Xenophasmina sp. "Tam Dao"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
SubfamilyXeroderinaeGünther, 1953
TribeXeroderiniGünther, 1953
GenusXenophasminaUvarov, 1940
Species(not yet identified)
 

  
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General Notes

  • Etymologie – the word root xeno- / xen- is from ancient Greek ξένος (xénos, "foreign, of a stranger"). And the word root phasm- is from Ancient Greek φάσμα (apparition; phantom). So a casual translation of Xenophasmina is „foreign, strange phantom“
  • the genus Xenophasmina has been set up by Uvarov in 1940, and Xenophasma Redtenbacher, 1908 is a synonym
  • at the moment (2013) there are 2 valid species in the genus Xenophasmina
  • Xenophasmina sp. „Tam Dao“ might have already been described as Raphiderus bedoti Redtenbacher, 1908 (Joachim Bresseel, Belgium – pers. comm.)
  • taxonomical aspects of this species are being examined by Joachim Bresseel (Belgium), and he will also publish his findings

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Culture History

  • 2012 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2012 – distributed to other breeders as  Xenophasmina sp. „Tam Dao“

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Origin

  • Joachim Bresseel (Belgium) and Jérôme Constant (RBINS, Belgium) found this species in July 2011 in the Tam Dao NP in Vietnam (No. 93, "Xenophasmina sp“, Vietnam, 2011)

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Females

  • knobby, medium sized phasmids
  • about 12.5 – 13.5 cm long
  • beige to brown colored
  • females are among each other very similarly colored
  • whole body (dorsally) granulated
  • especially on the head and thorax (dorsally) numerous small, green warts
  • dark eyes
  • brown antennae are a bit longer than the forelegs
  • forelegs broadened
  • proximal area of all legs reddish-green
  • legs blotty colored (ventrally)
  • no wings
  • subgenital plate clearly overlaps the abdomen ending
  • long and broad cerci
  • 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

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Males

  • colorful phasmids
  • beige head
  • orange-brown antennae, which are a bit longer than the forelegs
  • green legs with brown knees and tarsi
  • pro- and mesothorax orange with a turquoise-blue patterning
  • metathorax  slightly orange with a turquoise-blue pattering
  • beige abdomen
  • darker brown abdomenal ending
  • lobe-like expansions all the final abdomen segments (laterally)
  • long cerci

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Nymphs

  • about (L1)
  • quite hairy (L1)
  • dark brown marmorate
  • antennae much shorter than forelegs
  • older nymphs have lobe-like expansions on all legs (see Behaviour)
  • by L4 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)

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Eggs

  • typically shaped for the genus
  • irregular bulges and asymmetrically shaped
  • about 4.5 x 2.5 mm
  • variable coloration – beige, brown, orange-brown or greenish-brown
  • matt
  • surface strongly sulcate
  • big capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • sometimes the capitulum is split
  • micropylar plate small and arrow-like, in the hind part

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Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
    is very well older nymphs and adults (not tested with freshly hatched nymphs)
  • cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
    is moderatly accepted by adults (not tested with nymphs)
  • hazelnut (Corylus avellana)
    is very well accepted by adults (not tested with nymphs)
  • Guava (Psidium guajava)
    well accepted by nymphs and adults    (info Pedro Alvaro Barbosa Neves)
  • Eugenia uniflora    (info Victor Morais Ghirotto)
  • if given the choice, then they prefer hazelnut over bramble

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Behaviour

  • eggs of this species are very prone to the Dwarf-Syndrom. This often happens when there are too many nymphs hatching at the same time in a small incubation container
  • also nymphs of this Xenophasmina species have marvellous camouflage abilities
  • older nymphs (by L3) have many lobe-like expansions on all their legs, and their whole body is rather flat. During the day, they huddle thighly against the substrate on which they rest. They prefer thin twigs, e.g. fir twigs, as they will not become mouldy even in rather humid conditions. In their resting position, on a twig which maches their color somewhat, they are virtually invisible from even a short distance
  • here is a short time-lapse video, which show what happens in the cage just after the lights go out (but these are Xenophasmina simile "Chiang Mai" nymphs !). The whole video in real time would be about 70 minutes
  • adult specimens do no more have this camouflage. Even though especially adult females still try to huddle to a (thicker) twig, their rather big body sells them out. And the males are quite colorful and thus even less camouflaged
  • adults can behave quite hectically when they feel threatened, they drop to the ground and / or may try to crawl away
  • matings are frequent and males can stay with the same female for some days
  • females fling the eggs way 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 – 3.5 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 was very high (> 50%)
  • males will be adult after about 4 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 4 – 4.5 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 3 weeks
  • about 30 – 35  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
  • I 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 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
  • a cage of at least 30 x 30 x 30 cm should be provided for 3 – 4 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 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)

 

  • Comments
A beautiful species and the master in camouflage!

Posted on 4/3/13 9:55 AM.

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