Monday, July 17, 2017

New Roaches from Cody!

Hello everybody and welcome to another one of my elusive new posts! 😃
Almost two weeks ago, out of curiosity, I asked one of the "least-publicized" yet most knowledgeable blatticulturalists out there, Cody Will, what species of roaches he kept. Well this led to him sharing his fantastic Flickr account with me (which I HIGHLY recommend you check out right here) and us swapping collection lists. His list was epic (the largest I had seen behind those of a couple hobbyists by the names of Kyle K and Alan J) and apparently a few species from mine caught his eye! So anyway, he very kindly sent me four species in exchange for a few of mine when they start reproducing! 😁 This package that I received about a week ago contained two African Bullet Roach oothecae, an adult Lucihormetica verrucosa pair, ten small-medium Eublaberus sp."Ivory" nymphs, and an adult female Eurycotis decipiens! As always, I'll start with the species I'm most excited about getting my hands on below. ⬇ 😀 
Before the introduction of grossei, Lucihormetica verrucosa, the Warty Glowspot Roach, was my favorite species in the genus and now it's mine! I was expecting nymphs, but Cody graciously sent me a pair of adults instead, which I really appreciate. 🙂 These guys are a bit smaller in person than I imagined, but I don't care since they are just as beautiful! The male I received seems to be on the latter end of his lifespan, but the female is still young and full of exuberance so as long as they pair up a couple times before he passes away, she should still be producing young for a long while.
I have them housed in a 64 oz. container with a couple dozen needle-holes poked in the lid currently, but once my girl produces her first litter of young, I'll move them to a more spacious colony container. In addition to this, I am keeping them on a moist substrate mix of coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, rotten wood, dead hardwood leaves, and coconut husk with a piece of egg crate for hiding/climbing purposes.
Here's a few pics of my beauts and their enclosure!

Adult male L.verrucosa

Adult female L.verrucosa

Adult pair of L.verrucosa

L.verrucosa enclosure
Secondly, besides it's blatticomposting capabilities, Eublaberus sp."Ivory" makes for an attractive pet with it's exceptional glossiness as nymphs/ivory coloration as adults as well as a good feeder once colonies are established. It makes a ton of sense due to their lifestyle in nature, but since acquiring them I have noticed that they are very strong burrowers, even more so than L.grossei. In fact, it is hard to even contain them in a closed hand because they will just push their way out from right in between your fingers! In addition to this, the adaptations for their burrowing prowess are quite noticeable in the form of a barrel-shaped body and short/bulky legs with reduced tarsi.
I'm keeping my group of ten nymphs in a 6 qt. Sterilite container with four moderately-sized ventilation holes on each side. Their substrate is a moist mix of coconut fiber, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, and dead hardwood leaves.
Here's some pics of the roaches and their enclosure!

Eublaberus sp."Ivory" nymphs

Eublaberus sp."Ivory" enclosure
Thirdly, the unidentified African Bullet Roach (some say it's Neostylopyga propinqua, but this has yet to be confirmed) is a neat little species, that, as the name suggests, hails from Africa (Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tanzania to be specific) and supposedly runs like a flying bullet! Both nymphs and adults are decorated with streaks of color that run down the sides of the pronotum and wing pads growing from a light orange to red color with age. BUT before I can witness those wonderful things, I have to get my oothecae to hatch! I'm keeping the two of them in a deli cup about half-filled with moist sphagnum moss until they (fingers crossed) hatch, in which case I will move the resulting nymphs into a larger container. One of them has already started to mold a bit around the opening so I honestly might just be dealing with one healthy ootheca here, but we'll see.
Anyway here's a couple pics of the (admittedly pretty ordinary-looking) oothecae!

African Bullet Roach oothecae
And last, but certainly not least, I got a gorgeous adult female Eurycotis decipiens to pair with my lone first generation male. Upon taking her out, I actually thought she was so large that she matched up to an adult Eurycotis lixa, but a quick test with a ruler swiftly dismissed this bad observation (goes to show how long I've been without adult Eurycotis 😛). Shortly after this, she decided to lay a MONSTER ootheca for me and, despite having provided bark, she decided to stick it to the piece of egg crate I had in the container (something that is very rarely done in many people's experience with this species). Looks like babies are already in my near future!
Here are some pics of her and the huge ootheca!

Adult female E.decipiens

E.decipiens ootheca
I'm super pumped to work with all these new and compelling species and I'd like to give a big thank you to Cody Will for providing me them in advance, I won't forget this man.🙂
Hope you guys enjoyed this post and I'll meet you again where I always do, at the next post. Goodbye!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Summer Brings Baby Roaches!

Hello and Good Evening Everyone! 😊
Summer brings about many wonderful things, such as the emergence of many impressive arthropods, but it also brings (at least without any special year-long heating) baby roaches! I expect a number of my roach species to start kicking out babies with this surplus of warmth, but two of them have already done so, say hi to the newest members of the roach family below!

First instar E.sinensis "White Eye" F1 nymphs

First instar D.punctata F1 nymphs
As you can see, I've finally gotten some first generation nymphs from both my White-Eyed Chinese Medicinals and Pacific Beetle Mimics! 😃
The first offspring from these species definitely come with some extra relief for me. I had not disclosed it here on the blog yet, but the enclosure I had been keeping my E.sinensis "White Eye" in was overabundant with ventilation leading to a deficiency of substrate moisture and humidity, which ultimately caused some cannibalism and severe ootheca-eating in the colony. The ootheca that recently hatched out the eight nymphs was actually one of about five I had isolated in a separate container to save them from being eaten. Since then, I have moved my ten or so remaining individuals (pretty much all adult females) into a larger enclosure with minimal ventilation, which they seem to be doing much better in considering that I haven't observed any cannibalism or ootheca-eating.
With the D.punctata, I was just getting really nervous that my adults would all die-off before I ever got a single litter of babies with the fact that most of them had been adults for a couple months being halted from having young by the chilly temps of late winter/early spring. But luckily that didn't happen! I now have about six nymphs from the one birth I've had and am crossing my fingers that I'll get a couple more out of my 1-2 females before they expire.
Well those are all the new, roachy faces I have to share right now, I hope you all enjoyed, and goodbye!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's a Spider, It's a Beetle, It's a Spider Beetle!

A couple years back I remember scrolling through the YouTube channel of when my curiosity was taken swiftly at the glimpse of an obscure and particularly peculiar beetle. My mind was blown when a culture of these outlandish organisms was noted to have been kept alive for three decades on dog biscuits in a glass jar. The sheer oddness of this beetle and the fact that I had only seen it once in that old video pretty much ensured that I would never be able to get my hands on them. Visions of this species still drifted in my mind for days and months and then one day as I was scrolling through , I stumbled upon that glorious needle in the haystack. A member of the forum by the name of cfreidsma had gotten a few individuals from bugsincyberspace and was secretly breeding them for a couple years!
Upon noticing this, I knew the species had to be mine, so we agreed to a trade and last week I finally received the beetle of my dreams and IMO one of the coolest "pests" out there, Mezium affine! 😃 This species, sometimes called the "Hooded spider beetle", strongly resemble a large mite or small spider (as the name suggests). After doing my homework on them, I also discovered that they are actually a household pest consuming grain-based foods, dead arthropods, animal skins, animal feces, feathers, hair, and old or decaying wood, a diet that you would not expect for such a unique, little beetle. Quite needless to say, I will be making sure that none of these guys escape (although this would be very unlikely anyway considering that they lack both agility and the ability to climb smooth surfaces). 
I set the majority of my 200+ individuals up in a 64 oz. container with some ventilation holes in the lid, but also housed some in a smaller, ventilated deli-cup. I provided both populations with a food/substrate of oatmeal (that they were shipped with) and dog food (which was recommended by cfreidsma for pupation, but shouldn't actually affect this since they actually just spin their own pupal chambers out of a silk) with a couple pieces of egg-crate as hides.
Pics Below! 😊


Main M.affine enclosure
In whole, I'm very pleased to have, at last, acquired this elusive and one of a kind beetle! Although I received so many that I'll be selling off most to gain ammo for a huge, upcoming trade (and personal interests), I'll still be keeping a nice amount of both populations as I definitely wouldn't want to have these ever slip out of my collection.
I hope all of you enjoyed the presentation of my little pseudospiders and I'll meet you again at my next post, goodbye! 🙂

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Box from Mr.McMonigle

Hey Everyone!
After a very busy and technologically problem-filled last couple months, I'm very glad to finally be up and posting again! 🙂 As you guys can tell from the title, this post will be on a package I recently received from the author of many arthropod husbandry guides, creator/editor of Invertebrates Magazine, co-creator/moderator of the roach, beetle, and mantid forums, and one of the founding fathers of the modern arthropod culturing hobby, Orin McMonigle! So let's jump right in.
In this package I received a "nearly certain" sexed pair of Apeuthes sp. and Acladocricus sp., along with six Gyna lurida"Yellow", Simandoa conserfariam, and, most excitingly, Dorylaea orini nymphs!
Let's start with the new addition to my collection that I'm probably most thrilled about keeping, the Orin's zebra roach! I purchased five of these guys, but ended up with six small-large nymphs. There are some pretty sizeable gaps between the ages, but four of them seem like they'll mature close enough to each other that they'll be able to breed, so I'm just really keeping my fingers crossed that there's at least one of each sex. Besides just getting this species to breed, the infamously tough part comes in, getting the oothecae to hatch. I will be sticking closely to Kyle Kandilian and Orin's advice on culturing this species successfully: offering plentiful food, keeping the substrate consistently moist, providing rotten wood and/or bark for oviposition, and keeping the humidity at 75% or higher. Following these guidelines, I really, REALLY hope to be successful with this species that many have failed with, wish me luck! I'll be keeping my group in a large cheeseball container with a completely sealed lid and a nice amount of pinholes for ventilation on either side. Their substrate is a good mix of 50% coconut fiber, 15% sphagnum moss, 10% coconut husk, 15% cypress mulch, and 10% dead leaves (like I will be providing in slightly different ratios to almost all my roaches now).
Here are some pics of my gems and their enclosure!

Large D.orini nymphs

Small D.orini nymphs

D,orini enclosure
Very pleased to have now acquired this gorgeous strain of the "Poster roach" of it's genus, Gyna lurida! This strain, which was isolated by Orin a while back, apparently throws out yellows of varying intensity so it'll be my little project refining it, but I don't mind a bit. 🙂 My six tiny-small nymphs basically look identical to G.caffrorum, but definitely won't as adults. I'll be keeping them in a small, plastic container with two ventilation holes in the lid until they grow larger, then will be transferring them to a more appropriate enclosure to start a colony in. Their current substrate consists of the standard roach mix, coconut fiber, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, and dead leaves.
Here are the pictures!

Small G.lurida"Yellow" nymph

G.lurida"Yellow" enclosure
The last roach species I picked up is surely the most unique considering that it is now thought to be completely extinct in the wild. The only place where this species, Simandoa conserfariam, was ever found in the wild was destroyed as a result of a bauxite mining project back in 2004. However, shortly before this a few scientists discovered and described this species bringing back some individuals for captive cultivation. Very fortunately, they did well and were then distributed to hobbyists all around the U.S. There looks to be no end in sight for this species as they display a number of characteristics that would appeal to any hobbyist: iridescent and colorfully striped nymphs, red legs, production of a squeaking noise when startled, and silvery, bronze-flecked wings at adulthood.
I've started my culture of this species with six small nymphs, which will hopefully turn out to be a good mix of males and females and have a ton of babies for me! 😃 I'm currently keeping them in a 64 oz. plastic container with a well-sealing lid, which has numerous pinholes poked through it for ventilation. Like the others, I'm keeping these guys on my general roach mix of coconut fiber, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, and dead leaves.
Here's some photos!

Small S.conserfariam nymphs

S.conserfariam enclosure
Now to the arthropods which are entirely new for me, millipedes!
It seems like there is a little confusion regarding the scientific name of the first species I picked up, the Thai rainbow millipede. I have seen these guys labeled as both Tonkinbolus caudulanus and (By Orin) Apeuthes sp., since they were sold to me as the latter and Orin has had more experience than many in the millipede hobby, I'll be labeling them as Apeuthes sp.
Anyway, Orin was super kind in sending me millipedes that were twice the offering size (4 inches) so he could sex them with more certainty.  These millipedes are one of the smaller species currently in culture, being fairly thin and only measuring four inches or slightly over at adulthood. However, what they lack in size, they surely make up for in beauty sporting an attractive silverish-blue base color with pink banding and antennae. I'll be keeping my two individuals in a 64 oz. plastic container with decent ventilation through the lid in the form of pinholes. Their substrate consists of about 25% topsoil, 35% compost, 20% rotten wood, and 20% dead leaves.
Pics below. 😊

Apeuthes sp.
(Would have shown pics of their enclosure, but I figured that I'd just show the Acladocricus' since they are identical)
The other species of millie I had the pleasure of acquiring was Acladocricus sp., commonly circulated in the hobby by the name "Giant Philippine Blue" or "Giant Philippine Blue-Gray". These guys are far less common than the rainbows and supposedly reproduce in much smaller numbers. Also contrasting from the rainbows, these millipedes are among the thickest in the hobby and have comparatively tiny legs for their mass. In similarity, Orin tried to sex these the best he could for me and sent individuals nearly triple the listed size (2.5-3 inches). Although they are called blue or blue-gray millipedes, these don't show off any of that deep blue coloration until they hit adulthood. I will be keeping them in the same set-up and substrate as my Apeuthes sp.
Here's the photos!

Acladocricus sp.

Acladocricus enclosure
As awesome as these guys are, a certain someone made me an offer I could couldn't refuse for I will only have this species for the next month or so. I'm very excitedly awaiting this trade and am keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well considering that I'll likely be moving shortly before or after it. In any case, I hope you guys enjoyed my first post back from a long hiatus and I'll see you all next time! 🙂