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Blue Death Feigning Beetles and torpor?


kkrose
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Edit- sorry, I think this should have been put in the health section. If admin wishes to move it, please do.

We have three BDFB. They've been doing great. They've all been extremely active and seem to be having a nice life in their habitat.

However. Our smallest beetle went to sleep in their faux croc skull many days ago, and that little dude has not been seen active since. I'd been watching when on day two, I'd noticed he hadn't been out and about or moved from that spot in over 24 hours, thinking he might have died.  I took a pic on the 4th day. I just checked my photo data, and that was one week ago. So he's been out cold for 11 days. Not moving at all. However- there are none of the usual signs of death. He looks asleep. Same color, no color loss or change at all. No legs in the air, just a cozy looking bug. Because I didn't see any obvious signs of death, I left him where he is. I did check to see if he'd move upon being picked up or moved, but there was no change. So I put him right back where he was, and have been watching. The other beetles sometimes sleep next to him, and have nudged him a bit, but they otherwise leave him alone and go about their business between their skull naps.

My first thought was that perhaps it's torpor because it's autumn? We are in the PNW, and though we keep their habitat very desert-like, with day and night heat lamps and a steady 90 degrees, I wonder if some instinct is telling the little one to rest. No idea, really. So we leave him be, and hope he makes his way back to the living... so to speak. I check him a few times a day, watching for signs of color change, but so far, nothing has shifted at all. I'll attach two pics. The first pic is from that fourth day, and the second pic is from today. In today's, you can see he's facing the side now, I think his tankmates moved him when they cozied up to sleep. The beetle in the background is asleep in the nose of the croc.  Both pics were taken through the hole in the back of the skull, so it's not as clear as I'd like, the phone keeps trying to focus on the skull. I check on this guy so often, my teenager is getting very annoyed, neither I or my kid has seen them move from this spot in 11 days. The other two have had zero changes, they're still active, eating, sleeping, and then active again.

Just wondering if he's in torpor. If he's dead, it doesn't look like any dead beetle I've ever read about. If he does die, will the other beetles eat him? Just curious.

 

20221002_003358 crop.jpg

20221007_204206 crop.jpg

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Flip him upside down, and see if he gets up. If he does, he is alive. If not, dead.

Your BDFBs cannot read a calendar, and if they are kept indoor with constant temperature, they cannot tell whether it is spring, summer, autumn, or winter.

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Ah, well then I guess the tiny little calendar I put inside their tank is pointless.
😛
I will flip him over and see what happens.

I would like to know, however, if he died, why the well-known turn-black-when-dead color change has not happened. And why his tank mates have not eaten him? I want to learn  everything I can about them.

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On 10/10/2022 at 12:30 AM, kkrose said:

I would like to know, however, if he died, why the well-known turn-black-when-dead color change has not happened. And why his tank mates have not eaten him? I want to learn  everything I can about them.

I don't know if they are cannibalistic of its own species, but I think they just cannot feed on them as they have very hard body. The reason they turn black is probably due to their body fluid comes out of it, covers the waxy layer (white-ish). I had few dead ones over hundreds I kept, and any freshly dead (actual dead) weren't so dark as any that was dead for over couple days.

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  • 4 weeks later...

When my blue death feigning beetles haven't moved in a while I will gently blow on them and see if they move or twitch. I would also look closely to see if the antenna are moving. you could take a time-lapse of him and see if his antenna twitch when it is sped up. If the beetle has been stationary for so long, but still has its color, I would be hesitant to assume it is dead. They have a very slow metabolism. I could also see trying to flip him over could be a method that may work. If you do flip him over, see if his legs extend onto the famous death feigning beetle position, if they do he is probably alive. I am sorry if my comment is too late. Don't give up hope! 

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^this is how I've tried to handle it. I will give them as long as it takes to make sure I don't accidentally assume one's dead when it's not.

The beetle in question finally turned black, and is definitely dead. He literally took weeks to turn black. A second laid down right next to him and seems to be following the same fate, but it's really difficult to tell because when I turn him over or nudge him, a leg or two moves, but I can't tell if it's a twitch or the movement itself doing it. sigh. So while this guy's likely dead, too, I'll leave him be for now.

Our third seems absolutely fine and is spry as ever.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am so sorry to hear that. BDF Beetles are wonderful and long lived. I guess they were just at the end of their lifespans. If you think your husbandry is off Aquarimax pets on youtube has some great videos on BDFBs and other desert beetles if you haven't seen them already, here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udtZlnfiI7o&list=PL8dHtCTLVfFNsrIMDwAVC5fncEXLTwIkD You can also purchase some more. Bugs in cyberspace is a really reputable vender: https://bugsincyberspace.com/ they have pretty good prices and lots of different species of desert beetles to house with them.  Good luck!

 

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