Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saving the beetle with wings sticking out! Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrhina dichotoma

Sometimes the beetle transformation from pupa to imago is not always successful. Often beetle ecloses with some deformities, mainly because of the "mechanical"  problems. Smaller defects, such as small deformities of hard external parts of the body are normally not life threatening and the beetle live and "function" just fine with them. Big deformities often lead to the early death of the beetle, often already during its dormant period. 
One of the most common problems is when the beetle ecloses with wings sticking out, which may happen due to a number of reasons, such as deformities of the elytron which has hardened too fast, or when wings get entangled with remains of the pupa's or larva's skin. Sometimes the beetle's wings get a small mechanical damage and contract infection through the trauma. When you encounter such problems, it often can be solved by "surgically" removing parts of the wings that are sticking out from elytron of the beetle. In this case the damaged parts will be cut off and the remaining parts will be much less in contact with the substrate which is a source of numerous pathogens.  After the operation, the beetle needs to be kept in a relatively dry and clean environment for several hours so the cuts will dry out. From my experience, about 90% of the beetles which eclosed with wings sticking out lived normal long lifes after the parts of the sticking out wings were removed. Here is a short video showing such procedure on a female of a Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrhina dichotoma.



If you have any questions about it please comment here or on youtube, 
contact email is beetlesaspets@gmail.com

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Beware! Stag beetle larvae predator: click beetle larva!

Good decayed log is a must for most stag beetles if you want to achieve a maximum number of larvae from your stag beetle female. The majority of females would always prefer to lay their eggs into the log instead of laying them into a layer of compacted substrate. If you collect your log from the woodland, there is always a chance that other critters will be living in it. General recommendation to get rid of these is to soak the log in the water for about three days. However, I found that  is often not enough to kill all of them. Thicker logs take more than a week for water to completely soak through the whole log. The other way to destroy things in the log is to heat it, which is often not very convenient. Low temperature long time dry log baking in  a family kitchen oven can be tricky:) More recently I adapted the way of preparing logs by sawing them into shorter sections, so they could just fit into a microwave. Using a microwave 15cm-diameter log can be heated through completely in two 4-5 minutes steps with very little effort. The time needs to be increased for bigger logs.

In my earlier breeding experience, I often would use decayed logs with only short term soaking in water or even without any preparation and most of them would work fine. However, on a number of occasions I discovered that the number of larvae obtained from stag beetle female is smaller than expected and at the same time I found some other beetle larvae in these logs.  Although  many critters such as longhorn beetle larvae are completely safe for the stag beetle larvae, the other critters may not be as safe. Particularly, and I learned it in a hard way, click beetle larvae can hunt and eat stag beetle larvae. And this is not an assumption, while splitting logs when looking for larvae I found click beetle larva eating still semi-alive stag beetle larva. Moreover, if you use chunk of such wood as a decorative top piece in breeding box for any sort of beetle such as rhino or flower beetle, the click beetle larvae can come out of the wood and live in the soil hunting newborn larvae or eating freshly laid eggs. Here are some photos and video of a typical click beetle larva which, hope that you will find it helpful. If you see anything like that in your wood/substrate remove it and sterilize substrate/log by heating it.






Friday, 31 March 2017

April 2017 sale list


Dynastes hercules hercules-                L2                £8.5 each or 10 for £80
Dynastes hercules lichyi                      L2                £8.5 each or 10 for £80
Dynastes granti                                 L1-L2           £6 each
Dynastes tityus                                  L1-L2           £5.0 each or 10 for £45
Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis (orange)  L1-L2     £4.5 each or 10 for £40
                                                         L3              £6.0 each or 10 for £55
Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis (blue)  L1-L2         £4.5 each or 10 for £40
Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis (brown-red) L1-L2   £4.5 each or 10 for £40
Mecynorrhina torquata immaculicollis      L1-L2          £4.0 each or 10 for £33
Dicronorhina derbyana conradsi              L2-L3           £3.2 each or 10 for £25
Protaetia (cetonischema) speciosa jousselini-   L1-     £3.5 each or 10 for £33
(eggs are hatching - inquire!)
Megasoma elephas elephas               L1               £7.5 each or 10 for £70
(eggs are hatching - inquire!)

Postage:    (No postage to countries where it is too cold at the moment, the minimum night temperature should be 8-10C˚ for tropical species. Pre-booking is possible!

No posting between 5th and 13th April, sorry !!!
Payment is by paypal or bank transfer.
Based on ~0.5 Kg parcel (prices may vary for different countries or orders)
Recorded postage: UK - £5, Europe - £12, rest of the world -£14.
Regular postage (at buyer's risk only): UK - £4, Europe-£7, rest of the world £9
Postage outside the EU: at buyer’s risk only
Ordering: Please inquire about the items you would like to purchase, as they may become unavailable or prices may change. You will receive the total for your order, no strings attached. Further discount is possible for big orders.
Contact email: beetlesaspets@gmail.com

Thursday, 30 March 2017

2017 breeding pics

Just a few photos of results of my breeding in 2017, hopefully there will be lots of larvae!

Some of Dynastes hercules lichyi pupae

Megasoma gyas porioni female pupae
Dark red-brown and dark blue m.t. ugandensis
M.t. immaculicollis and orange m.t. ugandensis
Goliathus goliathus albatus/quadrimaculatus
pupal cell and fresh extremely shiny white male

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Artificial pupal cells (chambers) from floral foam for beetles (video tutorial)


At the very start, when a pupal chamber made in substrate by one of my rainbow stag larvae collapsed, I simply did not know what to do. Later, I discovered that there is a possibility of making pupal chambers using either soil, clay or floral foam. However, there was not much information regarding how to make them, so I had to experiment myself, using intuition and any "internet based" experience.  Floral foam, which can be bought cheaply on ebay, was more appealing as "cleaner" stuff, so it became my first choice material. Since then I use floral foam chambers on a regular basis, and found that the rate of survival of many beetles is often much higher than leaving them in their natural cells.  Very often larvae construct their chambers at the very bottom of the substrate where is a high chance of the accumulation of the excessive moisture, which often leads to the poor air exchange and development of the mold and fungi. This is particularly relevant for stag beetle larvae which are normally kept in smaller containers, such as plastic pots or glass (kinshi) jars , and the air circulation in such smaller containers is very poor. Big beetle species, the larvae of which pupate in large boxes are normally not affected, because the good air circulation in bigger volumes prevents moisture from accumulation at the bottom of the containers.

After trying such artificial cells with several beetles I came to the following conclusions:

1) it is best to put the larva which has already molted into a pupa, or at least an immobile larva that undergoing its last stages before the transformation.  The mobile larvae will most likely try to dig itself into the foam and will eventually die. If such larvae is places back into the substrate it will not be able to create another chamber due to lack of energy and will die because of exhaustion.  

2) the size and shape of the pupa should resemble their natural chamber by size and shape as close as possible. In this case take an approximate measurement of the cell from which the larva was removed. If you make the chamber too big, the freshly molted beetle may not be able to flip over, which is necessary for it to pull its flying wings under the elytra. Although most of the natural chambers are positioned very close to horizontal position, some of the species construct chambers with a significant angle or even almost vertical chambers, e.g. Allomyrina dichotoma, so this needs to be taken into the account when constructing the chambers. 

3) Natural chambers, are covered by the layer of soil, which prevent them from complete drying. Artificial chambers can easily dry out even through the small ventilation holes in low humidity surroundings. It is important to maintain the level humidity similar to the one required for the certain.

Here is a short video how I make pupal chambers for my beetles.












Sunday, 18 September 2016

September 2016 sale list (updated 18.09.2016)

Dynastes hercules hercules- L1                 £7 each or 10 for £65
*Dynastes hercules hercules- mid L2         £8  each (~5-7 left)
*Dynastes hyllus hyllus- late L3                £5 each (only 2 male larvae left)
 Dynastes maya-  L1-L2 (RARE!!!)             £16 each or 10 for 140 (~10 left)

*Megasoma elephas elephas- L2               £8 each or 10 for £70
*Megasoma actaeon- late L3                    £15 each (2 male 70+g larvae left)
*Megasoma gyas porioni–mid L3               £13 each, sexed pair (m+f) £25
*Megasoma gyas porionilate L3               £18 each, sexed pair (m+f) £35
*Megasoma Anubis- L2    SALE!!!               £14 each or 10 for £120
Goliathus orientalis preissi- L1                   £10 each or 10 for £70
*Goliathus orientalis preissi- L3, 20g+                 £14 each or 10 for £110
*Goliathus orientalis preissi- big L3 sexed pair (30g+, male+female) £28 each
                                         big L3 trio (male+2 females)           £40 each

Allomyrina dichotoma dichotoma   ~12 late L1 early L3 left, whole lot for £35 
Dynastes granti- L1                                           £5.5 each or 10 for £50 
Rainbow stag beetle - 
fresh adult pair with mid size male (pair on photo) - £33
                                                             
*- determining sex of the larvae is possible
Payment is by paypal or bank transfer.
Postage:(Based on ~0.5 Kg parcel (prices may vary for different countries or orders)
Recorded postage: UK - £5, Europe - £12, rest of the world -£14.
Regular postage (at buyer's risk only): UK - £4, Europe-£7, rest of the world £9
Postage outside the EU: at buyer’s risk only
Ordering:  Please inquire about the items you would like to purchase, as they may become unavailable or prices may change.  You will receive the total for your order, no strings attached. Further discount is possible for big orders.
Contact email: beetlesaspets@gmail.com

J also started YouTube channel recently J  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClYlEk4_Nau_9LmFubu3_ug

Friday, 16 September 2016

Lucanus cervus subspecies

   European stag  beetle, Lucanus cervus cervus is definitely the biggest and one of the most remarkable European beetle. A major male of the stag beetle has impressive mandibules (horns), while females have smaller body and short and strong mandibules. Some exceptionally big males can reach up to 90 mm in size, although normally the size of the males is in the range of 50-70 mm. The females are much smaller, 35-50 mm.  There is a quite strong population of these beetles in the UK; with patchy distribution in Southern part of the country.   Interestingly, if continental Lucanus cervus cervus population is normally associated with woodlands and forests, UK population of the beetle is often associated with  urban gardens, suggesting their importance in preserving populations of this stag beetle species. The development of the larvae of the beetle can take 2-5 years in nature and I understand that the speed of the development similarly to tropical stag beetles often depends on the temperature and nutritional value of the substrate into which eggs were deposited by the stag beetle females. 
 
   Although Luncanus cervus cervus species is protected in most of the European countries, which prevents their trade and exploiting of their natural populations, it is my understanding that it is not illegal to handle wild caught specimen or even raise the larvae, if they found not in protected habitat in some European countries. I observed adult beetles flying on a warm spring night in our back garden in south London several times with occasional beetle landing/falling onto ground
With continuous interest to this big stag beetle, quite recently live specimen of other subspecies or variations of subspecies of Lucanus cervus became available on Asian hobbyist market. These are Lucanus cervus akbesianus, which is considered as variation of Lucanus cervus ssp. turcicus (Sturm, 1843, antennal club of 6 segments) and Lucanus cervus ssp. judaicus (Planet, 1900, antennal club of 4 segments). Since the area of habbitat occasionally overlap for some of these subspecies/variations, there is a possibility of obtaining a wrongly identified specimen. Therefore an easy identification key could be helpful when such specimen are obtained. 
   Here I found an interesting  diagram showing the characteristics of the shape of manidbules in different ssp/variations. This one could be very useful when obtaining live specimen to confirm their taxonomic position.  
It is my understanding that breeding of protected Lucanus cervus cervus in captivity from generation to generation so far was not extremely successful, so there is still a lot to learn about their breeding specifics. One of the most restricting factors is a limited number of the specimen which can be obtained for such studies. Often, such specimen originate from one heavily inbred population, which would contribute negatively to the survival rate of the captive bred specimen. It is quite possible that using other readily available Lucanus cervus ssp as a model could be very beneficial for learning insights into the raising protected lucanus cervus cervus and restoring their population in nature.

Here are some very interesting reads about  Lucanus cervus.

http://maria.fremlin.de/stagbeetles/index.html
http://www.glaphyridae.com/Lucanidae/Lu_cervus.html