Friday, September 5, 2008

The Saga of Stumpy continues...

Stumpy has been confiscated by the authorities!!
Sort of.

When casually inquiring about how to rear Stumpy's brood, the bug expert at our local museum flipped out. He said that they have generally been considered unrearable, and no one has ever gotten them to lay eggs. After seeing the photo of one of Stumpy's larvae, and confirming for himself that they were actually iron clad larvae, he asked me to bring her in for observation.

The set-up is nothing out of the ordinary (although I like it a lot because I made it), with everything they normally put in there...

The food is similar too, although I use a lot of carrots, because she seems to eat them more than the other foods I've tried (mainly apples and cucumbers). Because it's so similar, there is no obvious reason why she should have felt comfortable enough to lay eggs... My hypothesis is that I put the enclosure in the sun for a couple of hours every other day, to give the plants sunlight. It makes the sand get pretty hot, but since she is a desert beetle I figured she could take it. Maybe the heat helped convince her to lay eggs, or at least helped the eggs hatch into larvae.

So, she will be in the bug guy's care for a week, and he is hoping to see the egg laying behaviour we observed, as well as find out if and what the larvae are feeding on... Of course now I am super nervous about getting the larvae to pupate!


Eric Heupel said...

You mind if I post a summary of your cool story along with the larval image to

Brine Queen said...

I don't mind... Just be aware that I am not sure if the scientific name I have for her is valid. ITIS has let me down, and I had to resort to the what's that bug website.

When I get her back, I am going to try for some shots of the eggs too.