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Guest AlexW

Gathering data for rare beetles

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Guest AlexW

After Hisserdude answered my blog survey (it's still open!) about insects in captivity, I decided to elaborate on his idea.

 

With many poorly-known insects, it is possible to assume husbandry requirements are similar to those of their relatives, or gather a limited amount of info from reading research papers. Unfortunately, this does not provide fine-tuned information, so we end up having to figure some things out ourselves (like unusual dietary requirements).

Right now I am using a "cautious trial-and-error" approach, meaning that I experiment on wild beetles so they are not killed or hurt by mistakes in captivity. This does not always work, due to some insects being difficult to watch for long periods. Anyone have suggestions on how to improve this using non-risky methods? Maybe some sort of "gradient cage" where the insect can self-regulate its humidity, diet, environment by moving to different areas if it senses something we do not know about?

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With a lot of new species trial and error methods are the best ways, if you get a new species in the hobby you can set up a large cage with a dry and moist side and a warm and cool side and experiment on what the insect prefers, also if you are collecting a species take a temp gun with you and record the tempature where the insect was found as well as soil type and if it was in rotten wood or under a log. You may also get better responses if you post on arachnoboards about husbandry issues.

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Guest AlexW

The other day I saw my Cotinis licking the blueberry an hour or two after dark. Orin said that flower beetles bury themselves at night, regardless of human lighting. This was true in the past, but perhaps extended late-night cage-cleaning has disrupted its sleep cycles. I also read in Popular Science about human sleep being disrupted by various technologies, including TVs, and that such disruptions caused mental health issues and other severe problems.

 

This made me even more alarmed. Trial and error, even if somehow performed without ethical issues, would not reveal certain problems. Suppose that an insect is extremely sensitive to light conditions that regulate its sleep. While it still follows a largely normal pattern in captivity, much subtle harm over long periods could occur (lower quality resting periods?).

 

Can anyone ( @Allpet Roaches?)  help me extrapolate known data for humans, dogs, fish, rats, etc. to our roaches and other pets, or at least give some facts and other "hard" data, such as the exact reasons why my paranoia is implausible?

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Guest AlexW

In other words, since humans have been doing "stupid" things to themselves and their domesticates for a very long time, how are we supposed to fine-tune our insect husbandry? I know Roachcrossing's Kyle has made some Ectobiid advances (the SESU, detailed in his roach caresheet), but detailed scientific research on the ecology and behavior of many pet insects is extremely scanty, making such advances and precautions sometimes difficult to discover for the hobbyist.

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Trial and error is what it comes down to if your dedicated to a species you can generally figure out there needs. Like blue death feigning beetles weren't bred in captivity up until a few years ago because someone used trial and error to figure out how to breed them. You also need to understand there natural history to better care for them or breed them  

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Guest AlexW

Um, I know that both methods are useful, but they still have significant limitations (see above)

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It may have limitations but in the end it will fall back to trial and error that's how a lot of inventions and most animals like roaches and reptiles have been kept in captivity and bred. The main limitation is time, if you have enough time you can solve a lot of breeding problems even complicated ones. The other problem is you don't have enough keepers venturing in to other areas of the insect hobby, that's why less comon species can be harder to breed, someone neads to put forth the time and energy, but some species may require sertain fungus or other microbes in order to breed in captivity, hence they can never be bred no mater how much time you put in them. 

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7 hours ago, Guest AlexW said:

The other day I saw my Cotinis licking the blueberry an hour or two after dark. Orin said that flower beetles bury themselves at night, regardless of human lighting.

There is an exception to every generalization or common experience. There are many good methods for breeding and things that kill various inverts but you'd never find every possibility.

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On 8/24/2017 at 6:41 PM, Redmont said:

Trial and error is what it comes down to if your dedicated to a species you can generally figure out there needs. Like blue death feigning beetles weren't bred in captivity up until a few years ago because someone used trial and error to figure out how to breed them. You also need to understand there natural history to better care for them or breed them  

Btw how do you get the blue death feigning beetles to breed? Mine had larvae last year but they ended up dying and I never learned the stimulus for laying eggs.

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I'm not entirely sure of the process I think they need a deep moist substrate in order to pupate, I now there is a thread on arachnoboards that you can look up that should detail the process  

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That person who made that thread on AB, Dean Rider, is the only person I know of who has consistently bred and reared this species before, needless to say, it's not an easy task.

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