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Porcellio Scaber Breeding Program.

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Greetings.
 
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.
 
 
Methods:
 
Enclosures
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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).
 
 
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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.
 
Populations:
 
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 B) 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.
 
Breeding objective:
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?
 
Questions
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?
 
Kind Regards.

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1. Isopods are known to eat molting insects, so take the burrowing roaches out

2. Orange scaber will appear in the wild on rare occasions, and appear to be quite common in US bug shops.

 

Hopefully others will chime in 

 

Good luck

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Oh, I didn't know that they did that. I will remove them immediately. Its fortunate that I have another enclosure, I guess.

Thank you very much for telling me this.

I've been keeping an eye out for any morphs in stores. But thus far there hasn't been any in large numbers.

 

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Your best bet is to find wild populations and hunt for orange or calico specimens. With your current method it might take you decades or you may never seen an orange as long as you live. You can only isolate a gene that exists within the specimens you have. You can't expect to pull them from a stock without the gene. It might be there and it might not. Orange are common in the US but they are probably all from ones I isolated and traded in the 90's, but I started with one orange. Calico will be a byproduct of isolating the orange but it is very difficult to isolate the calico because it is more than one gene.

Isopods aren't terribly predatory unless the food doesn't move like a pupa. 

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On 8/6/2018 at 9:25 AM, Allpet Roaches said:

Your best bet is to find wild populations and hunt for orange or calico specimens. With your current method it might take you decades or you may never seen an orange as long as you live. You can only isolate a gene that exists within the specimens you have. You can't expect to pull them from a stock without the gene. It might be there and it might not. Orange are common in the US but they are probably all from ones I isolated and traded in the 90's, but I started with one orange. Calico will be a byproduct of isolating the orange but it is very difficult to isolate the calico because it is more than one gene.

Isopods aren't terribly predatory unless the food doesn't move like a pupa. 

Sorry for the late reply, I had a hectic week. Thank you for your reply. 

Since you posted, I've gone out and searched for Orange individuals of P. scaber. Although I wasn't successful in that regard, I did find significant populations of A. vulgare amongst which there was several different colour morphs - particularly "high yellow" and red. I'm working on isolating those individuals. I've also resurveyed my initial population of P. scabers and found 3 white individuals and 4 calicos (which I have also isolated into their own respective enclosures with a couple of immature wildtypes).  White isn't a colour that has been fully isolated, so there really isn't a big difference between me isolating orange or white in terms of accomplishments. Finally, I've acquired some Porcellionides pruinosus orange morphs, and I've begun working on them. 

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I've been going out hunting for the last couple days. For the first three days or so I caught nothing but Spherillo sp (222 in total were captured).

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However, just yesterday I figured out were the P. scabers resided and have had two days of very fruitful expeditions. On the first day i found around 10 or so p.scabers wildtypes as well as an orange! My first one, I am pretty happy. 
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Then on the second day I captured a further 202 P. scabers. Amongst which was another orange! As well as 10 white individuals. feXQFe1.jpg

All the wildtypes were placed into the culture that I don't meddle with to breed independently, and the colour morphs were all removed to their respective cultures (which I will detail in a post tomorrow). Overall, very happy with my progress. Now I just need to wait for them to breed.

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