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Alobates pensylvanica care?

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I can't find much information on these beetles, but they look interesting. I caught three yesterday in a rotten log, and I wanted to know if it was possible to breed them. I saw that Lucanus started a thread on these a long time ago, but it looks like he hasn't been on the forum in a while. Anyone know about their care in captivity? I currently have them in the fridge hibernating to give me a bit more time to figure out how to care for them. 

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I was able to get adults to oviposit when kept in an enclosure with lots of bark and a moist substrate of crushed, rotten hardwood, but unfortunately I was never able to rear any larvae to adulthood, they all died off one by one. I don't know if it was cannibalism, an improper diet, improper humidity levels, or just an improper setup, (I think they may need to bore into large chunks of wood rather than live in a mix of pre-crushed substrate).

The adults lived for about a year, seems like they barely ate grain based foods at all, almost looked like they were gnawing on the bark, perhaps feedings on lichens or mosses? Overall they were not an easy species to keep or breed, I think adults probably have a specific diet of lichens, mosses and fungi in the wild, and larvae probably need to be kept isolated in large, moist pieces of rotten wood, yet they do seem to need access to protein to survive. 

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I’ve read that both life stages are predatory, likely on termites? I’ve found larvae before, and only in moist logs with plenty of other life inside

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Supposedly they are predatory but I couldn't get my adults nor my larvae to accept any prey items I offered them in captivity. Perhaps they just have very specific tastes when it comes to what invertebrates they'll prey on... 

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Maybe, I guess good luck importing eastern termites lol (that’s the only thing I could possibly imagine them preying upon, they just seem way too soft)

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One of my friends fed an Alobates adult a scarab grub.

 

Despite being a slow, vulnerable animal, the grub was unharmed; one would expect grubs to be a favorite of predatory slow-moving forest beetles (after all, lucanids enjoy chewing them up)

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Just keeping this thread alive. I’ve collected 15+ this weekend and will be keeping and trying to breed them. @Hisserdude‘s blog is always helpful to me when looking for a place to begin (thanks man!) http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/search/label/Alobates pensylvanica?m=1

If I can figure out how to sex them reliably I have enough for two enclosures with slightly different conditions. I’m really glad to hear the adults may live a year. 

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On 5/27/2019 at 2:59 PM, davehuth said:

Just keeping this thread alive. I’ve collected 15+ this weekend and will be keeping and trying to breed them. @Hisserdude‘s blog is always helpful to me when looking for a place to begin (thanks man!) http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/search/label/Alobates pensylvanica?m=1

If I can figure out how to sex them reliably I have enough for two enclosures with slightly different conditions. I’m really glad to hear the adults may live a year. 

Good luck, was able to get mine to lay eggs, but the larvae didn't do so well, couldn't get any close to maturity... Still not sure quite why, probably several aspects of my husbandry were incorrect. The adults were a lot hardier, but even then I couldn't really tell what their preffered foods were... 

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3 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

 The adults were a lot hardier, but even then I couldn't really tell what their preffered foods were... 

Mine does fine on my regular darkling diet - dog food, apple, banana, and carrot.

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On 6/1/2019 at 11:24 PM, All About Arthropods said:

Mine does fine on my regular darkling diet - dog food, apple, banana, and carrot.

Good to know, to be honest I can't remember if I gave mine fruits or not! 

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I thought I'd post an update after a month of keeping these beetles.

I collected about 20 of them after dark, crawling over the surface of dry rotting timbers of a collapsed barn (certainly more than 100 years old).

I set them up in a 17 quart plastic tub with low ventilation, and tried to include just about anything they might possibly need – an ample substrate of damp rotting wood and leaves, rotting hardwood pieces, slabs of lichen and fungus covered bark. There's a slight vertical humidity gradient, as a layer of sphagnum below the substrate keeps it damp below, but as the wood and bark pieces stack upward I keep them dry at the top.

I haven't seen them eat any food I supplied. I've tried dog food, cat food, carrot, apple, various fungus/lichens, lettuce, fish pellets, squash. I've put in small soft bodied invertebrates in case they are predatory as I've read in a few places (springtails, dwarf tomentosa isopods, baby scaber isopods, chopped earthworms, mealworms (living and dead), fungus gnat larvae, a couple small long-horned beetle larvae). I haven't seen them eat, and I almost never see them moving about in any numbers (just 1 or 2 after dark most nights).

It appears they're putting most of their energy into chewing into the rotten wood pieces in their enclosure. As far as I can tell, they're all boring through the chunks and spend most of their time there.

I don't know what this means. Maybe they're eating the wood? Of maybe they're desperately searching for the food they need which is typically found within wood? 

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to reply. Thanks!

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When suitable food is available 24/7, it is often very difficult to see healthy tenebs feeding on it

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On 6/17/2019 at 7:38 AM, davehuth said:

It appears they're putting most of their energy into chewing into the rotten wood pieces in their enclosure. As far as I can tell, they're all boring through the chunks and spend most of their time there.

Weird, mine seemed to spend a lot of time chewing into the bark in their enclosure, but they didn't really seem to be eating it, just chewing...

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