Sunday, 22 September 2013
Giant flower beetles mecynorrhina torquata immaculicollis/ugandensis care
Temperature: 20-26C; 25C day and night is optimal
Humidity: high for both larvae and adult. Less humid for pupae.
Light: 12-14 hour day light/daylight bulb for adults.
Larvae of giant cetoniidae normally require for their development mulched well-decayed leaves (preferably oak) mixed with some top soil and a little of mulched soft rotten wood (optional). No conifers can be used for it, as they are toxic for the larvae. Part of the substrate needs to be replaced regularly once the most leaves are consumed. Larvae can be kept together, however some breeders recommend to keep them separately, as some say that that the cannibalism is possible in some large cetoniidae. However in my experience I have never observed any cannibalism in similar size mecynorrhina torquata immaculicollis/ugandensis larvae. Larvae need to be kept in closed plastic container, such as RUB, with a 2-5 pencil-size holes in its top, in order to provide an air access. Normally at least 2 liters container is needed for 1 L3 giant flower beetle larva. Once a larva has molted into its last 3rd (L3) stage, some protein supplement is normally recommended in order to obtain bigger adults, also many beetle hobbyists using protein supplements starting from the L2 stage of larvae. 1 pellet of Bakers Meaty Meals (1 kg box from supermarket will last for generations of beetles) needs to be placed at the bottom of the container per larva per week. If pellet is not consumed within one week, then the food supplementing can be skipped. Larvae should normally reach at least 30-40 g in weight before they get into the pupation stage. It is always useful to weigh larva every couple weeks to ensure that it’s putting on weight. Inexpensive jewelry watches, which can be bought for a fiver on ebay, are great for this purpose. During pupa period (6-7 weeks) larvae should not be disturbed as pupa may die inside pupal chambers or it may lead to the deformed imagos which normally will die shortly afterwards. It takes several days for larvae to construct pupal chamber out of substrate. With some care pupal cell can be gently removed and transferred into another container.
After pupae turn into adults they stay in their cells for 5-7 weeks. During this dormant period beetles do not require any food and finish their development. After they become active (start moving) 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 life and resistance to moulding. Breeding container normally is a plastic box (20-30l) with about 20-25 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. 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 females of giant flower beetles.
Monitoring the development of a larva with a jewelry scales. Mid L3 larva of mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis.
Pupal cell of mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis. One opened cell at the bottom shows imago beetle still in it.
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