Diesbachia hellotis "Ranchang"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyDiapheromeridae Kirby, 1904
SubfamilyNecrosciinae Brunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
TribeNecrosciiniBrunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
GenusDiesbachiaRedtenbacher, 1908
SpeciesDiesbachia hellotis(Westwood, 1859)


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General Notes

  • described as Lopaphus hellotis by Westwood, 1859
  • other synonyms: Centrophasma hellotis Redtenbacher, 1908
  • Bragg (1992) transfered this species to the genus Diesbachia
  • for further taxonomical informations → Phasmida Species Files
  • other Dimorphodes species which are or have been in culture →  PSG-List, Online-Culture-List
  • the strain Diesbachia hellotis „Ranchang“ is a pure culture. For the purpose of the conservation of local variations and biodiversity, this strain should not be mixed up with populations from a different provenance (see also cryptic species complex)

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Culture History

  • 2012 – first successful culture by Ian Abercrombie (England)
  • 2012 – distributed to other breeders as Diesbachia hellotis „Ranchang“

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Origin

  • eggs were collected from wild-caught females by Ian Abercrombie (England) in September 2011 in Ranchang (Serian, Sarawak)
  • Ian mentioned that this species is usually found near water bodies, and always in humid areas

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Females

  • body length about 10.5 – 12 cm
  • coloration is consistently dark brown amongst females
  • few light brown patches on the head and the legs
  • few small green dots on the outer forewings and the outer costalregion of the hindwings
  • short wings, which reach to the rear end of the 2nd abdominal segment
  • anal region of the hindwings (the membranous part) is strongly pink with a dark brown maculation
  • thorax with many and sometimes quite long spines
  • many small spines on the legs
  • antennae shorter than forelegs
  • subgenital plate longer than the abdominal ending (anal segment, 10th tergit)

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Males

  • body length about 9 – 9.5 cm
  • coloration amongst males consistently mottled brown
  • light brown stripe alongside the thorax and the wings
  • quite big spines on the thorax
  • forewings with a small green-black area
  • hindwings reach to the hind margin of the 7th abdominal segment
  • anal region of the hindwings (the membranous part) is pink with a dark maculation
  • antennae about as long as forelegs

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Nymphs

  • body length about 21 mm
  • green-brown body color, green legs
  • antennae a bit longer than forelegs
  • antennae with a dark tip
  • leg joints of mid- and hindegs dark colored
  • by L2 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)
  • older male nymphs are usually dark brown colored, while older female nymphs are often green or greenish-brown
  • examples on how to differentiate between male and female nymphs

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Eggs

  • rather big
  • about 7 x 2.5 mm
  • bullet-shaped
  • surface is strongly sulcated
  • matt
  • no distinct capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • the operculum (egg lid) is surrounded by long fringes
  • micropylar plate is small and elongate-oval

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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, if possible once a week
     
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is very well accepted by nymphs, but adult females were reluctant to accept bramble
  • hazelnut (Corylus avellana)
    is very well accepted by adults (not tested with nymphs)
  • Hypericum
    very well accepted by nymphs and adults    (info by Ian Abercrombie)
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    is just moderately accepted by adults (not tested with nymphs)

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Behaviour

  • nymphs as well as adult are rather passive during the day and out and about feeding at night
  • nymphs and adults can react quite frantically when they feel threatened (like when they are touched). They drop down, wriggle about and freeze again after a few steps
  • adult males and females can open their colored wings, when they feel threatened. But this defense behaviour was rarely displayed
  • males can fly for a short distance, but their flight comes across rather clumsy and sluggish
  • matings occur often during the night, males do not stay with the same female for a prolonged time
  • females stick their eggs into some soft substrate, sometimes even into the leaves of the food plants. A sand-filled box was not accepted
  • when they stick their eggs into leaves, then the fringe-surrounded operculum acts as an effective stopper which prevents the eggs from falling through the leave to the ground (see photos on the right)

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is up to 9 or more 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 spruce needles (Picea abies) over the eggs - this will make it much easier for the nymphs to hatch unscathed
  • males will be adult after about 5 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 5 – 6 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 3 – 4 weeks
  • about 3 – 5 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 each phasmid 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 overcrowed
  • degree of difficulty =  3                (1= very easy / 5 = very difficult)
  • as freshly hatched nymphs are already rather quite big, therefore the incubation container must be big enough too
  • 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)
  • take care that the humidity does not drop too low, this species needs a rather high humidity
  • a constantly wet paper towel on the floor of the cage helps raising humidity
  • a humidity level of about 75+ % rH (for adults) and 85+ %  rH (for nymphs) seems to be fine
  • 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 60 cm height should be provided for 3 – 4 adult couples
  • at least 2 (-3) cages are needed to breed this species – one cage for the small nymph, maybe another one for the older nymphs and one cage for the adults
  • spray smaller nymphs with water 3 – 4 times a week (do not use chlorinated tap water). This water should dry up until you will spray the next time
  • 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  (http://phasmida.speciesfile.org/)

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