Yesterday (Wednesday 8th February 2011) was my nephew’s 13th birthday,
so I took Licquorice, one of the giant millipedes, to show him. Millicent was unattainable (no not stuck in a business meeting, but in the felt tunnel that they sometimes sleep in). Licquorice travelled in an old popcorn tub as it had a handy handle for easy carrying – I already had enough to contend with, what with the handbag (why do women always carry too much?!) and walking stick that I’m forever dropping.
Sugar, my Chihuahua lady also came for the ride. Licquorice dug into the cucumber slice, Sugar – Queen of Cushions – got comfy on the backseat of cushions, I drove, and John Lee Hooker boom boom boomed. It was a party before we even got there ;)
It was lovely seeing my nephew again. I hadn’t seen him since the funeral of my dad last February. I wasn’t able to go out on the odd trip out with him and his foster family due to my chronic pain levels being high (they fluxuate) and the mobility problems (I can’t walk far and then it is quite slow-going – even old people with walking sticks over-take me!).
Not many people know about giant millipedes – I didn’t until Andre introduced me to them last summer – and are even afraid of them…the many, many legs (!) and the snake-like connotation because of the long body. But, giant millys are docile, sweet creatures, it is us who has to be sensitive to them, handle them correctly and not let them fall.
My mum and nephew
Wow, I have such a pic ‘n’ mix of beetles, I have to gather my thoughts together, to tell you of latest developments that have been going on in the multi culti community of Coleoptera. And to think I only began with TWO little beetles named Mr + Mrs Bella.
Let’s begin with -
John. Not much new there, he is declaring his forever grub status by refusing to cocoon. Maybe I am spoiling him now with the odd bit of chicken and beef I drop in? John is the one and only grub (Chelorrhina Polyphemus) I have left, the others have left him behind for dust…
The 5th poly (Chelorrhina Polyphemus) female emerged last week. She seemed confused and weak, not like the others who climbed out of their cocoons with ambitions of taking on the world! So, feeling sorry for Dickster (Dicronorhina derbyana layardi) being alone in the Bella abode - and feeling concerned about her wellbeing – I didn’t want King Poly ardently pursuing her! - I popped her in there instead. Anyway, Dickster never realised she existed until she finally emerged from under-the-ground a week later!
Newly emerged female Chelorrhina Polyphemus
Whilst trying to rest from the pangs of chronic pain 2 afternoons ago, I kept hearing a scratching sound. I looked over and noticed a small dark shape wriggling on my dressing table… He was stuck on his back with legs flailing – as beetles are apt to do. What…?! I saw it was a new kind of beetle – but how did it get there? I gently picked him up and put him in the Bella abode (a new housemate for Dickster and the 5th poly-with-no-name-…-yet. I knew from his small size, 1 cm, and colouring, fashionable racing yellow stripes on black, that he must be one of the Pachnoda Sinuata. I then discovered his empty cocoon but couldn’t fathom how he managed to get out of the container AND manage to replace the lid (it’s an old cotton bud box from Lidl, with tiny holes puctured in the top).
1 day old Pachnoda Sinuata
I don’t want to end with my sad news, so I’ll say about it here… I lost all my TEN baby bellas, the grub-offspring from Mr + Mrs Bella (Aphelorrhina Stephanorrhina) I’m sure it was a combination of the substrate being too wet – the temperature in that corner of the room drops too low -65 – and the banana food had gone bad, letting off dangerous fumes to them… I had checked them a week previously, so maybe I had also been neglectful? But that isn’t due to not caring – quite the opposite – I think NOT tampering with the beetle young is better, as I don’t want to upset them. Next time I won’t put any more young in that cooler place in the room, won’t leave them longer than 3 days, will remove any leftover food sooner, and won’t let the humidity levels get that high again.
King Poly and his 3 wives (Chelorrhina Polyphemus) - Anne, Mary and Catherine – are seeming happy enough. King Poly has been very busy and there is a lot of movement with the lady beetles going underground, I hope for the reason of laying eggs.
Chelorrhina Polyphemus female - one of King Poly's 3 wives (Anne, Mary, or Catherine).
Dickster (the remaining Dicronorhina derbyana layardi), is still lively. I recently noticed that he continually fed on beetle jelly, one whole night AND day. Flower beetles’ feeding and mating (often combined!) can literally take several hours – certainly not over in 5 minutes!
Dicronorhina derbyana layardi by the name of Dickster.
Still have more (smaller beetles) cocoons going…
There is a small colony of Thai Frog Beetles arriving any day now…I’m so excited :p
The tiny (maximum length 5 mm) land Malaysian snails are successfully reproducing, as you can imagine the babies are miniscule!
Here I’m going to end with Good News. The recently acquired small glossy millipedes have surprisingly had babies. The adults measure around 8 cm and the babies are so tiny…transparent almost. Easy not to spot. Their little bodies are exactly like the adults (they don’t emerge as grubs as do beetle children), and their movement is a replication of their parents.
Dickster playing at 'SpiderMan' ;)
Clicking on any of the photos will take you to the full size.
Copyright Stephanie Faith 2011