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Interesting local millipede (Petaserpes sp.0

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by davehuth, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. davehuth

    davehuth Arachnosquire

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    @Elytra and Antenna was kind enough to ID this local (NY state, USA) wild millipede as Petaserpes species. I think based on my location it's likely Petaserpes cryptocephalus. I'm determined to collect and try to keep them once the snow melts away. Information on the genus is very hard to find, so if anyone has any experience, or advice about how to proceed, I'd be very grateful. ...[ @ErinM31 you seem to be some kind of genius when it comes to figuring out new husbandry methods for native US species. Any advice for how to get started?]
     
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  2. LawnShrimp

    LawnShrimp Arachnoangel

    Polyzoniids are confusing as they have sucking mouthparts. Little is known about them in the scientific community and even less in the hobby. I suppose you could offer standard millipede care and also live mosses and plants to eat.
     
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  3. davehuth

    davehuth Arachnosquire

    This is fascinating. Thanks so much for this information. I see I have research to do before attempting keeping this genus. Keeping live plants with them could be challenging, as I'd like to start with local temperate species rather than tropical houseplants. Though mosses might be easier? I keep a couple species of hemiptera each winter on pieces of fruit, I wonder if that would appeal to Petaserpes as well? I won't give this a try until I have a plan, I really appreciate your input. Thanks!
     
  4. davehuth

    davehuth Arachnosquire

    Since beginning this thread, I've collected about 2 dozen Polyzoniid millipedes and have been researching all I can. I'm keeping them on a standard (home made, unsterilized) millipede/isopod substrate heavy in decaying wood and leaves, and keep a sampling of bark, lichen, fungus, and mosses on the surface. The millipedes became more active and visible when I began keeping the enclosure more damp, and they've found each other to cluster together as they often do in the wild. Each day I try 1 or 2 new supplemental foods to try to find anything to which they give special attention. I can confirm that females curl around and brood over egg clusters, though it's doubtful to me that this is a result of mating that took place in the 3 weeks since I've been keeping them (I assume I simply collected an already gravid female). I keep the enclosure on the cool side of room temperature (67 to 71 F).

    I'd appreciate any input or suggestions anyone would like to share.

    The below photos don't give quite the impression that these animals make to the eye. The cross polarization of my photographic method seems to over-emphasize the surface and textural structures of the body. To the eye, this species is much more evenly creamy pale colored and smooth looking. Soon I'll post images taken without the polarizing filters.

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  5. LawnShrimp

    LawnShrimp Arachnoangel

    These are adorable! The moss/liverwort/agal mat in the first picture looks like a good feeding spot. It seems to me that you are doing a good job of keeping these so far.
     
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  6. davehuth

    davehuth Arachnosquire

    Thanks! They move about quite a bit, and I think they hold their bodies up off the ground so they can motor along faster than you'd think. The largest of them is about a half inch long, so if I can keep them going they might fill a niche in the hobby something like a smallish, unusual isopod. I'll update here as things develop (or fall apart!).
     
  7. coniontises

    coniontises Arachnosquire

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    I like the tiny head and plumpness.

    Generic protocol for dealing with poorly-studied invertebrates:

    1: look up ecology (or even better, captive rearing) of species on sites like Researchgate. The jargon may intimidate, but it’s worth it. I actually read research papers for fun sometimes

    2: If failed, look up genus. Except for genera where each caterpillar eats a different host, care is usually nearly identical for all members of a genus

    3: If failed, look up family. This still has a very good chance of success


    Carefully observing the animal in its wild habitat is also a useful tool. If even this fails, you are stuck with blind trial and error and have a good chance of killing your specimen
     
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  8. coniontises

    coniontises Arachnosquire

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    Oh, and also give animals plenty of choices. That way, they can move to a dry area if too wet, avoid eating unsuitable food, and so on
     
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  9. ErinM31

    ErinM31 Arachnoprince Active Member

    Oh! Another mention that I missed! :bag: I REALLY wish there was a way to set Arachnoboards to send me e-mail notifications! March was a crazy month, but I shall endeavor to check the boards more regularly! :writer:

    Thank you for the compliment but you give me too much credit! :shy: When I have had success it has been based on combing the boards for what hasn’t worked and what might work and any information on the millipedes’ natural habitat and lifecycle. Since you are collecting these millipedes yourself, you have the opportunity to make these crucial observations! :writer:

    For all such millipedes I would recommend trying to replicate the microhabitat you found them in, including local plant debris, and noting approximate moisture levels and temperature.

    It is true that I have kept several of the notoriously difficult Xystodesmids for many months by keeping them them at cool temperature (18C) in a wine cooler, but then almost invertebrates will live longer under such conditions — now whether or not they will reproduce, ah, now there’s the difficulty! Likely many of these species will require some environmental cue — cool temperature followed by warmer or wet season followed by dry — to induce reproduction.