Phryganistria bachmaensis "Bach Ma"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)  
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
SubfamilyClitumninaeBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
GenusPhryganistriaStål, 1875
SpeciesPhryganistria bachmaensis
Ta Huy Thinh, 2004

 

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General Notes

  • type species for the genus Phryganistria is Bacteria virgea Westwood, 1848 (= Bacteria sarmentosa Westwood, 1848)
  • Stål established Phryganistria for Bacteria sarmentosa Westwood, 1848 and some other species
  • at the moment (2012) there are 5 different Phryganistria cultures in Europe which should be kept seperate:
    • Phryganistria bachmaensis "Bach Ma"
    • Phryganistria heusii (first bred by Peter Heusi from Switzerland, they originate from Cuc Phuong; with up to 25 cm these males are the longest known males amongst insects)
    • Phryganistria heusii "Tam Dao" (collected by Joachim Bresseel in 2011, there might be differences to the culture from Cuc Phuong)
    • Phryganistria sp. "Da Krong" (this seems to be the same species as Phryganistria sp. "Tam Dao", but differently colored)
    • Phryganistria sp. "Tam Dao" (this seems to be the same species as Phryganistria sp. "Da Krong", but differently colored)

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Culture History

  • 2012 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2012 - this species has been distributed as Phryganistria bachmaensis „Bach Ma“

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Origin

  • Joachim Bresseel (Belgium) and Jérôme Constant (RBINS) collected this species in July 2011 in Bach Ma,  Vietnam (No. 31, "Phryganistria bachmaensis", Vietnam 2011)

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Females

  • very big and nicely colored phasmids
  • about 26 – 29 cm long
  • coloration amongst females is very consistent (F1)
  • body dorsally light brown
  • body ventrally green
  • white line alongside the body
  • dark line alongside the mesothorax (which is best visible when they have recently fed)
  • all legs with many, big spines
  • antennae shorter than forelegs
  • long subgenital plate
  • praeopercular organ (the structure at the ventral end of the 7th abdominal segment, which serves as an anchorage for the male during mating) is very well developed
  • no wings

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Males

  • very beautifully colored and big males
  • about 20 – 21 cm long
  • coloration is consistent amongst males (F1)
  • head light brown with dark markings
  • antennae shorter than forelegs
  • meso- and metathorax red-brown
  • abdomen brown
  • white-black markings alongside the abdomen
  • mid- and hindlegs green-brown, with numerous big, red-brown spines
  • forelegs black-brown, with numerous spines
  • no wings
  • long cerci

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Nymphs

  • about 24 mm long (L1) with long legs
  • very beautiful, contrasty coloration (L1)
  • short antennae (L1)
  • by L3 nymphs loose their contrasty coloration and then they are strongly green
  • in L1 it is already easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ by the naked eye (see photos on the right)
  • by L4 have a distinctly bigger, black expansion laterally on the 7th abdominal segment than the males

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Eggs

  • big eggs
  • about 5 x 3.5 mm
  • brown
  • oval
  • matt
  • big capitulum on the operculum (lid)
  • micropylar plate big and drop-like

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Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus sp.)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • beech (Fagus sylvatica)
    is very well accepted by older nymphs and adults (not tested on freshly hatched nymphs)
  • hazelnut (Corylus avellana)
    is very well accepted by older nymphs and adults (not tested on freshly hatched nymphs)
  • raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
    is very well accepted by older nymphs and adults (not tested on freshly hatched nymphs)
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    is very well accepted by older nymphs and adults (not tested on freshly hatched nymphs)
  • oak (Quercus cf rubor)
    is very well accepted by older nymphs and adults (not tested on freshly hatched nymphs)

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Behaviour

  • one has to be very careful when handling nymphs, as they tend to loose their legs quite easily
  • nymphs and adults behave quite frantically when being touched
  • main activity is during the night
  • a defensive spray has not been observed
  • matings are frequent and couples might stay together for 1 – 2 days

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 5 - 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
  • hatching ratio in F1 was very high (> 50%)
  • 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 – 4 weeks
  • eggs are flinged away - with a swing of the abodmen
  • about 30 – 40 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
  • as the freshly hatched nymphs are already quite big, therefore the incubation container should be big enough
  • I recommend to keep nymphs seperate from the adults. This allows much better to monitor the wellbeing  of the nymphs, and nymphs are disturbed 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 big Faunabox (or similar cages like Faunarium)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of 90 x 40 x 40 cm should be provided for 2 adult couples of this species (or considerably larger if the cage also contains other species !)
  • generally I advise 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. This is especially true for the big females when they make their last moult

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References

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



 

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