Phryganistria tamdaoensis "Tam Dao"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
TirbeClitumninaeBrunner v. Wattenwyl, 1893
GenusPhryganistriaStål, 1875
SpeciesPhryganistria tamdaoensisBresseel, Constant, 2014


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General Notes

  • 2014 - described as Phryganistria tamdaoensis by J. Bresseel and J. Constant
     
  • the genus Phryganistria has been set up by Stål in 1875
  • type species for the genus is Phryganistria virgea (= Bacteria sarmentosa Westwood 1848)
  • some other Phryganistria species are in culture too – Ph. heusii, Ph. bachmaensis, Phyrganistria sp. "Da Krong"
  • the herewith presented Phryganistria tamdaoensis „Tam Dao“ is congeneric with Phryganistria tamdaoensis „Da Krong“ - but  males of both cultures are very much different in color

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Culture History

  • 2012 - first successful culture by Joachim Bresseel (Belgium)
  • 2012 – distributed to other breeders as Phryganistria sp. „Tam Dao“
  • 2014 - this culture is not called Phryganistria tamdaoensis "Tam Dao"

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Origin

  • Joachim Bresseel (Belgium) and Jérôme Constant (RBINS) collected this species in July 2011 in Da Krong,  Vietnam (No. 85, „Phryganistria sp. cerci“, Vietnam 2011)

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Females

  • very long and sturdy phasmids
  • about 22 – 23 cm long
  • brown mottled basic color
  • lower body side green-brown
  • legs with a turquoise line
  • an orange line alongside the meso- and metathorax (laterally)
  • numerous big, reddish-brown, black-tiped spines on the legs
  • very long cerci
  • short antennae
  • 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
  • subgenital plate is about as long as the abdominal ending

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Males

  • very long, sturdy and colorful phasmids
  • about 18 – 19 cm long
  • beige head an prothorax
  • meso- and metathorax blue (dorsally)
  • a black line alongside meso- and metathorax (laterally)
  • olive-brown abdomen (dorsally)
  • lower body side green
  • legs (especially mid- and hindlegs) with red and turquoise lines
  • mid- and hindlegs with numerous, big and black spines
  • short antennae

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Nymphs

  • very similar to nymphs of other Phryganistria species
  • about 25 mm (L1)
  • green (L1)
  • very short antennae
  • it is easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye) with freshly hatched nymphs

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Eggs

  • eggs are quite similar to those of Phryganistria sp. “Da Krong”, but slighly bigger
  • about 6 x 4 mm
  • dark olive-brown
  • elongate-oval
  • smooth, glossy surface
  • distinct capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • micropylar plate elongat and dark brown framed

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Food Plants

  • it is very much recommendede to cut away the edges of the leaves for nymphs in L1 and L2
  • do regularly change the plants and the water in which they stand
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • beech (Fagus sylvatica)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults

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Behaviour

  • in all stages they let themselves drop to the ground very quickly. Thus one should be careful when handling them
  • especially nymphs, but also adult male, severe their legs VERY easily, especially when hold or even lifted by their leg(s)
  • nymphs as well as adult are passive during the day and are out and about feeding at night
  • nymphs and adults often react frantically when they feel threatened (like when they are touched). They drop down, wriggle about and freeze again after a few steps
  • matings occur often and males can stay with the same female for some days
  • a defensive spray has not been observed
  • females fling the eggs away - with a swing of the abodmen

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Developement

  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 4 - 6 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 was very high (> 50%)
  • males and females will be adult after about 3.5 months (at 20 – 23°C)
  • females start laying eggs after about 2 – 3 weeks
  • about 30 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 very easy to breed this species, it just needs a spacious cage
  • as the freshly hatched nymphs are already quite big, the incubation container must be big enough
  • 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 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 like Faunarium)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • small nymphs (L1, L2) can be sprayed with (chlorine-free) water about 1 – 2 times a week
  • it is not needed to spray older nymphs, adults or their cage (if humidity does not drop too low)
  • an airy cage of at least 60 x 40 x 40 cm should be provided for 2 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)
  • Joachim Bresseel, Jérôme Constant. 2014. Giant Sticks from Vietnam and China, with three new taxa including the second longest insect known to date (Phasmatodea, Phasmatidae, Clitumninae, Pharnaciini). European Journal of Entomology No. 104 (2014):
    http://www.europeanjournaloftaxonomy.eu/index.php/ejt/article/view/226

 

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