Melophasma antillarum "Guadeloupe"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAreolatae 
SuperfamilyAschiphasmatoideaBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
FamilyPrisopodidaeBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
SubfamilyPrisopodinaeBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
TribeParaprisopodniniZompro, 2004
GenusMelphasmaRedtenbacher, 1906
SpeciesMelophasma antillarum
(Caudell, 1914)


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General Notes

  • originally described by Caudell in 1914 as Paraprisopus antillarum
  • the type specimen of M. antillarum is from Dominica (Windward islands, just south of Guadeloupe
  • M. antillarum „Guadeloupe“ is the first Prisopodinae which has been bred successfully in captivity
  • for further taxonomic informations → Phasmida Species Files

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Culture History

  • 2012 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2013 – distributed as Melophasma antillarum „Guadeloupe“ to other breeders

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Origin

  • Christian Bouladou Dupre (Martinique) found this species in 2012 on Guadeloupe

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Females

  • small, clumbsy looking and very cute phasmids
  • about 8 cm long
  • strongly mottled in different brown shades
  • body strongly granulated
  • small, reddish forewings
  • very small, reddish hindwings
  • very short legs
  • thighs (femur) of forelegs broadened
  • hairy lobes on thorax, mid- and forelegs
  • antennae much longer than forelegs
  • subgenital plate shorter than abdominal ending

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Males

  • slim, small phasmids
  • about 5 cm long
  • small spines on the head
  • mottled in different brown shades
  • body granulated, especially the thorax area
  • short legs
  • hairy lobes on thorax, mid- and forelegs
  • antennae much longer than forelegs

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Nymphs

  • stocky, small eggs
  • about 11 mm long (L1)
  • dark brown
  • even in L1 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)

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Eggs

  • about 5 x 2 mm
  • oblongate
  • a capitulum is visible on the egg lid (operculum)
  • color is quite variable - light or dark brown with dark or greenish areas
  • coarse surface
  • micropylar plate extends to the anterior pole
  • eggs look very similar to the droppings of this species

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Food Plants

  • cut away the edges of the leaves for nymphs in L1
  • as well as to regularly change the plants and the water in which they stand
     
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • beech (Facus sylvatica)
    very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
    very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • Hypericum
    very well accepted by nymphs and adults  (info by Oskar Conle, Germany)
  • Guava (Psidium guajava)
    well accpeted   (info by Christian Bouladou Dupre, Martinique)
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    very well accepted by adults (not yet tested with nymphs)
     
  • if given the choice, then they prefer Hypericum

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Behaviour

  • especially fresh hatched nymphs are very restless, running around a lot. And they they are great at escaping, they will find every crack in the cage
  • older nymphs and adults do not move around much
  • nymphs as well as adults snuggle tightly against twigs. Their hairy lobes on the thorax, fore- and midlegs help to break up their outline and thus enhance their camouflage against potential predators
  • their habit to abduct their abdomen like a small, brocken twig perfects their camouflage
  • sometimes 2 or even more insects sit in this position on top of each other (see pic on the right)
  • they need thin twigs so that they can perform their camouflage behaviour
  • nymphs as well as adult are passive during the day and out and about feeding at night
  • nymphs and adults are mostly calm even when touched
  • a defensive spray has not been observed
  • even though males are fully winged, they were never seen flying
  • a rather calm species
  • matings are frequent, males often stay with the same female for at least a few days
  • females fling the eggs away - with a swing of the abodmen and they just drop to the ground

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 3 - 5 months
  • 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
  • hatching ratio in high (> 40%)
  • males will be adult after about 3.5 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 4 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 3 weeks
  • about 15 – 20 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 easy to breed this species
  • for a succesful culture it is highly recommend to 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 very good ventilation
  • a humidity level of about 60 - 70 % rH seems to be fine for nymphs and adults
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox / Faunarium
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • spray nymphs and adults with water 2 - 3 times a week (do not use chlorinated water). This water should dry up within a few hours (thus a very well ventilated cage is needed)
  • no need to spray older nymphs and adults or their cage
  • a cage of at least 30 x 30 x 30 cm should be provided for 4 – 5 adult couples
  • generally I recommend to keep only one species per cage – the culture is much more likely to be successful than in an overcrowed cage
  • 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: antillarum (Guadeloupe)