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About mehraban

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  1. I think you're right, though... I've never kept Arenivaga by myself, but have a long and quite successful experience with different Polyphaga species, from Magrib and Eurasia. Kept them initially almost exclusively on sand - without any problems (later switched to coco and other organic substrates - they're just much more convenient for me). IMO, the main issue is that they really do not spend much time in dry sand, but in moist deep layers, emerging at night for feeding, mating etc. - so, in fact, they meet such a hard conditions only sometimes and for very short periods. Rodent (or tortoise) burrows are always full of life - even without rodents themselves, but they're not always available. And, as far as I've seen, in such dry sandy areas any sheltered and "unsandy" place (leewards of any types, especially with some plant material - dry grasses, fallen leaves, dry twigs or logs...) always attracts life. Heavy clayish areas are covered with cracks and fissures, and they form an excellent network of shelters, too - so if surrounding space itself looks pretty unfriendly, you can find many interesting things while investigating these "hidden space" - sometimes of unexpectedly large size
  2. One of the most hard-to-make-and-maintain types of habitats in captivity, IMO. High-elevation type - cool, windy, with humid air and dry soil - is more tricky, but there're usually no roaches at 3500...5000m... It's definitely not for small enclosures, the only way to keep it small is to put inside a large tank. My colony of Cordidarum is thriving - very slowly increasing in number, from about a dozen mixed adults and nymphs in 2012 (WC brought from Cambodia) to slightly more than 40 adult females now. Usually they sit on the underside of pieces of bark, large dead leaves etc.,, but in my conditions they do not burrow.
  3. I have - for years already #1: Pycnoscelus sp. (initially it was smth like indica, then nigra came with additional substrate, now they're happily coexisting) + Gyna lurida + some small greenish-grey striped millipede from Malaysia + some unidentified grey woodlice from Lao + Trichorrhina tomentosa + some small darkling beetles from southern Zagros + some small xylobiotic Myrmicinae ant from Thailand (nests under dry bark on twigs, migrating to new place when twig is being diminished by companions). Enclosure about 20l, moderately moist, with coco-soil, oak leaves, dead oak/willow twigs with lichens. Food - vegetables, fruits, aquarium fish flakes etc.. #2: Therea regularis + Schultesia lampridiformis + Adesmia + Scaurus + some unidentified small slender woodlice from Kerala. Enclosure about 10l, semi-dry, with coco-soil, oak leaves, dead oak/willow twigs with lichens. Food - vegetables, fruits, aquarium fish flakes etc.. #3: Oxyhaloa deusta + some unidentified roach from Makran mtns + Scaurus + some small xylobiotic darklings from Vietnam + some unidentified small slender woodlice from Kerala. Enclosure about 10l, semi-dry, with coco-soil, oak leaves, dead oak/willow twigs with lichens. Food - vegetables, fruits, aquarium fish flakes etc.. And more... These are initially and purposefully organised as communal vivariums, but, in fact, I have now several species of woodlice nearly in every enclosure, somewhere with darkling beetles. Population sometimes changes - new species arive, but, IMO, it's nothing unusual in coexistance. You're exaggerating - sand in their habitat can be much more abrasive, especially in case with nearby lava fields: lava sand is terribly abrasive, for feet, shoes, bottoms of tents etc., so I don't see any problem here. Problems may appear if sand is chemically not clean, containing smth like heavy metals etc, but, IMO, if you take sand purposed for aquarium, there're no problems - by the way, it can be also rounded, for small loaches, cory etc..
  4. For Scaurus - just a piece of wood - soft enough for larva to gnaw a cavity and damp enough for pupating and beetle emerging. They do not eat it, only use for pupating. Adesmia and Blaps larvae usually pupate just in damp soil - under stones, e.g., but may use wood, too. I tried to use plastic tubes etc, they definitely do not like anything but wood... Adesmias look unusual, but, IMO, Scaurus are the most impressive, with their thick legs with hooks and all this, they've somehow prehistoric appearance Don't know whether it's possible to obtain exactly these beetles in the USA, but, IMO, you can find suitable beasts in your own similar biotope - the main issue will be with possibility of predatory larvae or adults, not all darkling beetles are completely herbivorous. I myself live far from your country (and dream about some of your native bugs, yea! ), but similar biotope means similar ecological groups - anyway you can find smth interesting just nearby. Try - it's always interesting to try smth new. I don't see any possible issues, the only trick is, IMO, possible with seasonal activity. I've tried desert woodlice, they're large, spiny and overall gorgeous, they live in real families and seem safe for any type of companions. But they're also strictly seasonal, without wet-cool/dry-hot shifting they do not breed. I've never seen there pines or any other coniferous plants, but - yes, acacias, mimosas, euphorbias and all these spiny shrubs with small, thick and hard leaves.
  5. I use agar jelly for ants as a staple food, based on Bhaktar mixture. For others - as long-lasting water source, especially when leaving for weeks. Agar needs boiling water to be dissolved, so after it dissolves, it needs to be cooled down - to 50...60C, and then I add smth like carrots or banana juice. Store in freezer, at -18C, no longer than 3 months (usually 1 - 2). The nuance: agar itself is undigestable, so it goes out with feces and becomes part of the soil in vivarium. It's neutral, and decomposing very slowly, so - has something to do with overall humidity.
  6. IMO, they tend to use all the space you provide - at night they'll climb branches, daytime stay on/under bark pieces on the bottom.
  7. 800mb looks gorgeous Try to resize with any of free software - FastStone, XNView...
  8. They live not in a real desert, but in a biotope like dry semi-evergreen bush - with thickets of spiny bushes, trees, dry sandy soils and stone outcrops, and seasonal rains. Dead plant material is quite abundant, so roaches have enough place both to hide and walk. I keep with "dry" roaches some large darkling beetles, like Scaurus, Blaps, Adesmia etc., they're safe for roaches, eggsacs and nymphs, though quite large and impressive by themselves. They sometimes have some issues with successful pupating, needing a piece of damp wood to pupate in it - but otherwise are undemanding.
  9. I've tried once to use hissers as feeders for monitors - being fed well and heated well (27...30C), both Gromphadorrhina hybr. and Elliptorhina chopardi breed like flies, newborns are uncountable. But they're too rough and spiny - and very readily using these roughness and spines for self-defense. So - dubia, if you need large roach. Or archimandrita, if it's possible to keep really large colony, they're by far not the fastest-growing roaches. I definitely prefer crickets, locusts, caterpillars, beetle larvae for reptiles... For some ants - yea, they're quite good, especially for specialized scavengers like large Carebaras, they clean them from inside. For others, opportunist hunters like Camponotus - they're too rough, even small nymphs.
  10. Can't say so - keep'em all quite similar. IMO, nymphs prefer more humid conditions, adults tend to keep on dry side, but it's normal for many roaches. The only nuance is in strains: lurida, caffrorum and - to somehow less degree - centurio are rather well-established in captivity, breeding without problems. Capucina and bisannulata - not yet, and there are different strains, some of which are noticably more difficult to breed.
  11. It's unpredictable, IMO. I've 5 Gyna species, and always some of them try to fly when others just stay buried - and each feeding they're different. The most fleeable is usually lurida, the laziest - usually bisannulata, but an hour ago two capucina males tried to fly away. My favourite is kaffrorum - especially camouflaged nymphs
  12. Yes, I think so, too; the main question for me is the reason. Maybe some disease. They were F0, just offspring from WC animals, so it's quite possible. Woodlice were quite tolerant when roaches were L1, though quite numerous (they're somehow pesting in my vivariums, brought them occasionally from Lao several years ago, now they're literally everywhere, even with chilopods and scorpions...), so, IMO, if they took part in devouring, then they consumed either dead or dying insects. Yes, I'm sure. They can't climb polypropylene anyway, and enclosure is always tightly closed (no phorids, sciarids etc., so meshes are fine, boxes are closed). And yea, I've already found - not adults, about 20 large nymphs, from another location (that were from Myanmar, these are from Lao), but, IMO, it's one species, Ricnoda rugosa is widespread over all the region, from Myanmar to Vietnam. Maybe, in spring I can go to Myanmar again, though...
  13. With some arboreal millipedes and woodlice I've used pieces of dead twigs covered with epyphytes - mosses, lichens, fungi etc., and it worked very well. The trickiest moment is the very beginning, when WC animals try to eat and digest completely new food - they're, AFAIU, anyway symbiotrophic, and their endosymbionts may be either damaged by transportation or have problems with these new materials...
  14. ... So they've perished. Don't understand how\why - just perished. The one and the only species of all my roaches, more than 50; all the rest are feeling better or worse, but feeling. I'm now back home - travelled for 1,5 months, and there're not even anything like remnants in their enclosure. Just disappeared without any traces. Food, humidity, shelters - everything seemed to be OK, but the result is somehow stunning for me. Moreover: I've a colony of some woodlice in the same enclosure, and they've not just survived - they're now innumerable, colony is bursting with youngs. Does anybody has anything like an experience of woodlice exterminating roaches in polyculture? O_o