Last week –
or can it possibly be the week before that? – I looked in on the Frog beetle cocoons and was welcomed by 2 newly emerged beetles :0
They are metallic-coloured, ‘midnight-blue’ I’d say. Very impressive :p
At once a flustered Stephanie went about filling up their brand new abode – a 30 cm square vivarium with a fine-metal-meshed roof – with substrate that I had already collected from a nearby wood (many months ago, Andre had advised to look and dig under Oak trees!), this I had stored in a large carrier bag. Then I added a couple of twigs and bits of bark for interest and a portion of delicious beetle jelly. The beetle jelly stood proud on the substrate, upside down, like a kind of blancmange.
These little beetles Sagra fermonta are quite timid and gentle, not as outgoing as other beetles such as the flower beetles. Sagra are actually Jewel beetles. But I’m not sure what the difference is as you can get beautifully coloured flower beetles, also with metallic shine (think Mr + Mrs Bella). Maybe someone can enlighten me…? :)
I love the way their sticky feet softly and lightly walk over the skin of my hands. It is like they have their own kind of ‘glue’ because they can literally walk up the glass walls (see forthcoming video) and stick upside down on the ceiling of the Sagra Abode!
I was so pleased that 2 had emerged together, so they had company…but a couple of days later I discovered one of them dead. The night before I noticed them both hanging together, off the metal mesh ceiling: but they didn’t seem to be mating, and both to my amateur-entomologist eyes, seemed to be males anyway. If they had been fighting, wouldn’t there have been some kind of activity, a display of aggressiveness? Or, maybe I had missed that. Well, I don’t know why that little beetle died.
Upon being coaxed out of the glass jar – from where their siblings still lay asleep in their earthen ‘eggs’ – and into their new home, I gently introduced them to a beetle jelly. And they ate. Starvation, as a cause of his death, I don’t think so. Maybe just some beetles are born weak and soon die – this brings to mind Jane, the Chelorrhina Polyphemus (Poly beetle) who died a week later after finally becoming an adult. She was a timid beetle who had no interest in food at all, and after burying herself in the substrate for a week, then emerged above ground and died a day later :( She was the last of the 6 x poly beetles to cocoon – and the 6th one, called John, is STILL(!) a grub. A monster grub at that!
John is fed special treats like small pieces of beef and chicken. Those tasty morsels of food are always gone within 2 days, hehe.
I must admit I did panic when I saw the two frog beetles at first – the viv hadn’t been completely prepared! I had to sort out yet another source of sunshine (a 60 watt lamp in a clamp); another order of beetle jelly (I inwardly groan at the cost of the postage, which is high – and would love to know the secret recipe so I can save money here!); another order of moss (this time some fantastic stuff all the way from Scotland ;) ); and, the most difficult bit: the Kudzu, and to be extra cautious, a couple of fully fledged Sweet Potato plants.
The adult Frog beetle lays her eggs in the vines of the Kudzu (Pueraria lobata; initially from Japan) – which is like a kind of super fast growing ivy: the web site where I’ve bought it states it can grow up to 30 cm in ONE day!! – or, so I’ve heard* in the case of Berlin Zoo, the frog beetles there laid their eggs in the leaves of the sweet potatoes – and the emerging beetle grub eats the leaves and roots.
Kudzu, looks like ivy and has a rapid growth. Its flowers are fragrant and beautiful. This herb (the root) is a popular CAM (complimentary, alternative medicine) among people who have alcoholic problems. Being a fan of herbal medicine, I will have a look in my herb bible to see if there might also be other health benefits.
The moss is great stuff: it can be kept alive by misting with rainwater (tap water will kill it) – or dried out so the beetles have a lovely soft bed to sleep in.
[Above: Walking on glass with sticky feet.]
More of my frog beetle photos and videos coming soon, in Part 2.
Thanks for looking :) Your comments are appreciated :D
*** R E F E R E N C E S / N O T E S ***
*CanNOT find any online reference regarding the alleged successful breeding of the Sagra in the Berlin Zoo…