Thursday, December 22, 2016

Finals done and new rennovations

I have, done my finals for the semester. Now for that, I am going to start to save up for funds for use for mantids and supplies. Another thing is that I have, in the three acromantis japonica enclosures, put in bamboo sticks and cocofiber for the final molting stages. At first I was initially scared that the mantids will molt too low to the ground, but they molted pretty well. Another thing is that with the male ghost mantis, he doesn't seem to be molting despite my preparations. I might have to wait for this. Another thing is that I am trying to see if I am able to build an aquaponics system. The rhino beetles are doing well, but I am getting substrate in from Taiwan, but it is going to take up to two months.

Janie feeding off of a superworm
 With the female phyllocrania paradoxa, it has been a pain as she hasn't laid an ooth yet. I am hoping the male molts soon so I can mate them both. Also, I really do hope she is not oothbound.
One of my assassin bugs died, so I decided to pin him
 For the assassin bugs, I decided to upgrade there enclosure to a small kritter keeper. For that, I added coconut fiber, along with a coconut hut and a branch for them. The assassin bugs seem to hang out near the branch, probably due to it having more variations in where they can wait rather than the coconut fiber hut.
New enclosure for the assassin bugs

Pholicide spider I found a few days ago


My attempt to raise Triops
 I have decided that I will try to raise triops. As I did raise them back in 7th grade, but the electrical lamp shorted out and caused a fire. So I decided to try again.
Rhino beetle larvae 

My insect collection (without labels)
I have also finally finished the pinned insect collection. It looks really fantastic with all of the insects I have acquired along with my techniques actually being pretty good.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Arizona vinegaroon and Helix aspersa

As I went in and cleaned all my enclosures, I decided to check on my M giganteus. Turns out that it has survived pretty well despite me forgetting to mist the enclosure at certain times. I find this species my first arachnid that I purchased a few months back. I peeked into it's burrow and it is hibernating and is really gravid. Also, I do plan on getting a few helix aspersa (from US sellers) and having those. They are the largest vinegaroon in the world, and they come right from Arizona.

mastigoproctus giganteus sling

Vinegaroon is in the top
For the enclosure, I chose a herphaven large breeder tank, and I used a divider so I can have two in total in the near future. In the top of the photo above the sentence, the one with the cave and the stone is where the first vinegaroon currently resides. The second tank, I used some of the old cocofiber for a helix aspersa snail tank.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Update on bugs/mantids

I have just obtained a pair of beetle larvae along with the rest of my assassin bugs molting to adulthood. My japonica have lagged in growing, but one of the males molted. As of now, I am investigating sources for mantid ooths. Also, I have been considering adding the orchid mantis and the indian flower mantis to the collection, along with expanding from a 20 gallon aquarium to a 40 gallon breeder tank. 

Jimmy

Jimmy

Female adult paradoxa "Jamie or Janie"

Beetle larvae in it's container




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Assassin bug molt and phyllocrania paradoxa molt

Today and yesterday, I decided to go and see my mantids and assassins, and to my surprise, one of them molted, becoming an adult female, so now there are two males and one female. She was a nice red color, which in time, will darken to a black and orange color. My paradoxa male molted too. At first I thought that he was supposed to be an adult, but he has a little bit more time left before he is. Now I have an adult female, and my needs are to heat the male's enclosure so I can have a breeding pair.

Platymeris mombo adult female

Phyllocrania paradoxa sub-adult ghost mantis (Jill)

Yung, my Japonica mantis, eating a cricket that is almost his size.
Now with my japonicas, I have managed to sex them and that it turns out that I have one female and two males. This is advantageous as I have two males in case one gets eaten. However, now I seem to only have one female where if she dies, then I am almost unable to breed.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Acromantis japonica sexing and potential new comers

For the insect hobby, it might be of recognition soon that there may be Japanese rhino beetles, Giant Malaysian shield mantids or another insect coming in. As in the japonica, I did manage to sex them.

The female named Joan

Jin, the male

I don't know, but I am getting the two male names mixed up
As for why I was gone, I did go to the NFL Diversity camp for school. Sadly there was no insects, but there was maple leaves in which I can use for the beetles, roaches and millipedes I might obtain. There might also be a few tarantulas coming in.
I did make a visit to petco and petsmart and found that petco was selling tarantulas in a small plastic container. These containers are in reality only good for arboreal tarantulas, and not for terrestrials. At petsmart, there was a bug habitat kit from zoomed, I'll investigate into that.

Petsmart Bugarium

Tarantulas in a plastic container

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New enclosure for mantis

Today, I have just built a new enclosure for my adult girl. So far this is doing very well as her new home. I easily built this with a mini kritter keeper, a bamboo branch, and a silk leaf. Now she is settling in her new home and has so far found a spot where she will hunt and eat her prey.
Top view of enclosure

Side view

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Adulthood

One of my mantids has molted, and that would be my Phyllocrania paradoxa female and she is from what I hear, an adult now! From the looks of it she is doing very fine in the enclosure. Will have some nymphs for sale soon once she starts laying eggs.
P paradoxa female in molt
Her expanding the wings

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Heat, humidity and upgrading the way I raise insects

Today, since it is November in Phoenix, I tended to notice that the mantids (as well as any other insect or arachnid) will slowly start to hibernate or even stop molting for a while. For this is due to my temperatures in Phoenix, which are mild (compared to places like Seattle or even Springfield). This does not really harm any mantis species unless it gets down to maybe 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5-10 degrees Celsius). Now with tropical intermediate to advanced species (like Idolomantis diabolica) there is a need for heat as they are tropical. For ooths, from what I observed, they typically are needed to be in an incubator.

One of my plans is to build an incubator so that way I can incubate the oothecaes and ovas of insects. That way, I can easily control the temperature along with make hatching come a little bit quicker. I will also have to find a way to be able to heat up multiple enclosures without taxing the electricity bill (as I have a 20 gallon aquarium with a heater, lights and a filter). As of now, my only enclosures are a few kritter keeper cages (two small, two minis, and two mediums) along with a few deli containers (32 ounces) and poly fabric lids. Now for the mantids that I plan to keep in the future, I will need to develop a way of organizing my mantids. This will involve me getting a new shelving unit (36 inches long or 91.5 cm). I also realized that I only have 4 outlets, which will make things a little bit more complicated. Now with that in mind I also want to start to keep giant beetles or tarantulas. Along with orchid mantids and double shields. So that is what will be occurring in the near future.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Announcement and Warning

I will warn you guys and I probably assume that you already know this, but please, for the sake of god, don't feed spiderlings to mantid nymphs (l4 small japonica nymphs mind you). I lost one to a few spiderlings after the eldest nymph attempted to eat them up but she was overrun and overnight she died and she was dead. Take note that these are black widow spiderlings that are just a few days old. So just as a heads up, be careful in what you feed your pets.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Surprise with mantids/assassin bugs

As I noticed with this species, this species is a wait and ambush predator. In my observation, whenever I put a cricket in the enclosure, he does not go out and try to chase it. He waits until it comes near him in order for him to strike. For the female, its almost a different story, but she will take on an insect about 1/2 it's body length. With the Japanese boxer mantis it tends to take on multiple prey at once and it even results in it chasing the flies and even crickets half it's size (mantids are half an inch). This species grows to an inch (2.5 cm) max for females and 3/4's an inch (1.9 cm) for males. Normally with small mantids I think that they would run away when medium sized prey items get to them.

With the assassin bugs, I expected them to jump on crickets. But they didn't. So maybe they were well fed before I got them.

P Paradoxa L6 male

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Unrelated, but still needed

As you all know, this is my middle years project for school. Well with that I have only managed to get 200 dollars in the form of my own input.

Link to gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/IB-Middle-Years-Aquaponics

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween post


Here on Halloween, I put in more pictures of my assassin bugs... This girl has been a scary clown and has jumped the poor cricket... She proceeded to get fat on the hapless cricket...
One of them sucking the life out of the cricket


Anyways, there will be more in the coming months, so don't get jumped by clowns and keep on living.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Acromantis Japonica

One of my mantids has molted, from the deli container enclosure wall and it surprisingly molted without any complications. Investigating this, I realized that it is due to the mantis having tarsi (feet, akin to a gecko in function), which allow the mantis to climb the plastic deli container walls. It was able to molt from the wall due to it being a small species, which enable it to climb the wall.
Acromantis japonica nymph (L4-6?)
The assassin bugs are feeding on the crickets I got from pet-smart, which they eagerly feed on. They have an eagerness to take on prey much bigger than themselves, but they will overwhelm smaller prey very easily. They are an ambush predator, much like the praying mantis. Once they capture there prey, they use their proboscis to stab the prey and inject venom to paralyze the prey, and then they inject digestive juices to turn the prey into a smoothie to drink up the prey. The ghost mantis was fed three smaller crickets (acheta domesticus).

Thursday, October 27, 2016

First Assassin Bugs and Molting Mantids

Today, I am now a proud owner of Orange spot assassin bugs (Platymeris sp. Mombo). These guys came into the mail via priority mail and now they have settled into their home. The seller even sent me two extra to come with the three nymphs.

I like how these are communal and that they're pretty easy to take care of. However, they do spit venom so I wear safety goggles for these. When I opened the box, they were pretty chill and cool. But when I was about to put them in their enclosure, they were kind of nervous to be in there. For the enclosure, I used two cork pieces (sheet rolls) and they seem to wait for their prey to get into striking range.
In shipping
 I have learned, from observation that once they settle into their habitat, they will constantly patrol that area. But they were one of the quickest insects to settle into a new home.
Them in their enclosure

My assassin bugs

My female L6-L7 mantis (Phyllocrania paradoxa)
The mantis as shown above has molted yesterday and is one step closer to an adult. Now with these mantids, they are an easy species to keep and I enjoy the cryptid look that they have. I also do have acromantis japonica, which will show up in my next post.