MooreInverts

Questions About Micro Feeders for Micro Geckos

17 posts in this topic

It looks like I may have a trio of Sphaerodactylus notatus joining me in the coming month! The same friend who got me into loving invertebrates and convinced me to get Eurydactylodes and Bysotria rothi as my first reptiles and inverts, is looking to let go of her trio of S. notatus. She doesn't want to just sell them, and she said she trusts me enough that she will gladly give them to me, barring cost of shipping, and she'll even give me a fruit fly culture so I can start feeding them. :D

I'm very excited about the little ones, and I'm ironing out what sort of feeders I can culture for them, any future micros (I'm making three 8x8x12 vivs so I'll be looking for a couple more pairs or trios) and the smaller Eurydactylodes can eat. I'm looking for a good variety that can be kept on a small scale and ideally can't climb or fly. Or at least be easily contained. I specify because while my dad is more than okay with the geckos, he isn't fond of insects and I need to make sure I can really prevent any escapes or issues. I know it's still always possible, but still.

Right now I'm looking into wingless melanogaster, confused rice flour beetles, isopods, small black soldier fly larvae (can't culture them but I'll buy them on occasion if they like them), and very small red goblin nymphs. I'm still looking into other options and doing a lot of research, but I'd like some answers to a few specific questions. This is mainly regarding bean beetles and little kenyan roaches. How are these two as potential feeders? Are either of them worth it? What are the pros/cons of little kenyans, especially? Should I even bother keeping a little culture of them? And how bad are bean beetles about flying/climbing/capability of escape in general? Do the benefits of either species outweigh the cons? And finally, are there any other tiny feeders that are worth looking into?

 

I know it might seem strange that I'm looking into such a variety for what I guess is a small collection...but I think of it this way: we will never be able to replicate the full extent of the diversity of prey any reptile would encounter in their natural habitat, and there are really no downsides to supplying them with a balanced, healthy, varied diet. Obviously some feeders will be used less frequently than others, but the point is it's true that variety is the spice of life. And in a practical sense, if I stick to simple to care for, small cultures of different feeders, if one of them crashes/fails, there's always going to be SOMETHING i can resort to. I guess it's just a weird anxiety of mine, but I do worry about that. Maybe it's irrational, I don't know.

And anyway at least at the end of the day, even if I only keep a few kinds of feeders, that's ok! I'll at least appreciate any input for the sake of learning and research.

 

Here's a picture of the notatus, by the way! Her picture, not mine. c: Male on the left, female on the right!

tumblr_ojmvw0PYUX1r4rftdo2_1280.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know nothing about the feeding habits of these geckos, and how small is too small, but if you are looking for a tiny, prolific feeder invertebrate, I'd consider Trichorhina tomentosa, the Dwarf White Isopods. They are pretty easy to breed, and very prolific, (they are parthenogenic after all).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, I didn't think about explaining that:

Eurydactylodes as adults eat anything between 1/4-1/2". My Eurydactylodes vieillardi is 1.5 years old yet very slender and maybe 4" long, maybe smaller, in total body length, so I'd say 1/4" is preferred for him. the E. agricolae is a little hog and he eats a lot, and while he is only I think 8 months old now, he is significantly larger in girth and length than the vieillardi. I haven't measured him though so I'll have to do that sometime, probably in a week when it's time for cleaning again. He could probably take something 1/2" long or so though, and if he can't now he'd certainly try, or he will be big enough soon.

The sphaerodactylodes are unbelievably tiny, as said, but from what I've read any very small cricket, roach, isopod, fruit fly is sufficient. Exactly how small is pretty vague in my research and I feel embarrassed that I never asked her exactly how big their feeders are. Hm. It should be ok though.

As for dwarf whites, I have a culture of them going right now, and while they're really hard for me to find (is there an easier way? they always seem buried deep and out of sight) once they're more established I'll use them, yeah! c: That's a good idea! Also they're partho?? I've never heard that before, I didn't know that. Is there any write-up on that or evidence? I'd really like to read more on that if possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, good to know! If I were you, I'd get fruit fly cultures started, and maybe a feeder roach like S.lateralis too. The lats will probably too big for your geckos once mature, but they are very prolific, and in an established culture it wouldn't be hard to find small enough individuals to your geckos. 

That's the thing about the dwarf whites, you basically have to pick them out by hand, and unlike other isopods, they don't seem to cling to the underside of bark, so you can't even take out pieces of decor and tap them over a food bowl like with other species... But your Sphaerdactylodes will probably love them! :P

Can't find any articles where the main subject is parthenogenesis of Trichorhina tomentosa, but this article here does say that T.tomentosa, among a few other isopod species, do reproduce via parthenogenesis. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the advice. c:

I've looked into S. lateralis, but admittedly the males' capability of flight is really unnerving for me, but I'll still strongly consider them, thank you!

And ah that makes a lot of sense, but you're right, and if I seed their vivs with them it'll be a nice in-house snack, haha! Little goobs will probably like that a lot. And oh dear, those poor p. pruinosis...once Gogo moves in he's probably going to have a field day on them. He's such a little pig I have no idea why he eats so much. He's definitely not fat, just eats a lot more than the other one, probably due to his size. Didi is so much daintier, but I've seen him sitting in his food dish before picking out black soldier fly larvae, and ambushing them from above on a leaf. He's tiny, but quite the little character. :P

 

(Oh!! And I'm making a really nice post on these guys with viv pictures too. It'll be long, but I haven't actually shown off my sons nor the first vivarium, so maybe it'll be neat to see. It'll be in the off-topic bit of course, to keep it off of the proper roach topics. c: Hopefully it'll be neat to someone though)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had a group of Hermidactylus turcicus for a few years now. They are fairly small. Although you can place the roach nymphs in a dish deep enough to prevent them from escaping, what you can’t prevent is the nymphs from running up on the body of the gecko. Those nymphs then just use the gecko as a ladder to freedom. So the most important thing is using a feeder whose adults are small enough to be eaten by the geckos later. I was using Eublaberus serranus nymphs as feeders. Later I discovered a colony of 30 living in the substrate. These roaches never left any cricket bodies or gecko bodies( I lost 5). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy crud, wait, can you explain the last bit a little?? Am I misunderstanding, or did they eat your geckos?

Otherwise thank you for sharing your experiences. This is why I wanted to post this, to start a discussion and see what other people have tried and experienced. That's definitely not something I was ever expecting, hoo, and the advice is good. I'm hoping the young P. couloniana I have will be nice once they breed more, as they don't climb or burrow, and supposedly stay as sub-adults for a while, so if they should be caught quickly enough. And if any get too big I can pick them out if I find them.

Are there any other good roaches for this purpose though? I like to have options and to learn more. c: I'm familiar with a good deal of roaches, but there's still so much more I have to learn and I'd love to hear more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep morning geckos, they are a little smaller then Eurydactylodes. I feed mainly fruit flys, then once they're bigger little kenyan roaches. They also get some rice flour beatle larva, lesser mealworms but fruit flys are easier. They also get small some red runner and surinam nymphs, but again the little kenyans are easier. When I say easier, I mean to grab a few the right size out of the cultures. 
Ive also seen an adult mourning gecko going to town on springtails, so put some of them in there too.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you culture your little kenyans? Do they fly, climb, or burrow at all? They seem like a convinient supplemental roach alongside the red goblins I have, and I'm really debating about setting up a 6 qt for them or something similar, if that would work. Since they get up to 1/2" long that'd be perfect for everyone. But I still really like the red goblins too since they're active, but not too fast to catch, and pretty bright colored so hopefully once they're more established and moved into their more compact 20 qt gasket (currently in a make-do hefty latch box) itll be easier, and the lads should like them. Still a nice and small roach for variety and convenience sake is something I'm leaning towards in conjunction with them.

(Plus I just find them fascinating, and any excuse for more inverts is good haha! But seriously, I'm trying to keep down my collection to only what will fit in the stand we're building for my vivs, so it's important for me to stick to smaller cultures and species. c:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have them in a 16 quart ziploc gasket bin with 1-2 inches ABG substrate and some cork and eggcrate. I keep half of th substrate wet and a heat pad under the dry side.  They like to burrow but they often scurry across the surface, and they hide under cork and egg flats. The adult males can climb. They're so tiny they can live with other roaches just fine. My 16 quart bin has hustler roaches, little kenyans, dwarf purple isopods, and buffalo beatles in it and they are all thriving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Little Kansans sound like the best feeder roach for you males and stay very small so your geckos can eat the adults to, I keep them in a tub that is half moist and half dry with a cork bark slab on the soil. The males can climb but there not the best at it. The males can get out of the tub I keep them in but I just figure it’s a way of naturally culling them lol. Most the males want to stay in the tub anyways. I can sell you 30 for $15 + $10 for shipping. I’d also look in to jungle micro pods they are very small I beleave bugs in syberspace has them, if there not in stock tell him what you need them for and I’m sure he’ll get you some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wowie this is helpful! Okay!!

I definitely think these could be a good decision for me, but I have a couple questions now. Could they co-exist with four adult Bysotria rothi in a 20 qt sterilite gasket? Will they bother my other buds too much? The rothi were/are my first ever roaches and I'm very attached to them. We've certainly survived through a lot together, and I don't want to cause them harm. And are you sure dwarf isos (you mention purples, what about t. tomentosa?) won't cause issues since the roaches are so small, or are they beneficial/can co-exist? Also I've vaguely heard of buffalo beetles/lesser mealworms as a cleaner for roach enclosures, are there any pros/cons to cohabitating these with other roaches? If they keep things cleaner and won't kill my big buds, I might consider them too for their potential usefulness/as feeders down the line. Might not use them now, probably won't anyway, but I figure I'd ask. c:

 

I'm also glad that I have so many options holy crud but that's great! Really excited that I can at least offer my animals a nice variety without using up too much space at all. Still glad I have the red goblins too, they're really nifty and kinda cute (but also ugly. my ugly-cute gorblin children. they're so stupid and ugly but somehow endearing and i love them) and since they reproduce readily but not Too Fast and they stay as subadults for a while (or so I've read) they're still a good option for me.

And an interesting note, apparantly New Caledonians seem to prefer "leggier" roaches? Or at least so Kyle from Roach Crossing says in his experiences. He also pointed out P. couliana are native to lower Australia and New Zealand, so it isn't unlikely that some sort of relative to this species could be native to New Caledonia. Just an interesting note, and we'll see if the Eurydactylodes favor them. So I'll still keep them around too. I like them, they don't take up too much room, and if the Eurydactylodes prefer them then that's great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/8/2017 at 10:08 PM, MooreInverts said:

Holy crud, wait, can you explain the last bit a little?? Am I misunderstanding, or did they eat your geckos?

Otherwise thank you for sharing your experiences. This is why I wanted to post this, to start a discussion and see what other people have tried and experienced. That's definitely not something I was ever expecting, hoo, and the advice is good. I'm hoping the young P. couloniana I have will be nice once they breed more, as they don't climb or burrow, and supposedly stay as sub-adults for a while, so if they should be caught quickly enough. And if any get too big I can pick them out if I find them.

Are there any other good roaches for this purpose though? I like to have options and to learn more. c: I'm familiar with a good deal of roaches, but there's still so much more I have to learn and I'd love to hear more!

  I am not 100%. What I can say is several geckos were noted with bad sheds on there toes. These could not climb. I would see them like this and the next day no more gecko. Now it could be that the 7 immature geckos I had in a 24x 18x18 killed the week ones until all was left was a pair? Who knows. I will not use them as feeders for anything small. But the Eublaberus genus is know for its higher protein needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy crap I've never heard of that happening before...it's both awful and interesting, I wonder if you're right and their protein needs explain that. I guess they just take whatever they can, but wow that's certainly new information for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The rothi should be fine with the Kenyans, big and small species go well together, I’ll never keep lesser meal worms because you can’t control which containers they go in to can migrate to all your other roach colonies and they may compete with small species. PM me is you ever want any Kenyans that’s the smallest feeders I have, 1st Instar Dubia would probably work good as well if you have them

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with early instar dubia is the complete lack of activity. I use them for my rubber frogs and Meditteranean geckos but after a day or two they stop moving. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They sell a reptile dish that vibrates for $20 to make food move, it’s mostly used for dry food. But it could work for Dubia 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

Loading...