Blue death feigning beetle vivarium

indyana

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Location
Massachusetts, United States
Setting up a bioactive viv for some blue death feigning beetles.

I have four layers of substrate, mostly because I made a mix I didn't like and buried it, haha. Put a moister substrate in one corner to support other cleaners like isopods and springtails, some planted haworthia in the opposite corner, then left the rest with drier and sandier substrate for the beetles. Lots of cork bark features for climbing fun!




Materials
  • 10 gallon aquarium
  • Moist mix:
    • 1 part coir (like eco earth but rougher cut)
    • 1 part organic potting mix
    • 1 part play sand
  • Mid mix:
    • 1 part coir
    • 1 part organic potting mix
    • 1 part sand
  • Clay mix:
    • 2 parts play sand
    • 2 parts Excavator clay
    • 1 part organic potting mix
  • Top mix:
    • 1 part above clay mix
    • 2 parts play sand
  • Collected leaf litter and leaf mold (mostly oak)
  • Collected bugs (isopods, pill bugs, springtails, millipede)
  • Haworthia succulents
  • Haworthia potting mix:
    • 1 part organic cactus/succulent potting mix
    • 1 part horticultural pumice
  • Large aquarium gravel
  • Cork bark (tubes and various pieces)
 

indyana

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Massachusetts, United States
I'm moving in the one male I have left from my gecko environment, and I plan to buy a handful more this fall, just because I think they are wicked cool.

(Other two original females sadly drowned in gecko's water dish. These guys are NOT at all smart about water, but they are great climbers, which turned out to be a bad combination...)
 

indyana

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2,338
Location
Massachusetts, United States
Video of the tank at current. It's been colonized by booklice (psocids), which is great since springtails don't do fantastic in these setups outside of the humid sublayers. I have four beetles remaining still (one died of unknown causes last year), and I've been seeing a ton of mating this spring. No larva sightings yet though...

 
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indyana

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Location
Massachusetts, United States
Larva sighting yesterday! Must be doing something right... :)



Lost another adult beetle though; it developed a little hole on its back. Not sure if it was an injury or some sort of infection. Down to three adults. May have to order some more in the fall...
 

indyana

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2,338
Location
Massachusetts, United States
A few days later I got to see a much larger larva! This one has been making tunnels all throughout the moist substrate in that one corner, so I guess we know what type of environment the larva prefer. I had actually watered this past weekend, so I guess the humidity doesn't bother it.

 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
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Somerville, MA
That's really exciting. When I was looking into them it seems that no one had successfully bred them. I wonder if it was because the larvae need more humidity than the adults.

Aliza
 

indyana

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,338
Location
Massachusetts, United States
Did some maintenance on the vivarium. All but one of the original adults have died at this point, so I am getting some more to add. In preparation, I was burying some cork and carrots and recompressing the substrate.

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In doing so, I actually dug up the two large larvae from last year. Oops. I thought they were dead! I've put them into a smaller container on my gecko rack. If I'm lucky, maybe pupae...?
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Cincinnati Zoo did it successfully last year: https://www.nbc26.com/news/national/cincinnati-zoo-is-the-first-on-record-to-breed-the-blue-feigning-death-beetle
 
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