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Blue Death Feigning Beetle Lost Color

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Nanchantress, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Nanchantress

    Nanchantress ArachnoFriend Arachnosupporter

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    One of my beetles has permanently lost his blue color. He is not wet. I have had him for a couple years at least, and he only lost his color about 3 months ago. Normal aging? Lack of UV rays? I don't think it is habitat related, though, because my other blue beetles housed with him are still blue. Any ideas? 20170318_194357.jpg
     
  2. RTTB

    RTTB Arachnoprince Active Member

    Getting them wet is the only thing I know that turns them black.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. arizonablue

    arizonablue Arachnosquire

    How strange! I have one beetle that has some color loss, but it isn't nearly as dark or over as much of the beetle as that. I have had blues die of old age (presumably old age, anyway) and they didn't have color loss. Perhaps a fungal or bacterial infection of some sort, or an injury that caused some sort of malfunction with how it produces the waxy coating that causes the blue color?
     
  4. Ranitomeya

    Ranitomeya Arachnoknight

    Did it get any oily substances on it? That would darken them by wetting the waxy surface and since it doesn't evaporate, it would stay dark.

    The white coloration is caused by a waxy substance they secrete. If the discoloration is not due to wetting by an oily substance, it's possible that there's something preventing it from renewing the wax coating.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Nanchantress

    Nanchantress ArachnoFriend Arachnosupporter

    Thank you all for these responses. I can't think of anything oily that might have been in their enclosure. They are fed carrots, zucchini, fish flakes, and crushed cat food. I'm wondering if I had lotion on my hand when I picked him up once to show someone? Or if he fell upside down in the water gel crystals and had a reaction to them? I wonder if the water gel crystals have an oily component to them. Maybe he is the only clumsy beetle I have that fell upside down on them...

    I think I will test these ideas on my other beetles and collect some data so we can all learn something from this. He shows no ill effects from the discoloration.

    I may place him in the sun today (expected to be sunny and 75 degrees F) and see if the UV rays cause him to start producing the coating. If it is an environmental cause rather than genetic or infection, it would be cool to figure this out.

    I'll keep you posted. Here's are pictures from a different angle. 20170319_094857.jpg 20170319_092031.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
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  6. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Good luck, it'll be interesting to hear what comes of this!
     
  7. soldierof4cheese

    soldierof4cheese Arachnoknight

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    I have read, that their blue color is from their own feces that they apply to themselves. I don't know how true it is but that is what I read and high humidity causes the blue to fade.
     
  8. Nanchantress

    Nanchantress ArachnoFriend Arachnosupporter

    After my 5 beetles spent all day in the sun, the darkest one does appear to be lightening after all. Maybe it takes them an extraordinarily long time to dry out after they get wet since he had been darker for several months. To test this, I have marked him with a dot of red nail polish, and then sprayed all 5 with water. I will see how long it takes them to dry out and see if he looks any different from the others at the end. I have also removed the water gel dish so nobody will accidentally fall in and skew the results. Pics of before and after spraying below: 20170324_072822.jpg 20170324_072910.jpg
     
  9. Nanchantress

    Nanchantress ArachnoFriend Arachnosupporter

    Only a couple weeks after spraying them and moving all to a new open-topped enclosure near a warm window, they are all light blue again. So my beetle who had been dark for months was wet after all. I think the old enclosure did not have enough air circulation and it was more humid than I imagined. Here is a pic of the beetle that was dark (marked with a dot of nail polish). Experiment concluded :) 20170405_180821.jpg