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Polyphaga saussurei nymphs moving synchronous


stanislas
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I dug out my Polyphaga saussurei collection, to see how many I have at the moment. 3 Adults and many nymphs.

And while they were together, I noticed them moving almost synchronous: 

 

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Very cool. I'm sure it is not coincidence. I wonder what is the minimum number of individuals it takes to get that response. Will they do it in pairs? I'm assuming it is somehow a defensive behavior. I wonder what causes it. You can almost see waves of movement a few times. It has to be a single roach that starts the wave, but the few bold individuals that are moving more do not seem to be triggering the group response.

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5 hours ago, varnon said:

Very cool. I'm sure it is not coincidence. I wonder what is the minimum number of individuals it takes to get that response. Will they do it in pairs? I'm assuming it is somehow a defensive behavior. I wonder what causes it. You can almost see waves of movement a few times. It has to be a single roach that starts the wave, but the few bold individuals that are moving more do not seem to be triggering the group response.

This seems remarkably similar to behavior of Phanaeus; when alarmed, beetles may run a short distance when a vibration is detected, stopping whenever the vibration ceases.

Orin says the dung beetles may do it to confuse predators, since motion produced by predatory or dung-associated vertebrates can decrease obviousness of beetle escape behaviors

 

 

I have also seen pillbugs and darklings performing the same vibration-correlated intermittent running

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14 hours ago, varnon said:

Wait, is this species parthenogenetic too? I might have to get some.

Yes, they are indeed. Although males do exist, but they aren't available in the hobby (yet). 

They are quite slow in reproducing. The cycle from nymph to nymph takes 3 year here. I started with 7, lost 3 adults along the way, and now I have around 70 nymphs (besides the remaining 4 adults). 
They are a rather boring species. I estimate (from camera movement detection) that they move on average 20 minutes/week. 
Only in the mating season they become truly active. The females then start wandering around at night, trying to climb on whatever there is available and then wait for, I assume, a male to fly by.

My wife thinks it's a bit sad, all those waiting and longing female roaches waiting for their prince ...

 

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Hmm, the synchronized movement is interesting, but I do like my bugs to be a bit more active.

Your wife should be happy the females get a chance to wait. So many females of various species never get a male-free moment. Waiting and longing is romantic! I imagine the poor lonely roaches singing Disney-style songs while waiting for their knight in chitin armor. And then she finally meets the one!

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