The new school year has hit me HARD, hence these last two post-less months, the longest drought of posts I've had since the creation of this blog. However, the severe inactivity of this blog couldn't be farther from the representation of all the action that's been going on in my collection. My setup has undergone a significant expansion, many, many, many new and exciting arthropod species have been/will be added to my buggy horde, and very painfully, many have also faded out of it. To start the lengthy process of getting you all caught up to date, let's get into this post about my favorite event of the year, Tinley Park NARBC!!! 😆
I heavily contemplated whether I would go or not for a few hours before finally packing up his roaches, and deciding to head off to Tinley. With all jitters thrown behind, a strong excitement and anticipation overtook me, which, of course, made the ride feel ten times longer!!! 😬With all that pondering I had done before setting out, getting there was truly a fight against time. Luckily, just as the clock hit 4:00 PM, one hour before the show would close, the Tinley Park Convention Center came into sight! We pulled into the parking lot, jumped out of the car, and passed through the entrance of the intimidating building.
Flashbacks of last year hit me as I gazed upon the mounds of people, admission booths, and "Bubba" the adult alligator (Who I had actually taken pics with around five years back at Woodhaven Lakes) sitting calmly in the middle of all of this. After taking a brief trip to the ATMs, we finally were able to make it inside the final set of doors and into the show!
We walked back and forth through a few aisles before, at then end of one of them, I saw a familiar, Blattodea-covered street sign in the distance, it was ROACH CROSSING! As I made my way up to the booth, one thing was for certain, he was definitely getting some profound action! People were in front of the booth, around the sides of the booth, and even behind the booth! I had to be patient, but was ultimately able to squeeze to the front and without having to say a word, Kyle looked up from the commotion and exclaimed, "Nice to see you, I'll be right with you in about two minutes." He explained that he had gotten my message at the very last second and wasn't able to bring along his pieces of the trade, but if there was anything that I liked at the table, to let him know. I was a bit disappointed, but fully understood. I handed him his group of roaches, which he very gladly accepted and proceeded to ask if I had any interest in Gyna bisannulata. I expressed that I really didn't think I was ready to take on a species of that caliber yet, but after learning that I was already succeeding with the husbandry-sharing (except in heat requirements) Gyna centurio, he encouraged me to take off the "training wheels" and give them a try. I still was a little reluctant to accept, but after saying that he'd literally let me try them out for free, I gave in because, after all, what kind of blatticultarist says no to free roaches!?!
Time was quickly dwindling away when Kyle announced that he was going to leave for a few minutes and that he'd be right back in case I found any species I wanted to trade for. I took a look around the whole table scoping out anything I could reasonably trade in exchange for the species I had just brought him. There were so many things to choose from- isopods, roaches, millipedes, grasshoppers, beetles, stick insects, and everything in between; truly both an arthropod enthusiast's best dream and worst nightmare! Nonetheless, I managed to get a few propositions in my head and then waited and waited.....and waited. It likely wasn't as long as it felt, but everything seems like an eternity when you're eager to make your first in-person trade! The lights started to turn off at the booths and there was an announcement on the speaker that the show would be closing in five minutes! Luckily, just a few moments later, Kyle returned with what looked like an axolotl or a raw piece of meat floating in a cup of water; one of those two for sure. 😉 But anyway, I offered the first preposition- a pair of M.rhinoceros nymphs and one or two of the species we had previously agreed upon (for everything I had already given him).........let's just say that didn't exactly go well, but he did agree to trade me a pair next year for certain. 🙂 The second thing I inquired about were the gigantic adult Romalea microptera I had been eyeballing the entire time. We strolled over to the tanks and since there were only a couple left, he offered some that he had back at his house, but I kindly rejected. He also offered some WC Brachystola magna adults, but since many had already died since he received them about a week before, I decided it wasn't worth the risk and opted for something else again. Long story short, I ended up taking home a group of ten R.microptera "Yellow" nymphs in exchange for the roaches I brought him along with the free group of twelve Gyna bisannulata! 😆
Now onto the portion of this post that's actually about the arthropods! 😛
When I used to scroll the web looking at pictures of the supposedly "big" and "amazing" Romalea microptera, I thought, "Eh, I'll pick those up one day, but I'm in no rush, there are cooler natives/adventives out there". My experience seeing some of these imposing beasts in person made my opinion do a total 180. I couldn't mean it more when I say these are arthropods that you MUST see in person to understand the true majesty of. I ended picking up the smaller of the two strains I saw ("Yellow" and "Tiger"), but without a doubt, the bright yellow coloring on the adults makes up for the size gap and then some. Although all that my individuals currently sport are yellow stripes on a black background with some cherry-colored legs, they apparently will mature in only about a month so the wait will thankfully be very limited! I'll be keeping my young monsters in a 10 gallon tank with a substrate of cypress mulch (that I will be misting daily), a few sticks to climb around on, and an overhead heat lamp fit with a 100 watt incandescent bulb (which produces heat more comparably to a 72 watt for some reason).
Here's the pics!
|Small R.microptera"Yellow" nymphs|
Gyna bisannulata, better known as the Patchwork Roach, is one of the more cryptic Gyna species, exhibiting black nymphs with a number of fiery markings and primarily gray adults with hints of brown and black. These guys weren't actually on my wishlist before acquiring them at the show, but I've since grown very fond of the them and am excited to be trying my hand at breeding only the second "advanced" level species in my collection! Despite the suggestion to keep them in a smaller enclosure by Kyle, I decided to set up my nymphs in one of the usual escape-proof colony containers I use, a 20 qt. Sterilite Gasket Box fit with two 1.25 in. ventilation holes on the first end and one on the other. One of my main concerns was the moisture in the substrate evaporating too fast, but so far, this doesn't seem to be happening with my slightly lowered ventilation. 🙂 As for the substrate, it is identical to that in my G.centurio enclosure, a moist, 2.5 in. deep mix of about 50% coconut fiber, 25% coconut husk, 20% cypress mulch, and 5% sphagnum moss along with a nice layer of dead leaves on top. Besides that, I'll be keeping them on the warmer side for roaches, aiming for the mid 80s.
|Large G.bisannulata nymph|
|Small G.bisannulata nymph|
I hope you guys enjoyed this big post coming back from my very long hiatus and to make it up, I'd like to leave you all with a jumpy Patchwork nymph doing some acrobatics off of my hand, goodbye!