I’ve recently come across the Isopod community and I’ve been enthralled. After some research, I decided to breed the Species Porcellio Scaber. However, after some research I concluded that in Australia, where I live, there are no colour morphs available other than the standard wild type. It is my personal goal to produce a stable colour morph for the Australian Isopod community. I would very much appreciate it if you could critique my methods and such for this breeding program, so I can improve it.
Two populations were purchased from separate breeders, with 50 individuals in both populations. Each population is kept within separate containers, the first population hereby referred to as line “A” is kept within a thermostat-controlled Terrarium that also houses two Giant burrowing cockroaches, the second population referred to as Line "B" is kept within a more basic enclosure.
The terrarium is kept at a stable 22.5 *C (72.5*F) temperature, although occasionally the temperature rises to as high as 26*C (78.8*F) at times. Humidity ranges between 63% R.F to 80% R.F. The enclosure is misted 3 times a week.
The substrate is a mixture of cocofibre and sand.
The Isopods are provided with a variety of hardwood leaves, including Oak, eucalyptus, and American Sweetgum. Supplementary food is provided once a week in either the form of carrot, potatoe, or a specialised Isopod food purchased from Minibeasts.com. In addition, pulpy wood has been provided as well as a calcium supplement (cuttlebone).
The second enclosure is a basic 10L (2.64 Gallon) tub. It is a relatively opaque blue container, to minimise light in the enclosure. This enclosure is not heated, however since the room is heated the temperature is a relatively stable 23*C (73*F) during the day, although it occasionally drops down to a minimum of 21*C (69.8*F) at night and to a max of 26*C (78.8*F) during hot days. The humidity is uniformly above 90% R.F. It is misted once a week due to the lower rate of ventilation and evaporation.
The substrate within is purely coconut fibre.
A mix of the same hardwood leaves as in the terrarium are provided, in addition to a range of decomposing rainforest leaves sold as millipede food. Supplementary food and cuttlebone is the same.
The two populations are sourced from entirely separate gene pools that are geographically isolated. The first population (Line A) is sourced from a population that has been kept in captivity for multiple generations and is generally consistent, although two albino individuals have been isolated from this line.
The second population (line has been kept in captivity for far less time and has been sourced from wild caught individuals only a couple of generations ago. The two populations originated from locations 2,900KM separated. This population shows a great variation in phenotypes.
My objective is to isolate any distinct variety of colour morph. What is the best method to go about this? Thus far, I’ve been waiting for a second generation of isopods to be produced in each of the enclosures. Could the albino line be isolated from line A?
I’ve also seen quite a few Orange coloured variations in the American Porcellio Scaber populations, is it a common morph that is produced?
In addition, do you think that if I made a third, intermediate, population that the mixing of the genetically isolated populations would produce a number of new variations?
Lastly, are there any improvements on my setup that could be made?