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Hisserdude

Large scale roly-poly die off?

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I have had a colony of roly polys for about two years, and they have reproduced a fair bit. For a month or two I have had an extremely large die off in my colony, more than half of them have died. I have changed the substrate and have moved them to a new cage and nothing has changed. The seem to turn a pale grey color before they die. I do not think it's iridovirus because they are turning grey, not blue. I do not know what to do. Any tips? Thanks in advance?

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If it is A. vulgare they do that if they don't get enough food or moisture for too long then you just have to do your best and hope some survive.

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Yep they are A. vulgare. They seem to have stopped dying at the moment. Thanks for the help guys!

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Are you giving them some calcium? It is very important in any Crustacean/Millipede diet, to help them build their exoskeleton. I do not think that a lack of it is the cause of death, though.

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No I am not giving them calcium. What would you suggest giving them for calcium? The dying has pretty much stopped now. Thanks for the help! :D

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Any form of calcium should work. I use cuttlefish bones that you can find on the beach, grind them to powder and put some on a dish for the arthropods to consume every now and then. They do not need too much of this stuff (half a tea spoon takes up to 4-5 months to vanish), but they benefit from it.
Other calcium sources can be calcium pellets (for 4-legged pets), or those for pet birds. It is important to crush or grind it to powder to assist in intake by the arthropods.

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Thanks! I also am getting Orin's new book about isopods for Xmas. What types of isopods do you keep wizentrop? Thanks!

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You know, that's actually a good question. I have no idea!
I found these isopods when I was collecting decomposing wood for beetles, and decided to keep some aside for cultivation as a senitary crew for other arthropods. They are relatively small and orange, and local (to Ontario, Canada. I am sure they are also found in the US).
I never got to properly ID them, but they look like they belong to Genus Haplophthalmus.
I will try to post a photo when I can.

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Any form of calcium should work. I use cuttlefish bones that you can find on the beach, grind them to powder and put some on a dish for the arthropods to consume every now and then. They do not need too much of this stuff (half a tea spoon takes up to 4-5 months to vanish), but they benefit from it.

Other calcium sources can be calcium pellets (for 4-legged pets), or those for pet birds. It is important to crush or grind it to powder to assist in intake by the arthropods.

Just a quick tip:

 

When I once had a Narceus americanus milliipede, I used a form of powdered calcium which is made as a supplement for reptiles. I think it was "Jurassi Cal" or something like that. It comes already pre-powderized and I just sprinkled it on the veggies and fruits that I was feeding my millipede. Anyway, I was just thinking that that might be easier than grinding up cuttlefish bones and/or calcium pellets.

 

Cheers

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Can't wait to see them wizentrop!

Thanks bill, I will look into it!

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I just realized I had a photo of them from some time ago. Not the best pic, but you get the idea -

 

uw4d.jpg

 

They are about 5-7mm in length, so very small. The two red dots on the right side of the photo are predatory mites!
Hopefully I didn't take over this thread... Sorry if I did.

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No wIzentrop, you have been nothing but helpful. These isopods are cute lol. Do the predatory mites eat your isopods? Or do they eat grain mites?

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Oh no, the predatory mites are a part of the "senitary crew". They feed mainly on parasitic mites, and occasionally on baby Collembola (springtails). They always take care of bad mite infestations that occur in my millipedes enclosures (my fault, I sometimes put too much food for the milli's). I used them for a similar purpose in flower beetles' enclosures in the past.

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Cool, where can you buy these Predatory mites? I get grain mite explosions often in my ground beetle cages, even if I feed them in bowls, and replace the food every other day!

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I never bought the predatory mites. They sort of spontaneously appeared in one of my Cetoniinae enclosures back in 2005. I think they got there with one of the decomposing wood pieces I put for the larvae (I did not treat the wood at the time), found food (parasitic mites and collembola) and increased their numbers. Since then I am keeping at least one container dedicated to them. They seem to do best in containers housing millipedes, so at the moment I keep my mite colony with a small local species of millipedes (which are also food for my Phengodidae). But woodlice enclosure would work just as well. They also like housing conditions a bit on the dry side.

By the way, you can start a similar mite colony any time. Predatory mites are very common in decomposing wood. You will recognize them by being oval, orange or red in color, with relatively long legs (especially the first pair which is used like antennae). Also, they are fast and DO NOT STOP. If you see a mite that is constantly in motion, running around, this is a predatory mite. The parasitic mites move super slow and are more sedentary. The only trick is to collect enough mites to start a stable colony.

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[...] Also, they are fast and DO NOT STOP. If you see a mite that is constantly in motion, running around, this is a predatory mite. The parasitic mites move super slow and are more sedentary. [...]

 

Aargh! I had a colony of those mites last year and thought they were parasitic mites, so I killed them off by throwing the substrate in the oven and cleaning the cages. I sure wish I would have known they were *good* mites!

 

Oh well. Live and learn.

 

Thank's for the info, Wizentrop. Next time, I won't be so quick to just freak out and kill any mites I see. LOL

 

Cheers

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Thanks I will look for these mites, it sounds like a fun project! :)

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