Cages & furniture

Different kinds of containers are suitable for rearing phasmids like e.g. sweet jars, acrylic boxes, acrylic terrariums, wooden framed gauze-cages or glass terrariums and aquariums with a lid. The size of the required container or cage mainly depends on the size of the species that is wished to be reared. Other features like the equipment of the cage mainly depend on what kind of climate the concerned species requires.

1. Cage-size. As a general rule, the height of the breeding cage should correspond to at least 4 times the length of the insects body. TerrariumFollowingly, for breeding a very large species with an estimated body length of 20 cm, a cage should be used which is at least 80 cm tall. This is mainly because the insects hang more or less vertically during the ecdysis for “sliding” out of their old skin.
Large wooden framed gauze-cages which are usually used for breeding caterpillars and butterflies, have proven to be the most prolific type of cage for very large species, exceeding body lengths of 18 cm. For obtaining the required humidity some of the sides or the top of the cage can be covered with foliage; the higher the required humidity the more sides of the cage need to be covered. Alternatively, large glass-terrariums can be used for large species which prefer a very humid atmosphere. The wooden gauze-cages have in contrast proven to be most prolific for species requiring plenty of ventilation.
In every case however, the cages should be constructed in a way that enables an unproblematic cleaning and cTerrariumhanging of the foodplants. This is at best attained by a large door or removable front. If this is made from an acrylic glass or glass this also allows to watch the insects without opening the cage. Instructions for building suitable cages were published e.g. by BRAGG (1989) and ZOMPRO (1995).
For smaller species or ones which usually live in very low vegetation cages with a larger floor-space (e.g. aquariums with a lid) have proven more useful. In particular, species of e.g. Haaniella, Aretaon, Hoploclonia, Dares or Eurycantha like to hide on the cage-floor, under leaf-litter or roots during the daytime wTerrariumhy it is readily accepted by Terrariummost of these species if one places pieces of barks, old roots or similar on the cage-floor. For smaller species plenty of leaf-litter on the cage-floor will also do.
Small glass-terrariums being 20 cm wide, 20 cm long and 30 cm tall, large acrylic boxes or sweet jars have proven very useful for most of the very small species which require very high humidity. This is e.g. Dares, Pylaemenes, Epidares or Hoploclonia.



2. Floor-covering. The covering of the cage-floor depends on the egg-laying habits of the females. The lack of a suitable medium for females to lay their eggs can cause to problems or even the death of the concerned insects.
For all those species in which the eggs are simply dropped to the ground or flipped away, it is sufficient to cover the cage-floor with a layer of kitchen-roll which can be moistened by slightly spraying it from time to time. The advantage of using kitchen-roll instead of sand, peat or vermiculite is that the eggs and excrements can be easily removed from the cage by replacing the layer of kitchen-roll. This makes cleaning the cage much easier and allows the eggs to be easily sorted from the excrements afterwards.
Species which lay their eggs into the soil, a suitable medium should be provided e.g. by a 4-5 cm high layer of slightly compressed peat, sand or vermiculite. Alternatively, an acrylic box filled with damp substrate can be put on the cage-floor for giving the female insects an opportunity to bury their eggs. Such species are mostly characterized by the bird-beak-like ovipositor of females, this is e.g. Heteropteryx, Haaniella, Hoploclonia, Aretaon, Brasidas, Eurycantha or Neopromachus. In such species the eggs can either be left in the cage or transferred to separate containers (see “Eggs”).
Certain species, like Diesbachia, Pseudodiacantha or Orxines may also lay their eggs into spaces or slits in bark, moss or lichens. For these, alternative mediums like flower-foam or “Luffa´s”(sponge cucumber), (both available in well-sorted garden centres) may be placed on the cage-floor or fixed to the interior of the cage.


3. Short descriptionTerrarium of a fully automatized allround breeding-cage:
There is a possibility of offering almost all kinds of climate with only one cage. The type of cage described below has proven very prolific in our breedings. It is constructed from a stable aluminium frame-system, glass and pieces of punched aluminium plates (see pictures). For the cage-floor an aluminium-plate with a diameter of 3 mm is used. TerrariumThe parts are fixed with silicone and a special glue. The interior of the cage is equipped with a small 6V-ventilator and a vaporizer which are both controlled by separate electric timers. This allows to produce almost all kinds of climate, humid, airy, dry etc. In addition the cage can be equipped with a heating to regulate the decreasing of temperature during the night. The great advantage of this standard cage is the strongly limited time spent, as most is automatized. Only the cleaning, feedVerneblerd├╝se im Terrariuming and selection of eggs is left to be done.
Due to the floor is made from aluminium it can be covered with either kitchen-roll or substrate like sand or peat.
The aluminium frame-system can be obtained from Aluterra. A professional vaporizer can be obtained from e.g. ENT-Terrarientechnik. The cost for such a fully automatized cage range between 400 and 600 €, which is the only disadvantage.