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Shade of Eclipse

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About Shade of Eclipse

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    Mantids, beetles, cockroaches, Lepidopterans, and other insects, Arachnids, carnivorous plants, and dendrobatids.

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  1. Shade of Eclipse

    C gloriosa emerged

    I would provide them with Juniper cuttings now if they've already come up to the surface. They'll eat a lot of it if they're ready to start feeding. They prefer the tender, new growth. When I kept them, most of mine perished in the late third instar before they made pupal cells and then it looked like some more had died in the process of ecdysing into a pupa when I checked on the ones that did not emerge. None of the ones that failed to emerge had died as pupae.
  2. Shade of Eclipse

    Thoughts on new layout?

    I'm having issues logging in. It'll tell me my username or password are invalid, and the only way to log in is by going through the password change prompt that logs you in after the change.
  3. Shade of Eclipse

    Need help identifying giant Grasshopper/Katydid

    Maybe Schistocerca americana?
  4. Shade of Eclipse

    Dobsonfly larvae

    The easiest thing I could think of doing is making a setup where water runs directly from the output of a filter through a series of separate containers in an aquarium before it flows in back into the aquarium and into the filter again. The aquarium would provide a larger volume of water for keeping the water chemistry stable. You could try having containers with holes floating in the aquarium or hanging on the sides, but the passive water exchange would be insufficient to keep the water quality and oxygen levels decent. It would also mean that if not manually removed, uneaten bits of prey would stay in the containers, decay, and cause the holes to clog partially or fully.
  5. Shade of Eclipse

    which beetle is this?

    Looks like Pelidnota punctata, the Grapevine Beetle.
  6. Shade of Eclipse

    Burnt plastic exposure

    Sorry, I was not suggesting dioxin poisoning, just giving an example of one of the nasty things released by burning plastics. I have no idea what you may have been exposed to, but even though it is listed as Polypropylene, you never know what other additives may have been included to make the lids or what residues may have been incorporated if it's made from recycled plastics. Burning Polypropylene itself releases Benzene. Among many possible additives are Phthalates which are used to make plastics more flexible and transparent. Phthalates are known to be antagonists to some receptors--such as those for cannabinoid compounds.
  7. Shade of Eclipse

    Burnt plastic exposure

    I've always been taught that many plastics can release extremely toxic compounds when burnt--some are worse than others depending on what type of plastic they're composed of. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrochloric acid should not be an issue if there is ventilation and if it's just small holes being burnt. Some of the other chemicals you can get from burning plastic are things like dioxins, that can cause long-term issues even in small amounts. I poke holes without heat by using sharp implements like fine forceps and that has worked well for me. In the case of thicker plastic, I use a blade from scissors and slowly twist to enlarge holes initially made by something sharper.
  8. Shade of Eclipse

    Manduca sexta

    They get slimy because they cover themselves in saliva and excess fluids. A container of coco fiber, piles of newspaper, or paper towel would work for allowing them to burrow and pupate into. In the lab, we place them into wooden blocks with holes drilled into them and cap them so they feel secure. The blocks are dark to mimic underground pupal chambers and also work well because they absorb excess moisture.
  9. Shade of Eclipse

    Manduca sexta

    Manduca sexta will eat all kinds of solanaceous plant material, but once they've eaten one that they prefer, they might not accept others. Are they wandering off the plant or are they just not feeding on it? If they are wandering off the plant and are late fifth instars, they may be looking for a place to pupate. If they aren't fifth instars and aren't wandering off the plant and are just not eating, they may be preparing to molt into another instar. The lab I work in keeps Manduca sexta and they're kept on an artificial diet that they'll accept as long as they're not provided with actual solanaceous leaves beforehand. I've reared them on tobacco, tomato, Datura, Solanum laciniatum, Solanum nigrum, and Solanum rantonnetii.
  10. Shade of Eclipse

    Looks like dung, smells like dung

    I became very familiar with that smell the first few times I tried to make substrate. It definitely got anaerobic--I suggest keeping things a little less wet if possible. It takes a whole day for the smell to get off your hands...
  11. Shade of Eclipse

    Rotted wood

    Yes, you want lower lignin content and higher cellulose content unless you're working with an organism that has gut symbionts that are capable of producing enzymes that can break down lignin. White rot fungi primarily digest lignin and leave behind most of the cellulose--that's why most beetle larvae can feed on it. The mycelium present also adds some nutrients as it is rich in protein. No multicellular animal is known to produce the enzymes required for the breakdown of lignin. Raw wood has cellulose that is covered in lignin--this is what makes raw wood difficult to digest. Too little microbial action and the lignin remains, locking away the cellulose and other nutrients from the larvae. Too much microbial action and the lignin is mostly gone and the cellulose and other nutrients have been freely accessible for extensive decomposition and it is no longer nutritious enough.
  12. Shade of Eclipse

    Rotted wood

    As white rot wood continues to decay, it darkens naturally as other organic materials build up. This darkening is not the same as brown-rot, but it is an indicator that the cellulose is being broken down more and organic waste and microbes building up. You can tell the difference between very dark, aged substrate versus high-lignin substrate that has almost no nutritional value for beetle larvae. Aged substrate will feel soft--kind of like wet, macerated newspaper and lignin-based substrates will always feel gritty. White rot wood was definitely not a great substrate for most rhinoceros beetles I've raised. I've kept some that seemed to like feeding on large chunks of white rot wood, but they did still have a substrate that was primarily leaf mold and heavily fermented saw dust. The color of the fermented wood is not a great indicator of readiness. I've had fermented substrate appear ready for use, but upon adding some boiling water to kill some pesky fungus gnats, most of the brown coloration washed away and I was left with sawdust that was nearly as light as what I had started with! Grinding it between my fingers showed that it was still mostly unfermented sawdust as it was still grainy with sharp edges instead of soft. The determination of whether or not substrate fermented by an amateur hobbyist such as ourselves is best done using multiple indicators such as color, smell, and most importantly, texture. From my experiences, it's unreliable to use just one indicator and I've had plenty of moments where I've found myself using substrate that was not quite ready yet. When in doubt, it's a good idea to try some substrate on just one of your larvae before switching them all if you have enough to spare one. The larvae will always let you know if the substrate is good or not--hopefully you notice before they perish!
  13. Shade of Eclipse

    Rotted wood

    Beetle larvae feed on cellulose and not on lignin. The darker wood is likely brown-rot and has had most of its cellulose removed, leaving behind mostly lignin. The lighter wood is probably white-rot and has most of its lignin removed, leaving behind mostly cellulose. Cellulose is soft when wet and lignin feels gritty when wet, so if you can't tell by looking at it, you can try pinching it and grinding it between your fingers to determine what it is.
  14. Shade of Eclipse

    Dung beetle diet

    Frass from detritus-feeding beetles is pretty much just lignin and other materials that they are incapable of digesting, so I highly doubt you'd be able to feed them with that. The digestion systems of vertebrates are really quite inefficient and lots of poorly-digested bits and pieces of food are left behind. There's quite a lot of cellulose, some fats, and very tough proteins in feces as well as an abundance of bacteria that can also be nutrients for things capable of digesting them. If it doesn't stink, attract detrivores, or decompose very quickly in moist environments, it's probably low in readily accessible nutrients!
  15. Shade of Eclipse

    Moneilema gigas care and housing?

    You can try taking some heavy duty wire mesh to make an enclosure put over a small cactus outdoors. It would be like rearing caterpillars on host plants in a net cage or a sleeve. You just need something heavy duty that the beetles can't chew through.