Megaphasma denticrus "Lafayette"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

orderPhasmatodea
 
suborderVerophasmatodea 
infraorderAnareolatae 
familyDiapheromeridaeKirby, 1904
subfamilyDiapheromerinaeKirby, 1904
tribeDiapheromeriniKirby, 1904
genusMegaphasma Caudell, 1903
speciesMegaphasma denticrus (Stål, 1875)

 
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General Notes

  • Stål (1875) first described this species as Diapheromera denticrus
  • synonym: M. dentricus (Beamer, 1932)
  • 2011 - eggs imported and bred by Bruno Kneubühler and some other European breeders

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Origin

  • this culture stock has been collected by Theresa B. in a parc in Lafayette (Louisina, USA) and bred for the first time

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Females

  • medium sized phasmids
  • about 13 - 14 cm long
  • very glossy surface
  • green and olive-brown areas
  • segment joints of the abdomen are reddish-brown
  • numerous robust and black spines on the lower side of thighs of the mid and hind legs (meso- and metafemora)
  • thighs of the mid legs are stronger developed
  • antennae are about the same length as the fore legs
  • no wings

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Males

  • medium sized phasmids too
  • about 11 cm
  • very glossy surface
  • main colour is a strong green and a light or reddish brown
  • green on the lower side is darker
  • thighs of the fore legs with light blue-green
  • lower side of the thighs of mid and hind legs (meso- and metafemora) are red
  • segment joints are reddish-brown marked-off
  • thighs of the  mid and hind legs are strongly built
  • a strongly built, black and outwards curved spine on each thigh of the mid and hind legs (distal end)
  • antennae are a bit longer than the fore legs
  • no wings

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Nymphs (L1)

  • about 17 mm
  • green
  • light brown eyes
  • antennae slightly shorter than the forelegs
  • it is possible to differentiate ♀♂ in L1
  • by L2, some nymphs have reddish leg joints
  • by L3, ♂ have bigger cerci than the ♀

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Eggs

  • about 4.5 x 2 mm
  • dark brown with lighter, almost white areas
  • the lid (capitulum) has a reddish-brown, filigree structure
  • fine hairs around the lid
  • microphylar plate is almost white with a dark dot
  • microphylar plate is surrounded by a light brown edging

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Food Plants

  • nymphs feed and grow very well on bramble (Rubus sp.)
  • adult males also feed well bramble (Rubus sp.)
  • adult female feed on bramble (Rubus sp.), but they prefer beech (Fagus sylvatica) or oak (Quercus sp.)

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Behaviour

  • nymphs are not really active, though they might try to escape when being touched
  • adult specimens are sometimes also active during the day, especially the males
  • adult specimens, especially the males, try to escape when being grabbed
  • males hassle the females often and strongly - therefore I keep them in a seperate cage and put them only for a few days every 3 - 4 weeks in the cage with the females
  • male mature after about 2.5 - 3 months, females after about 3 - 3.5 months
  • females start to lay eggs after about 2 - 3 weeks
  • eggs are just dropped to the ground
  • about 15 eggs per female and week
  • matings can be observed frequently, but they last only for some hours

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Breeding Notes

  • an easy to breed and astonishingly beautiful species
  • incubation with the HH-incubation method (on slightly damp sand) yields a good hatching ratio
  • some moss spread over the eggs reduces mould growth and strongly facilitates successful hatching
  • incubation time at room temperatures (20 - 23°C) is about 6 months
  • incubation time can also be up to 1.5 years (thanks to Piero Latini, Italy)
  • hatching ratio was high (50+ %)
  • keep the nymphs in a cage with good ventilation
  • 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 and adults can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • I have never sprayed nymphs or adults with water
  • make shure 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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