Sunday, 12 January 2014

Prosopocoilus bison breeding report

I recently obtained a few of these beautiful beetles, so I tried to breed them. The male can reach 60 mm, females are smaller (see photo below). Just a few observations which you may find helpful. As for food they were feeding well on the home-made jelly for stag beetles, that I use for all my beetles. You can find this recipe in the topic below. (  They also seem to prefer the jelly to ripe fruits, such as grape, banana or sweet clementine.  They stayed active at temperatures between 19-25C. I kept a male together with the females;  the male was not aggressive towards the females. The interesting thing about these beetles, is that they regularly played dead when I opened the beetle enclosure and they could stay like that for minutes, and often upside down:) So you have to be very careful not to "discard" the live beetle, thinking that it has died. As an egg laying substrate I used decayed softwood chunks and logs from various deciduous trees. The females of prosopocoilus bison seemed to prefer a softer wood for the egg-laying, much softer than one which is preferred by the females of rainbow stag beetles (phalacrognathus muelleri). 

Prosopocoilus bison  pair;
male left, female right.

Few pieces of bark were also  placed in the enclosure as hiding places for the male.  Interestingly, females did not do much wood boring: the eggs were deposited into small gaps and holes close to the surface of the wood chunks. I observed female depositing eggs in a container with clear plastic sides. Female made a shallow hole/"incision" in the wood chunk and then deposited an egg. Female often did not bother covering such holes, sometimes just pushing  a little amount of softwood around it. Some L1 larvae  were also found in the substrate (garden soil mixed with mulched wood). I am not sure whether the eggs were deposited in the substrate, or just fell out of the wood chunks. Unlike some of my other stags, prosopocoilus bison larvae did not get too excited:) when I transferred them into the individual containers filled with original wood and fermented oak sawdust and initially preferred to keep chewing the original wood rather than the treated oak flakes. Only a few of them switched to the fermented sawdust right away. Would be interesting to see what size males I will get on my fermented flakes and whether these flakes are any good for the prosopocoilus bison larvae

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