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Velvet Worm Vivarium - Epiperipatus barbadensis

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by AbraxasComplex, May 11, 2017.

  1. Bunyan van Asten

    Bunyan van Asten Arachnoknight

    Hey! We havr velvet worms in the netherlands too then! And by the way, that vivarium is absolutely amazing looking!!
  2. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    I think there's some clarifying in order here. There are two extant families of velvet worms: peripatidae and peripatopsidae. Peripatopsidae have what looks to me like a gondwanan distribution, primarily in temperate areas (mid-latitude Chile, South Africa, and New Zealand and southern Australia), with some species reaching north to the tropics in New Guinea and northern Australia, and probably some small islands. Peripatidae, to which Epiperipatus barbadensis belongs, has a laurasian distribution and is confined to the tropics. It's most widespread in the neotropics, but is also present in a small area in West Africa and a somewhat larger area in Southeast Asia. There are fossils elsewhere, of course, but they presumably date from when the climate in the area the fossils were found in was different (at least for the European fossils) and probably at a different latitude.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  3. dactylus

    dactylus Arachnobaron Old Timer

    What species are the "little silver" springtail species mentioned here? Not to distract from this thread which is fascinating, but I would like to obtain this species of springtail for potential cleanup crews in certain isopod enclosures.
  4. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince

    I don't think they've been identified beyond Entomobryomorpha, they are extremely common, most people have them pop up in their collection by accident, if you bring in unsterilized leaves or wood at any time, you'll almost certainly get some.

    Roachcrossing sells some here, pretty sure he's the only one who even bothers to sell them though. They aren't very prolific, and since they are so small, they aren't that useful in eating leftover food or dead roach bodies at all. They do help keep mold down though, and since they are so tiny, they don't bother even the smallest of Ectobiid roach nymphs.
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  5. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince

    Yup, I have them in basically every enclosure with moist substrate, and I never added them.
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  6. AbraxasComplex

    AbraxasComplex Arachnoprince Old Timer

    The two colonies are doing well with over a dozen babies and juveniles. A few of the largest adults have passed on since I last posted, but this could be age related.
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  7. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    Very nicely done! I bet the deaths are age related--you never know the age of wild caught adults anyway, and bigger ones have to be older.
    At this rate you'll soon have to give up your house--it will fill up with velvet worms.
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  8. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince

    AWESOME!!! :D Congrats man, seems like they are really thriving in your care!

    He can just buy a much bigger one, with the proceeds he'll get from selling his excess VWs! :p
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  9. Tenevanica

    Tenevanica Arachnodemon

    Someone do the math! If you filled up a standard sized house with VWs that sell for $100 a piece, how much more would the Onychophorans be worth than the house?
    • Funny Funny x 2
  10. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    Standard square footage is a little over 2000 ft, assuming velvet worms are 8" long and 1/3 of an inch wide, and assuming each story of a house is 10' tall, the gross from the velvet worms would be almost 117 million dollars (I didn't bother with real estate costs). But that doesn't take into account how much the price would go down with a flooded market, or the cost of the food (although it probably wouldn't add up to much in comparison).
    You thought you could make a joke, didn't you? And not be taken seriously? Ha!
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  11. Tenevanica

    Tenevanica Arachnodemon

    Oh no, I meant that totally seriously. I'm at dinner right now, and I was thinking about solving that after I wrote post. I would've later on if you hadn't beaten me to it! (And along with the problems of a market flood, I doubt you could find enough buyers interested in that many velvet worms to sell them all.)
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  12. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

  13. AbraxasComplex

    AbraxasComplex Arachnoprince Old Timer

    They are doing great with lots of babies. I had to remove them from their terrarium though and CO2 bomb it because my addition of pink springtails was a mistake. They were actually consuming the skin of the velvet worms once the population exploded practically overnight. They are currently recouping in quarrentine quite nicely (skin discoloration is visibly returning to normal) and still producing young. I know their vivarium soil was not the culprit as I am using the same mix and moisture level in the temporary container. I'll slowly add a few back in and see over time.
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  14. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince

    That's horrifying to hear about the springtails, but I'm so glad they are recuperating and breeding for you, congrats! :)
  15. AbraxasComplex

    AbraxasComplex Arachnoprince Old Timer

    So it has been a while since I updated, but the colony is doing great and there were a lot of babies this summer. I throw in 25 adult crickets and they are all gone by morning and I can sometimes catch a dozen or so out sharing the same feast of glued down crickets. Their terrarium is growing in fast and I just need the perfect plant in the top left to finish it up Also below is a photo of a group I have in a more basic container.


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  16. Mpaul213

    Mpaul213 Arachnopeon

    Thanks for the update, I'm glad they are doing very well. The setup looks amazing.
  17. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    I'm so, so impressed. What exactly are your conditions? Is it more or less 80%+ humidity, 75-85 Fahrenheit? Do you worry about airflow? How fragile have these turned out to be?
  18. Xafron

    Xafron Arachnosquire

    These are such amazing creatures. Thanks for the update, I'd actually been wondering how that was all going.
  19. AbraxasComplex

    AbraxasComplex Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I'd say 80% and 70'F to 85'F. It did get up to 90'F in my place for a couple weeks, but they didn't seem too bothered by it.

    And very limited air flow. The springtails keep any mold from getting out of control and the plants provide oxygen.

    As for fragility, less than I initially thought. I believe a lot of my first mistakes were due to the lack of information and getting too anxious over particulars. I feel that if one can maintain a successful and well balanced dart frog style vivarium than they should be good with these. The skills and knowledge are quite aligned and this species is quite forgiving when it comes to temperatures and other stress factors. Still not a beginner animal of course.
    • Helpful Helpful x 1