Megaphasma denticrus "Bracken Cave"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyDiapheromeridaeKirby, 1904
SubfamilyDiapheromerinaeKirby, 1904
TribeDiapheromeriniKirby, 1904
GenusMegaphasma Caudell, 1903
SpeciesM. denticrus (Stål, 1875)

 
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General Notes

  • Stål described this species in 1875 as Diapheromera denticrus
  • 2012 - first successful culture in Europe by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2012 - this species has been distributed as Megaphasma denticrus
             „Bracken Cave“

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Origin

  • this color form of M. denticrus has been collected by T. Bercier (USA) in the area of Bracken Cave (San Antonio, Texas)

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Females

  • very colorful and sturdy females
  • about 11.5 – 12.5 cm long
  • coloration of females is rather consistent, some females are  a bit darker
  • upper side (dorsally) is mainly glossy green
  • lower side (ventrally) is mainly yellowish-green
  • lower legs (tibiae), head, antennae and prothorax are yellowish-brown
  • boundaries between segments are reddish
  • thigh (femora) of mid- and hindlegs are strongly developed
  • quite big, black spines on the lower side (ventrally) of the thighs of mid- and hindlegs
  • antennae are longer than forelegs
  • no wings (apterous)

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Males

  • strongly colored and very sturdy males
  • about 10.5 – 11 cm long
  • coloration is consistent amongst males (F1)
  • mainly yellow-brown in color
  • strongly green stripes on the upper and lower side of the meso- and metathorax
  • first section of forelegs is slightly greenish
  • thighs of mid- and hindlegs are strongly developed
  • a big, black spine distally on the lower side of each mid- and hindleg
  • very big and strongly developed cerci
  • antennae longer than forelegs
  • no wings (apterous)

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Nymphs

  • about 15 mm long  (L1)
  • mottled dark and light green (L1)
  • antenna about as long as forelegs (L1)
  • some nymphs will turn reddish-brown in L1, while others stay green
  • older nymphs are very contrasty
  • by L3 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)

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Eggs

  • about 4 x 2 mm
  • dark brown or black, with an almost white area
  • elongate-oval
  • slightly glossy surface
  • capitulum is well developed

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Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus sp.)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • no other food plants have been tested by me (so far)

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Behaviour

  • especially adults can react rather frantically when they feel threatened (like when they are touched). They drop down, wriggle about and  excitedly crawl about for some time
  • a defensive spray has not been observed
  • males cling to the females with their cerci, they clasp the females whole abdomen with their cerci

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 4 – 6 months  (F1)
  • spread some dried  (!) 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
  • eggs of this species get mouldy quite easily, but nymphs hatch well nevertheless
  • hatching ratio in F1 was very high (> 50%)
  • males and females will be adult after about 3 months (at 20 – 23°C)
  • females start laying eggs after about 2 – 3 weeks
  • eggs are flinged away - with a swing of the abodmen
  • about 30 – 35 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 a integral part of this care sheet ...
  • it is very easy to breed this species
  • I recommend to keep the nymphs seperate from the adults. This allows to survey the development of the growing nymphs much better, and small nymphs are protected from disturbing influences by the much bigger adults
  • 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
  • a humidity level of about 60+ % rH (for adults) and 75+ %  rH (for nymphs) seems to be fine
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of at least 30 x 30 x 30 cm should be provided for 2 – 3 adult couples (or considerably larger if the cage also contains other species !)
  • generally I recommend to keep different phasmid species seperately (unfortunately, overcrowed cages are still too common ...)
  • I have never sprayed nymphs, adults or their cage 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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