Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis colour variations

Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis is a big if not huge flower beetle. These beetles can grow over 80 mm, which is as big as a medium size goliath beetle. Geographically they can be found in  Uganda and DR Congo. In nature these beetles display a massive variety in their colours and patterns. Because of such variation, the dead specimen of the males of the species are very sought after by insect collectors, and some of them can be sold for as much as fifty pounds or even more (which mainly depends on the size and the rarity of colour variation/pattern of the specimen).  These species are great as pets, because they are quite easy: the adults are perfectly fine on ripe banana and their larvae can be easily raised on any decayed wood/leaf material.  Their cultivation led to appearance of some unusual forms such as "blue" colour variation, which I believe was "selected out" by Japanese breeders and now it is probably the most popular colour form present in culture.  In captivity, unless under certain conditions, the size of the males is normally within 50-65 mm, and the whole cycle from an egg to the adult at 25C can be completed as fast as in 8-10 months, which again makes them amazing pets, when the whole cycle of the beetle development can be observed within such short period.  I have been keeping a significant number of these beetles during recent years and despite the fact that their larvae consume a huge amount of the substrate during their development, they still are probably one of my favourite beetles. Here is a short slide show which I made from photos of my Mecynorrhina torquata ugandensis which I found on my flickr, phone and computer.


Please contact me at regarding any related issue or availability of the larvae of these species.

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, 
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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.

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