group of Porcellio hoffmannseggi "White Out"! 😄 Maxwell isolated these himself from his normal hoffmannseggi colony, and man what a neat morph to have in such a large and hardy isopod species. 😍 They look stunning already, can't wait to see them full grown!

I have mine in a typical Spanish Porcellio setup, a well ventilated shoebox with an inch or so of coconut fiber substrate, topped with lots of leaf litter and some bark hides. Keeping a third of the substrate humid, the rest dry. Feeding them dog food in addition to the leaf litter. Also offering calcium carbonate, which while not absolutely necessary, does seem to be appreciated by a lot of the Spanish Porcellio spp. and may attribute to a larger maximum size (my P.magnificus and P.expansus love it). Keeping them at around 75F°.

Here are some pictures of the beauties:

Such a pretty morph, hopefully they'll breed as well for me as normal hoffmannseggi have.

I also got some Archimandrita tesselata nymphs, the "Peppered Roach". They are still relatively small nymphs, so I won't really bother with pictures yet, but I'm excited to be working with this very large hobby staple. 😀 

I have them set up in a large, moderately ventilated container with a few inches of coconut fiber substrate with some leaf litter mixed in. No hides yet but once they get closer to maturity I'll add a bunch of vertically slanted bark hides for them to molt to adulthood off of. Keeping them humid, and at around 75-80F°. Feeding them dog food and fruits.

Lastly I got some Therea olegrandjeani nymphs, "Question Mark Roaches". So now I have pure stock of all three US hobby Therea spp., which is important because I'm seeing an alarming increase in the amount of Therea hybrids popping up and being sold in the hobby lately. 😮‍💨 So I'm glad I've now got all three back in my collection.

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

Sunday, December 17, 2023

My New Katydids!!!

After wanting to work with this genus for years, I finally acquired some eggs of Copiphora sp. "Tarapoto, San Martin, Peru"!!! Thanks to fellow hobbyist Paulo Padilla for trading me 20+ eggs, really looking forward to working with these decent sized, pretty, predatory katydids. 😁

I got my eggs in a well ventilated deli cup on top of a thin layer of moist coconut fiber, and am keeping them at 75-85F°. Hopefully they will develop and hatch within a few months, and I can get to rearing them. 😄

Here is a "meh" quality phone picture of the eggs:

Keeping my fingers crossed for a high hatch rate, curious to see how those bent eggs develop. 🤔 

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

Friday, December 15, 2023

New Pods and LOTS of Dubia!

Well, something interesting happened a few weeks ago. One of my local acquaintances did a joint rescue with Idaho Fish & Game, and rescued/confiscated a decent collection of herps and inverts. He offered some of the inverts to me if I wanted them, and you know me, I can't turn down free bugs. 🤣 

First off, and probably most excitedly, I was given 8-10 Cylisticus convexus "Ukraine - Pied". I have a real fondness for this species, their ease of care and unique morphology are both appealing to me, so having a Pied/Dalmatian morph of this species is even better! 😃 

Got mine set up in a moderately ventilated enclosure with an inch or so of what looks like coco fiber mixed with moss (it's what they came on), topped with leaf litter and bark. Keeping them quite humid and at 70-75F°. Feeding dog food in addition to the leaf litter.

Here are some pictures of them:

I expect I'll start seeing babies any day now, considering some of the females are gravid. 😄 

Also nabbed a starter culture of Porcellio dilatatus, which have gone through the wringer and were initially set up far too moist. Letting the colony dry out a bit, and already they seem to be recovering nicely, I did find a few mancae the other day, so I expect within a few months I'll have tons of them, based on my previous experience with this species.

And lastly I was given a fairly large and well established culture of Blaptica dubia, which I merged with my smaller breeding colony. Interestingly there are both Alphitobius diaperinus and Tenebrio molitor present in the colony in small numbers, which I will likely isolate and establish separate colonies of for the heck of it. 😁 

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Iridescent Camel Crickets that Didn't Skip Leg Day!

So, may have lost two species of camel crickets (my Daihiniini sp. "Sand Treaders" and local Idaho Ceuthophilus agassizii) this year... but that just means I have to come back with a vengeance and collect even more unique species than I lost! 😁

Thanks to a trade with a fellow hobbyist, I am happy to introduce to my collection Pristoceuthophilus sp. "Walnut Creek, CA"! The males of this genus are known to have very unusual hind leg morphology, which may be used in fighting other males for females/territory. I don't know if this is a normal feature for this genus, or just this species in particular, but the adults have a beautiful oil slick iridescence to them, not unlike that of Simandoa nymphs. 😍 

This genus is known to be a bit heat sensitive, but other than that I'd imagine breeding should be straightforward, similar to Ceuthophilus. I've got mine in a moderately ventilated container with an inch or so of coconut fiber and sand substrate, which I'm keeping humid. I've got lots of hides in there, am offering dog food and fruits as the diet, and am keeping them at around 70-75F°.

Here are some pictures of an adult pair:



The males of this genus REALLY don't skip leg day... 🤣 And as such, have a very impressive leap for their size. Hopefully they will reproduce easily for me. 🙏

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

Monday, December 11, 2023

New Male Macropanesthia, Mantid Woes, & More

Got some updates, some good, some bad.

Let's jump into a great update though, I have another male Macropanesthia rhinoceros finally! 😍 This male comes through the kindness of my friend Toan Hoang, who just straight up bought me a male from Mo Fauna. HUGE thanks to Toan for that, and props to Mo Fauna for great packing and a beautiful, healthy male. 😁 

Here are some pictures of the chad:

Hopefully he'll get both my females mated, and then hopefully they'll give birth within the next several months. 🤞 

Now onto a bummer update... SOMEHOW, my female Metallyticus splendidus got herself wedged UNDER one of the thin cork board hides in the breeding enclosure, and damaged herself fatally as a result. Words fail me honestly, none of the males in that same setup met that fate, I'm honestly not sure how the HELL she got in that position in the first place. Either way, f*ck mantids. 🤣 I'm so done keeping Mantodea, I will leave that to others more experienced in that fields, and stick to keeping almost any other invert family. 

On the trend of bummer updates, my adorable Daihiniini sp. babies all died, and I'm honestly not sure why. They seemed to just refuse most foods, and those they had some interest in (namely prekilled inverts and artificial pollen) they seemingly lost interest in and then wasted away. Very odd, and honestly I'm still not sure if the diet was actually the problem, or if some other factor was causing them to stress and die. But I tried a wide variety of substrates and humidity levels, and nothing seemed to work. Oh well, maybe I'll get to try these another day, though I have no idea what I'd do differently. 

Here are some meh quality phone pics I got of the first instars, before they all kicked the bucket:

Too bad they didn't do well for me, considering the babies were ADORABLE. 😭

I also lost my Ceuthophilus agassizii colony. Seems I always lose them about 4-5 gens into culture, I feel like they may actually need a winter diapause in order to keep them going for longer than that. I guess I'll test this theory out with my next colony, I'll just have to wait until Spring/Summer and collect some some more (I've literally found them in my neighborhood, so this shouldn't be a problem).

OK, onto more positive news, I FINALLY got babies from my Panesthia angustipennis angustipennis "Sabah, Malaysia - Gold Winged Form"!!! 😁 Took like 8 months, but hopefully after this lengthy initial incubation, future broods will take significantly less time to develop.

I've also been getting Salganea raggei babies over thos past year, don't know if I ever updated the blog about that. But, there it is lol.

Got some Eucorydia westwoodi weirdness going on... After only 4 months of development, I've started getting new adults. 😳 And the majority of my remaining nymphs are subs or presubs now. This is crazy fast growth, and the adults emerged before I got to put the colony into diapause. SO, I have isolated said early bloomers to their own culture, to see if I can just straight up break the diapause requirement for this species. That would make these even easier to culture and more accessible to a wider audience of breeders, so hopefully it can be done.

In more Eucorydia news, I have started getting E.forceps babies, and more fresh adult pairs as well. 😁 So, the colony is well on it's way to establishing itself, which is great. Another notch in my belt for successful breeding of this genus.

My Cubaris sp. "Amber" are doing quite well, breeding rather prolifically for me, and my line bred morph project is going... slowly. 😆 I am getting more and more of the very pale striped individuals, but still a lot of normal dark striped ones as well. The end goal is to get very faintly striped individuals breeding true, not sure how long that's gonna take or if it's even possible TBH.

Anyways, here are some pics of a group of them:

Very cute and easy to breed species, they just like a good amount of heat compared to some other spp..

Lastly, my Eupolyphaga sinensis "White Eye" colony is doing phenomenal. So much so that I really want to get the normal form as well, since I know this species does well for me, and it seems normal E.sinensis are on the brink of dying out of culture here in the US.

Here are a couple pics of some adult females:

Such a cute little species, hopefully they'll become more common in culture as the years go by.

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