Sunday, 22 September 2013

Giant flower beetles mecynorrhina torquata immaculicollis/ugandensis care

General requirements

Temperature: 18-26C; 23-25C day and night is optimal
Humidity: high for both larvae and adult beetles.  Less humid for pupae.
Light: 12-14 hour day light/daylight bulb for adults.
Breeding tips on my Youtube channel
https://www.youtube.com/c/beetlesaspets


Larvae

     Larvae of giant flower beetles (Cetoniidae) require for their development rich organic wood derived substrates such as mulched well-decayed leaves (normally from hardwood trees such as oak or beech) which could be mixed with some mulched soft rotten wood  from the same trees.  They also grow well on just mulched soft rotten wood or artificially rotten hardwood sawdust (flake soil).  No conifers can be used, as they are toxic for the larvae. Part of the substrate needs to be replaced regularly once the most of it is consumed. Larvae of the similar size can be kept together, however, some breeders recommend to keep them separately, suggesting the possibility of the cannibalism. However, in my experience I have never observed any cannibalism in similar size Mecynorrhina torquata immaculicollis/ugandensis larvae which were kept in groups. However, make sure that the larvae are not to crowded, because they may bite each other accidentally.  Larvae need to be kept in a closed plastic container, with air access holes in its top or upper part of the box sides.  Normally a ~1.5-2 liter container is needed for one L3 stage giant flower beetle larva. To improve larvae's growth many hobbyists use protein rich supplement (e.g. dog or fish food pellets).  As an example 1 pellet of Bakers Meaty Meals (1 kg box from supermarket will last for generations of beetles) is placed at the bottom of the container per one L3 larva per week.  If pellet is left uneaten then the food supplementing can be skipped.  Well developed larvae should normally reach 30-40g in weight before they get into the a pupation stage.  It is always useful to weigh larvae every couple weeks to ensure that they're putting on weight. Inexpensive jewelry watches, which can be bought cheaply on eBay, are great for this purpose.  During pupa period (6-7 weeks) the larvae should not be disturbed as pupa may die inside pupal chambers or it may lead to the deformed imago which normally will die shortly afterwards. Both pupae and freshly molted adults are very sensitive to mechanical stress.  It takes several days for larvae to construct pupal chamber out of substrate. With some care fully formed pupal cell can be gently removed and transferred into another container. 

Adults

After pupae turn into adults the beetles stay inactive in their cells for 3-5 weeks. The beetles should not be disturbed first week, when their exoskeleton is hardening during this time. While dormant, the  beetles do not require any food as I understand that they still finish their development.  After they become active (start moving actively in search of food) they can be fed on any sweet ripe fruits.  Ripe banana is recommended, as it contains a significant amount of proteins. Commercially available beetle jelly is considered as a very good food for these beetles due its high protein content and because of it’s long shelf life and resistance to moulding. A simple version of the home made beetle jelly can be found here (http://beetlesaspets.blogspot.com/2013/11/jelly-for-tropical-beetles-at-home.html). Breeding container is normally a plastic box (20-30l) with about 15-20 cm of top soil at the bottom mixed with about 5-10% of rotten leaves and mulched decayed wood. Healthy males are very active and normally will chase females even underground. Mated female will lay eggs into soil.  You can start checking for eggs after about/ every 3-4 weeks. After female died soil needs to be carefully inspected and all larvae and eggs transferred into the larvae rearing boxes. Food needs to be present in the container all the time as it normally results in more eggs laid by beetle females.





Monitoring the development of a larva with a jewelry scales.   Mid L3 larva of Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis.









Pupal cells of Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis. One opened cell at the bottom has imago beetle which can be seen through the whole.


Please visit my youtube channel, it has plenty tips about raising giant fruit beetles.
https://www.youtube.com/c/beetlesaspets

You can also contact me via beetlesaspets@gmail.com
regarding availability of these beetles for sale or exchange.



24 comments:

  1. Hello! Useful caresheet, thank you.
    How long do they stay in each larval stage? And as adults?

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    Replies
    1. The speed of the development depends on temperature and a quality of the substrate.
      My normally spend about 3-4 weeks as L1, then 6-8 weeks as L2 and then 4-5 months as L3. As adults they normally live 3-5 months.

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  2. Hi! Very useful caresheet, thanks! I have questions about pupae. You wrote that pupal stage lasts 6-7 weeks. I have had one pupa for about two months now... Is this normal? Or is it dead? Should I check it somehow? How do I know if it's dead or alive?

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  3. Hi, it is on average 6-7 weeks; it could be a bit more or less than that. When pupae turns into an adult beetle, it stay in the cell for another 3+ weeks, it may come out earlier if it does not have enough stored energy/fat. The best way to check is to make a small hole in the cell and see; sometimes shedded skin can cover part of the cell, you can simply pull it out with small tweezers. By this time (2 months)it should turn into an adult beetle. if pupa still yellowish, it is alive, if it is very dark and smelly then it is dead. Hope this helps!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! This was very helpful. I will check the pupa, and hope for the best... I also have one 3-week pupa and an L3 larva that should pupate very soon, so even if this first one were dead I hope I'll have more luck with the other ones. :)

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    2. Checked it, it's definitely yellow. Maybe it will turn out okay after all... :)

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  4. Hi! Do you know how long for the eggs to hatch?

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  5. Hey, I was wondering what the use of the jewellery watch is for weighing the larvae? I've been racking my brains over this but I can't figure it out.

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  6. This is more or less only way to monitor the health of a larva and its development (to weight the larvae with certain interval). If developing larva cannot gain weight, it normally means that the substrate is not appropriate (e.g. has low nutritional value or has too much contamination with larvae feces/products of natural decay)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your reply! I get the point of the weighing itself, but how do you use a watch to weigh a larva?

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  7. A watch? I use jewellery scales; they cost about £5 on ebay

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    Replies
    1. Ah that makes much more sense! It says watch in your article though, that’s why I asked.

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  8. Hello! I was just asking if the ugandesis is a good starter beetle as I am only beginning to get fascinated by them. Hope you reply!

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    Replies
    1. Species is pretty easy, not the easiest but with lots of leaf litter you should not have any problem! So the answer is: Yes!

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  9. Can you please list me the beginner species of beetle? Thanks!

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  10. How many eggs does one female put?

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  11. A healthy fresh female normally lays something between 30 and 50 eggs.

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  12. I have a mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis larvae (early L2) and it weighs 7 grams. Is this normal?

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  13. I have a small question,before the larvae turn into a pupae,can it construct it’s cocoon on flat earth?or does it do it in a den,my larvae have taken a long time to,and I don’t want this to happen,Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Sofia,
      ¿ a que te refieres con tierra plana ?
      las larvas contruyen un capullo llamado coocon, con el mismo sustrato donde viven y se alimentan, imagina un capullo de un gusano de seda, pues es igual, solo que fabricado con sustrato.

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  14. Can you tell me what is a good weight for L3 larvae ?

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  15. Hi, how much time does it take on average for a L1 larvae to reach it's pupal state? Is it more than a year?

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