Parectatosoma cf. hystrix  "Moramanga"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

General Notes

  • unfortunately this culture has been "identified" and distributed at first by the orginal breeder as "Parectatosoma hystrix". Even though this breeder had no taxonomic expertise at all. Then the expert for the Madagascan phasmid fauna, Nicolas Cliquennois, examined some specimens, and he concluded that this population from Moramanga will most likely be described as a new species (Nicolas Cliquennois, Madagascar, pers. com.) ! Therefore I have named this culture as Parectatosoma cf. hystrix "Moramanga". The "damage" with the wrong name/ID was already done, but to make it clear that there are doubts that this population is conspecific with Parectatosoma hystrix.
    This example shows how careful and meticulous serious breeders need to be when naming their cultures
  • The acronym „cf.“ in Parectatosoma cf. hystrix "Moramanga" stands for „confer“ and can loosely be translated as „similar to“ or  „looks like“

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Culture History

  • 2011 – first  successful culture by Thorsten Thron (Germany)
  • 2012 – distributed to other breeders as Parectatosoma cf. hystrix "Moramanga"

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Origin

  • Thorsten Thron received eggs from Madagascar
  • Bruno Kneubuehler got in contact with the Thorsten Thron's collector in Madagascar, and he confirmed that the original specimens have been collected in area of Moramanga (East Madagascar)

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Females

  • very spiny and colorful phasmids
  • about 8.5 - 9.5 cm
  • females are very similarly colored amongst each other
  • velvet-black basic color with white patterns
  • many big red spines all over the upper body
  • only few spines on the lower body side
  • numerous reddish spines on the legs (femur mainly)
  • spines on the mesothorax and head are especially big
  • green eyes
  • antennae black-white annulated
  • forewings are very small and do not cover the hindwings
  • short, black-white hindwings, their membranous part is bright red
  • subgenital plate is longer than the abdominal ending
  • the area apicalis (a taxonomical criterion) is well visible on the inner side of the tibias (see photos)

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Males

  • also very spiny and colorful phasmids
  • about 6 - 6.5 cm
  • coloration and spination as in females
  • dark, almost black lower body side with brown patterns

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Nymphs

  • about 18 mm long (L1)
  • green-black mottled
  • older nymphs are mostly brown, with reddish spines
  • even freshly hatched nymphs have spines on the head
  • for frehly hatched nymphs L3 it is easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)

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Eggs

  • about 4 x 3 mm
  • black-brown with grey pattern
  • elongate-oval
  • surface slightly glossy and coarse
  • distinct capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • micropylar plate is elongate, thin and with a dark mid stripe

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Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults (make sure that you always cut away the leaf edges for the young nymphs, and change the plants regularly)
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • Hypericum (Hypericum spp.)
    is successfully used by other breeders
  • Eucalyptus
    is very well accepted  (info Andreas Rolke, Germany)
  • birch (Betula)
    is well accepted by nymphs and adults  (info Andreas Rolke, Germany)
  • hazel (Corylus avellana)
    is well accepted  (info Andreas Rolke, Germany)
     
  • if they can choose they prefere:
    Hypericum over Salal over bramble

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Behaviour

  • nymphs as well as adult are passive during the day and are out and about feeding at night
  • at times, adult males can also be active during the day
  • adult males and females can secret a white liquid from glands on their prothorax (just behind the head). This defensive liquid might be irritating to mucous membranes !
  • when feeling threatened, then adults open up their hindwings with a rustlig noise and display the red membranous part (defense reaction)
  • matings occur often, males do not stay with the same female for a longer time
  • females stick their eggs into some substrate on the floor (like dry sand, from which it is easy to sieve out the eggs)

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 4 – 6 months (this is just an approximate specification, as the date when the eggs have been laid was not known)
  • 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 was high (> 40%)
  • males will be adult after about 2.5 – 3 - months (at 20 – 23°C), females after 4 – 5 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 4 – 5
  • about 10 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
  • it is highly recommend to keep the nymphs seperate from the adults, which 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
  • if nymphs are kept too humid, then the mortality rate seems to increase
  • a humidity level of about 60+ % rH (for adults) and 70+ %  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 30 cm should be provided for 2 – 3 adult couples
  • generally I advise to keep different phasmid species seperately (unfortunately, overcrowed cages are still too common …)
  • nymphs in L1 – L2 can be sprayed with (chlorine-free!) water about twice a week. But the water should dry up within a few hours (cages needs a good ventilation)
  • not needed to spray older nymphs and adults
  • 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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