Ophicrania sp. "Negros"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
  

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
SubfamilyPlatycraninaeBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
TribePlatycraniniBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
GenusOphicraniaKaup, 1871
Speciesnot yet identified 

 
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General Notes

  • preliminary identification by Oskar Conle
  • the taxonomic position of this species is subject to current research by Joachim Bresseel (Belgium). Results on this should be available soon and will also be published here
  • 2009 - first successful culture of this species by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2009 - this species has been distributed to some experienced breeders under the perliminary name  Ophicrania sp. "Negros"

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Origin

  • Jeffebeck Arimas has collected this species on Mt. Kanlaon and Mt. Mandalagan (two volcanic mountains in North-Negros, Philippines) in May 2008

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Females

  • very beautifully coloured phasmids - about 8 - 9 cm long
  • they have wings - which are not suitable for flying
  • they are also quite often active during the day

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Male

  • about 6 cm long
  • also very beautifully coloured
  • often they are on the back of a female
  • they can fly for a short distance, but they do this very rarely
  • though they change the females from time to time

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Eggs

  • about 7 x 2 mm
  • dark brown
  • eggs shaped typically for this genus

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Food Plants

  • their natural food plants are not known
  • they feed on Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (Golden Cane Palm, Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm), Howea forestiana (Kentia Palm, Thach Palm), Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm, Chinese Windmill Palm)
  • most probably they accept other palm species too
  • only Chrysalidocarpus lutescens has been accepted by the first generation as an alternative food plant
  • cut away the edges of the leaves for the freshly hatched nymphs (which is no more necessary for older nymphs or adult specimens)
  • other Ophicrania species are known to feed on reed and bamboo (Joachim Bresseel, pers. communication) and other palm species (Thierry Heitzmann, pers. communication)

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Defensive Behaviour

  • both males and females dry to drop to the ground or try to crawl away - when they feel threatened
  • they can eject a white defensive fluid from glands just behind their heads. Most probably this fluid is irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes. Therefore some basic caution is needed when handling this species

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Breeding Notes

  • if you have their food plant, then it is an easy species to breed
  • inkubation of the eggs on damp (not too wet) sand, with springtails to reduce mould growth
  • incubation time at room temperatures (20 - 23°C) is about 4 months
  • hatching ratio of my first generation was high (more than 90 %)
  • 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 bottom of the cage helps raising humidity
  • nymphs and adults can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cage)
  • 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 the adult moult, do not find places in the cage which would not offer them enough room beneath to moult successfully
  • male will be adult after about 3,5 months (at room temperatures), females after 4,5 months
  • females start to lay eggs after about 2 - 3 weeks
  • about 5 to 6 eggs per week
  • females try to stick the eggs into some medium (like soil, paper tissue)

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References

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

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direct link to category: sp. (Philippines, Negros Id.)