Damasippus sp. "Monteverde"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAreolatae 
SuperfamilyAschiphasmatoidea Brunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
FamilyPrisopodidaeBrunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
SubfamilyPrisopodinaeBrunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
TribePrisopodiniBrunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
GenusDamasippusStål, 1875
SpeciesDamasippus sp. "Monteverde"(not yet identified)


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General Notes

  • Oskar Conle (Germany) and Frank Hennemann (Germany) are momentarily working on taxonomical aspects of this species
  • Etymology
    • damasippus from the greek  Δαμάσιππος = „tamer of horses“
  • for further taxonomical informations → Phasmida Species Files
  • this is the first successfully captive-bred species of the genus Damasippus and the tribe Prisopodini

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Culture History

  • 2013 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2014 – distributed to other breeders as Damasippus sp. „Monteverde“

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  • Origin
  • this culture stock has been collected in May 2013 in Monteverde (Costa Rica)
  • the natural environment is rather humid, rainy, windy and quite cool

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Females

  • slim, agile and colorful phasmids
  • body length about  4.5 – 5 cm  
  • females are very similarly colored
  • yellow, green and brown areas
  • inner side of forelegs blue
  • mouthparts blue
  • eyes blueish-black
  • ventral side thorax yellow
  • long fore- and hindwings
  • anal region of the hindwings (the membranous part) is  yellow-brown
  • antennae longer than forelegs
  • the area apicalis (a taxonomical criterion) is well visible on the inner side of the tibias (see photos)
  • subgenital plate shorten than the abdominal ending
  • long cerci

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Males

  • also slender, agile and colorful phasmids
  • body length about 3.5 cm
  • coloration is the same as for females
  • antennae longer than forlegs
  • long fore- and hindwings
  • anal region of the hindwings (the membranous part) is  yellow-brown
  • long cerci

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Nymphs

  • body length about 14 mm
  • dark brown with yellow areas
  • antennae longer than forelegs
  • 2 light areas on the antennae
  • by L4 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)

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Eggs

  • these are glued
  • about 5 x 1.5 mm
  • elongate-oval
  • brown mottled
  • surface matt and coarse
  • no distinct capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • operculum (lid) at a slant towards the longitudinal axis of the eggs
  • micropylar plate is small

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Food Plants

  • it is very much recommended to cut away the edges of the leaves for nymphs in L1
  • regularly change the plants and the water in which they stand
     
  • oak (Quercus spp.)
    is very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)  is very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    has been moderatly accepted by small nymphs, not tested with adults
  • Eucalyptus
    is well accepted     (Info: Yannick Bellanger)
  • their natural food plants are oak (Quercus brenesii) and mistletoe (cf. Struthanthus costaricensis, Loranthaceae)
     
  • if given the choice, then they prefere oak

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Behaviour

  • this is a very agile species
  • some small nymphs can not climb smooth surfaces (like glass, plastic). Therefore offer small nymphs a lot of twigs, bark or put jute on the walls of the cage
  • freshly hatched nymphs are very active and run around a lot, they settle down shortly once they start to feed
  • they are mainly active during the night, but also during the day they can be seen feeding and moving around
  • they like to hide out on twigs, they also snuggle tightly to these twigs
  • they are usually very trusting and climb on the breeder's hand readily
  • but when they get startled, then they react rather frantically, they drop down, wriggle about and try to espcape by crawling (nymphs) or flying (adults) away
  • males as well as females can fly very well, thus one should be careful when handling them
  • mating occur often, and males can also stay for a few days with the same female
  • if they feel threatened, then they spray a white defensive spray from glands behind their head. This spray smells like rubber with a mint scent. This spray may be irritating to eyes and mucous membranes
  • eggs are always glued, to different substrates and surfaces
  • out in nature they may glue their eggs preferably under the rolled up edges of drid-up leaves or crannies of bark. One may offer these in captivity
  • yet in captivity it is easier to offer them crumpled-up kitchen paper, from which it is very easy to remove the eggs for seperate incubation. In this case, one should also put a smaller container with wet sand in their cage, in order to somewhat increase humidity
  • two short videos on their egg-laying behaviour:  
    Video 1     Video 2

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 3 - 4 months
  • please note, that for phasmids it is not uncommon that some nymphs hatch a few or many months after the first nymphs hatched
  • spread some dry (!) moss over the eggs - this will make it much easier for the nymphs to hatch unscathed and it also reduces mould growth to some extend
  • hatching ratio ca be high ( 30 -  50% or even higher)
  • males will be adult after about 3 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 3 – 4 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 3 weeks
  • about 5 – 9 eggs per female and week
  • adults can live for several months

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Breeding Notes

  • my general notes on how to breed phasmids are an integral part of this care sheet …
  • it is recommend to keep this species in a seperate cage. The culture is much more likely to be successful than in an multi-species cage which are all too often badly crowed
  • degree of difficulty =  3                     (1= very easy / 5 = very difficult)
  • keep nymphs seperate from the adults. This makes it much easier to monitor their developement and they are protected from being disturbed or even harmed by the much bigger adults (like during their moults)
  • keep the nymphs in a cage with good ventilation, but take care that the humidity does not drop too low
  • a constantly wet paper towel on the floor of the cage helps raising humidity
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages like Faunarium)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of at least 30 x 30 x 30 cm height should be provided for 10 adult couples
  • spray small nymphs with water 2 – 3 times a week (do not used chlorinated tap water). This water should dry up within a few hours, therefore an airy cage is needed
  • it is not needed to spray older nymphs and adults
  • make sure that nymphs, which are about to undergo their adult moult, do not find places in the cage which would not offer them enough space beneath to moult successfully

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References

  • Phasmida Species Files  (www.phasmida.orthoptera.org)

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direct link to category: sp. 'Monteverde' (Costa Rica)