Advice Request for Biolumincent Millipede

zonbonzovi

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Very interesting, thank you very much for the info! I am very excited for next week! :) How is the sex ratio on these guys, does it seem pretty even? I only bought three, so I'm hoping I get a sexed pair or some gravid females.

Have you seen the article @Metastasize linked to here?:

What are your thoughts on it?

And lastly, sort of a random question, do you know of any Motyxia that could range into Idaho, or is the genus endemic to California?
EDIT: Nevermind, read the re-evaluation by Rowland Shelly and saw the range map for the whole genus, they only live in CA.
I don't think either of us have looked too closely to determine sex ratios. Mating is apparent and if conditions are favorable I think at least one of us will see egg laying.

D'oh! I only read the paper after posting my stream of consciousness observations. It's encouraging. I'm still processing the information. Some of it is surprising, like the sealed container and temperature range in the lab. I tend to overthink these things and this seems easier than I advertised. I'm interested to see if Chris52's humus is attractive to them and if Erin's pine shavings work. My feeling is the more degraded the material is the more likely they will eat. I don't know that the resins will be much of a bother although I don't think anything that relatively fresh will be consumed. Hard to say. It seems that it has to be broken down enough to for their soft mouth parts to take on and break down further. I'm going to add local pine mulch to the mix and see what happens. In short, poop is a good indicator that they're eating! I still have that nagging feeling that something may be missing but it could just be empty anxiety ;)

Hisser, I wouldn't count out the possibility of an isolated relative of Motyxia elsewhere. There are a number of organisms that can be found in pockets away from their primary population. Lampropeltis zonata and Uroctones mordax in Washington state come to mind.

I'm sincerely interested in everyone's take and think this and Harlequin's thread could be a great compilation of info for not only Motyxia but for other polydesmids, as well.
 

Staehilomyces

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Would it be safe to let saprobic fungi soften up the tissues? They won't infect the millipedes.
 

zonbonzovi

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Yes, absolutely. I keep my decaying wood/leaves in an opaque bin and it develops fruiting bodies that break down the materials further.
 

marshallsmarsha

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Wow, awesome thread, hope you guys have success with rearing these incredible millipedes! Anyone have a pic of them lighting up?
I have a few with "dull" lights and one with pretty bright light. For this one, its luminescence is very clear to the plain eye but for all my cell phone camera (I know, lame) does not capture the light of them in the dark. I have a photographer friend, will invite her over this weekend!
 

marshallsmarsha

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Thanks so much for the info!!!


Well, hello! And I thought these would create limited interest, lol. The truth about these is that you all know about as much as I do about these other than habitat particulars that I can help fill in. As Erin mentioned, these were collected mainly at night, somewhere between 9:30-11:30pm. I was in shorts but it felt damned cold compared to the daytime temps(mid-high 80s) several miles away and 3500 ft. lower. A thunderstorm rolled in and we got light rain before collecting. This may or may not have assisted in seeing the numbers that we did. In my experience with other xystodesmids this is not always a factor. The temps are debatable but somewhere in between low 40s - low 50s F sounds about right. Not many were found in the meadow except those under fallen wood during the daytime (around mid 60s). The bulk of these came from the outskirts of the meadow under reasonably thick, mature pine coverage...open enough to walk through easily but well shaded during the daytime. We collected in a small area as there were large numbers all around us and well beyond We used a 100 LED blacklight to locate them as they flouresced like scorpions. The faint glow wasn't readily apparent until we got back to the car about an hour later. My best guess is that these are Motyxia tiemanni based on the range map, not on having keyed it out.

Other factoids:

-We found no evidence of Motyxia at lower elevations where they'd previously been found. This could be due to temperature, time of year, extirpation, etc.
-Bioluminescence varies between individual species. I think the the northernmost species "glows" brightest.
-A small number of these were collected at other sites and very well may be one of the other species.
-Colors vary between off white to orange and is not a condition of recent molts.
-After collection a few were observed eating the detritus that was collected with them. From this location it would have been a pine species, (I'm not forester so determining which pine is lost on me although what we saw resembled sugar, lodgepole, and ponderosa...other locations contained cedar, oak and various other broadleafs, however, the dominant tree was pine...think large cones). That which was being eaten was well decayed which to me means a couple of seasons. I think that they are isolated geographically but can only speculate that they may consume things outside of their native range. Only one way to find out, eh?
-Known collection areas see quite a bit of snow. These areas range from 3000-10000 feet although I would estimate populations trend toward being above 5000 primarily.
-They are fragile. Duh. I think that overexposure to heat and handling will kill them. They are montane, after all. Don't put them in with your animals from tropical locations and expect health ;)

What does all this mean? Wear kid gloves in how you attempt to raise them in captivity. Observe and share what you find. I know they've been collected before and no one has done well...yet. Dig a few inches down next to the trunk of a pine tree during spring and you'll find a reasonable gradation in humidity for these. Hint: other creatures found nearby: Omus sp., Schaphinotus sp., Uroctones mordax, Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis If they do reproduce remember that small creatures eat small things. I'm not sure whether or not these will subsist on adult frass but I wouldn't count it out. Try to provide a gradation of mulch along with a gradation of temperatures. Soil depth helps! These will burrow away from deleterious conditions like heat and excess water. Give them at least a few inches. Shipping experiences have been mixed. Could be due to being jostled but one box did very well and the other not so much.

I'll post photos and any more thoughts as they come. I hope everyone has great luck and more importantly, solid documentation!

P.S., edit, etc: these will gas one another. But how does one keep them together, you may ask? They do this as a defense so avoid stimuli that encourage said defense. Tossing a bunch together all at once with little ventilation is a bad idea. Give them room to roam and again, a good amount of soil to do their business in and introduce them in a way that doesn't invite instinctual defenses. I think some of the shipping problems in the past have been due to poor packing. Ample substrate or dense material that doesn't compact will probably cut back on losses. ANY invert that has chemical defenses will perish when many are placed together and subjected to trauma.
 

Chris52

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I recieved my package this morning. All three Motyxia are alive and seem to be content. I just got a chance to see them in the dark.
I have a few with "dull" lights and one with pretty bright light. For this one, its luminescence is very clear to the plain eye but for all my cell phone camera (I know, lame) does not capture the light of them in the dark. I have a photographer friend, will invite her over this weekend!
My are just bright to clearly see them move, but I ran into the same problem with my cell phone camera.;)
 

BobBarley

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I have a few with "dull" lights and one with pretty bright light. For this one, its luminescence is very clear to the plain eye but for all my cell phone camera (I know, lame) does not capture the light of them in the dark. I have a photographer friend, will invite her over this weekend!
Interesting! Weird that certain specimens glow more brightly than others.
 

ErinM31

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I found my Motyxia burrowed in or adjacent to the damp sphagnum moss today. That made it easy to add to the substrate: I moved most of the coir and wood mixture to one side and added BIC millipede substrate to the other side and then did a bit of mixing where they meet (so now they have a substrate gradient running perpendicular to the moisture gradient). Two of the millipedes calmly wandered out to explore as I was adding and mixing the substrate and one seemed to pause to nibble on a clump of fermented oak sawdust. :)

Motyxia tiemanni (2).JPG

I have mixed plenty of this into all of the substrate, especially since the millipedes seem to like it and I think it is a perfect food for plings I hope are to come (no signs of mating or egg-laying yet but with ten, I am feeling optimistic). :D Also, my wine cooler arrived today -- woohoo! The AC was running up the electric bill and cannot keep up with San Antonio mid-day summer heat anyway (which has only just begun :wideyed: ). I'm going to keep them at 65ºF. So now they have several inches of substrate and I spritzed the moss with more water and, as I did with my Abacion, will continue to add more until they no longer congregate in the wettest area.
 
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Hisserdude

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I don't think either of us have looked too closely to determine sex ratios. Mating is apparent and if conditions are favorable I think at least one of us will see egg laying.

D'oh! I only read the paper after posting my stream of consciousness observations. It's encouraging. I'm still processing the information. Some of it is surprising, like the sealed container and temperature range in the lab. I tend to overthink these things and this seems easier than I advertised. I'm interested to see if Chris52's humus is attractive to them and if Erin's pine shavings work. My feeling is the more degraded the material is the more likely they will eat. I don't know that the resins will be much of a bother although I don't think anything that relatively fresh will be consumed. Hard to say. It seems that it has to be broken down enough to for their soft mouth parts to take on and break down further. I'm going to add local pine mulch to the mix and see what happens. In short, poop is a good indicator that they're eating! I still have that nagging feeling that something may be missing but it could just be empty anxiety ;)

Hisser, I wouldn't count out the possibility of an isolated relative of Motyxia elsewhere. There are a number of organisms that can be found in pockets away from their primary population. Lampropeltis zonata and Uroctones mordax in Washington state come to mind.

I'm sincerely interested in everyone's take and think this and Harlequin's thread could be a great compilation of info for not only Motyxia but for other polydesmids, as well.
I don't think either of us have looked too closely to determine sex ratios. Mating is apparent and if conditions are favorable I think at least one of us will see egg laying.

D'oh! I only read the paper after posting my stream of consciousness observations. It's encouraging. I'm still processing the information. Some of it is surprising, like the sealed container and temperature range in the lab. I tend to overthink these things and this seems easier than I advertised. I'm interested to see if Chris52's humus is attractive to them and if Erin's pine shavings work. My feeling is the more degraded the material is the more likely they will eat. I don't know that the resins will be much of a bother although I don't think anything that relatively fresh will be consumed. Hard to say. It seems that it has to be broken down enough to for their soft mouth parts to take on and break down further. I'm going to add local pine mulch to the mix and see what happens. In short, poop is a good indicator that they're eating! I still have that nagging feeling that something may be missing but it could just be empty anxiety ;)

Hisser, I wouldn't count out the possibility of an isolated relative of Motyxia elsewhere. There are a number of organisms that can be found in pockets away from their primary population. Lampropeltis zonata and Uroctones mordax in Washington state come to mind.

I'm sincerely interested in everyone's take and think this and Harlequin's thread could be a great compilation of info for not only Motyxia but for other polydesmids, as well.
OK, hopefully at least one of my individuals will be a mated female! :)

Cool, hopefully the species we are keeping will be as hardy as the ones in the paper, if so this species may be one of the few Polydesmids firmly established in culture, seeing as so many people are gonna be owning them! :D

Really hope they'll like the wood I will be giving them, I'm using some rotten wood from a fallen tree (unknown sp) that I collected a few years ago, along with some rotten Cottonwood and a bunch of fermented traeger sawdust I made myself, which is a mix of Aspen and Oak if I'm not mistaken. Also put in some crushed dead leaves in the mix, though not much compared to the wood. There is a layer of whole leaves on top of half of the cage's substrate, whichwill serve as their hides/food. Can't wait until next week! :D

Yeah, still I highly doubt Motyxia can be found outside California, and I doubt even more that any could be found in Idaho. Wish I could find some sort of native millipede here, besides the tiny Polyxenus I've found. Pretty much all I've seen so far are European invasives, and information on native millipede species ranging into Idaho is extremely lacking, along with info about pretty much everything else. :shifty:

I have a few with "dull" lights and one with pretty bright light. For this one, its luminescence is very clear to the plain eye but for all my cell phone camera (I know, lame) does not capture the light of them in the dark. I have a photographer friend, will invite her over this weekend!
The papers I've read have reported that the brightness of the luminescence varies from individual to individual, so what you are describing seems perfectly normal. :)

View attachment 212890 View attachment 212889 I did get some pics of them in normal lighting.
Veri nice, I hope they do well for you! :)

I found my Motyxia burrowed in or adjacent to the damp sphagnum moss today. That made it easy to add to the substrate: I moved most of the coir and wood mixture to one side and added BIC millipede substrate to the other side and then did a bit of mixing where they meet (so now they have a substrate gradient running perpendicular to the moisture gradient). Two of the millipedes calmly wandered out to explore as I was adding and mixing the substrate and one seemed to pause to nibble on a clump of fermented oak sawdust. :)

View attachment 212893

I have mixed plenty of this into all of the substrate, especially since the millipedes seem to like it and I think it is a perfect food for plings I hope are to come (no signs of mating or egg-laying yet but with ten, I am feeling optimistic). :D Also, my wine cooler arrived today -- woohoo! The AC was running up the electric bill and cannot keep up with San Antonio mid-day summer heat anyway (which has only just begun :wideyed: ). I'm going to keep them around 67ºF. So now they have several inches of substrate and I spritzed the moss with more water and, as I did with my Abacion, will continue to add more until they no longer congregate in the wettest area.
Good, seems like they've settled down quite a bit, hopefully they will like their new substrate!
Oh good, now that you'll be able to keep them at a consistently low temperature we can see whether they do better at those temps or at room temperature, or if it's the same both ways. Keep us updated on them for sure! :happy:
 

ErinM31

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Really hope they'll like the wood I will be giving them, I'm using some rotten wood from a fallen tree (unknown sp) that I collected a few years ago, along with some rotten Cottonwood and a bunch of fermented traeger sawdust I made myself, which is a mix of Aspen and Oak if I'm not mistaken. Also put in some crushed dead leaves in the mix, though not much compared to the wood. There is a layer of whole leaves on top of half of the cage's substrate, whichwill serve as their hides/food. Can't wait until next week! :D
That sounds good to me! :) How do you make fermented sawdust? I bought aspen and now pine and was wondering how I could get them more decayed and thus more palatable. Boiling the aspen didn't seem to make any difference. :sour:

Yeah, still I highly doubt Motyxia can be found outside California, and I doubt even more that any could be found in Idaho. Wish I could find some sort of native millipede here, besides the tiny Polyxenus I've found. Pretty much all I've seen so far are European invasives, and information on native millipede species ranging into Idaho is extremely lacking, along with info about pretty much everything else. :shifty:
Polyxenus are awesome! There are other great Idaho natives too, including Julid, Chelojulus sculpturatus! However, I think they generally further north in the forested area, which may be far away enough to might as well be in another state. :(

Good, seems like they've settled down quite a bit, hopefully they will like their new substrate!
Oh good, now that you'll be able to keep them at a consistently low temperature we can see whether they do better at those temps or at room temperature, or if it's the same both ways. Keep us updated on them for sure! :happy:
Thank you, me too! I need to wet it down a bit more -- what constitutes 'dry' for millipedes is a far cry from what constitutes 'dry' for tarantulas! :wacky:
The paper suggests it will be the same both ways -- hope so! Either way, I believe I needed to get a cooler as the AC was already struggling to keep the temp in the mid-70's during the day and it's only June!
 

ErinM31

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UPDATE: So far, my millipedes have not shown a preference for the coir or compost, perhaps because there is plenty of fermented oak mixed in throughout both. :D They are still congregated around the moss so I made the moisture gradient wetter (I do things gradually and my substrate is nice and deep so it's not like they're sitting in mud or anything!). I think they like being at 65ºF as now more of them are on the surface of the substrate instead of burrowed. There is no sign that either of the different fish food bits I put in there were touched.
 

Hisserdude

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That sounds good to me! :) How do you make fermented sawdust? I bought aspen and now pine and was wondering how I could get them more decayed and thus more palatable. Boiling the aspen didn't seem to make any difference. :sour:



Polyxenus are awesome! There are other great Idaho natives too, including Julid, Chelojulus sculpturatus! However, I think they generally further north in the forested area, which may be far away enough to might as well be in another state. :(



Thank you, me too! I need to wet it down a bit more -- what constitutes 'dry' for millipedes is a far cry from what constitutes 'dry' for tarantulas! :wacky:
The paper suggests it will be the same both ways -- hope so! Either way, I believe I needed to get a cooler as the AC was already struggling to keep the temp in the mid-70's during the day and it's only June!
Well there are lots of ways to do it, fermenting sawdust is how many people who rear rhino and stag beetles get their rotten wood.
Basically, you mix in an amount of sawdust with flour and yeast, and mix it everyday for about a month or two, and it ferments and rots. I have a more in depth description of how I did it here:
http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/2015/11/rotten-wood-progress.html

Yeah, Polyxenus are awesome looking, but they are so small. Chelojulus sculpturatus is pretty cool as well, however like you said, they are far away. Wish I could find some cool native millipedes within an hour of my city but alas, it's pretty much scrubland all around, which is an unlikely habitat for any millipede.

Yeah, I'll be keeping mine pretty moist, as I'm sure even semi-dry conditions would probably not be that beneficial for them. They may come from somewhat arid areas, but they live in moist micro-habitats.

UPDATE: So far, my millipedes have not shown a preference for the coir or compost, perhaps because there is plenty of fermented oak mixed in throughout both. :D They are still congregated around the moss so I made the moisture gradient wetter (I do things gradually and my substrate is nice and deep so it's not like they're sitting in mud or anything!). I think they like being at 65ºF as now more of them are on the surface of the substrate instead of burrowed. There is no sign that either of the different fish food bits I put in there were touched.
Interesting observations, thanks for sharing! :)
 

ErinM31

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Well there are lots of ways to do it, fermenting sawdust is how many people who rear rhino and stag beetles get their rotten wood.
Basically, you mix in an amount of sawdust with flour and yeast, and mix it everyday for about a month or two, and it ferments and rots. I have a more in depth description of how I did it here:
http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/2015/11/rotten-wood-progress.html
Thank you so much! This is VERY helpful! I'll be able to turn both the aspen and pine into good millipede food! :happy:

Yeah, Polyxenus are awesome looking, but they are so small. Chelojulus sculpturatus is pretty cool as well, however like you said, they are far away. Wish I could find some cool native millipedes within an hour of my city but alas, it's pretty much scrubland all around, which is an unlikely habitat for any millipede.
I hear that! The beetles around here are big, but the millipedes are small and not numerous. I do like the small millipedes but I am envious of those who can walk out their door and find everything from small elegant Brachycybe to the large colorful Polydesmids! Quite a few millipedes can be found in Texas, but most are quite a drive away.

Yeah, I'll be keeping mine pretty moist, as I'm sure even semi-dry conditions would probably not be that beneficial for them. They may come from somewhat arid areas, but they live in moist micro-habitats.
Yeah, I should have thought of that but I always over-heed warnings! :bag: Oh well, so long as there is adequate moisture in at least one area, I will eventually get all of their substrate to their liking. :)
 

Hisserdude

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Thank you so much! This is VERY helpful! I'll be able to turn both the aspen and pine into good millipede food! :happy:



I hear that! The beetles around here are big, but the millipedes are small and not numerous. I do like the small millipedes but I am envious of those who can walk out their door and find everything from small elegant Brachycybe to the large colorful Polydesmids! Quite a few millipedes can be found in Texas, but most are quite a drive away.



Yeah, I should have thought of that but I always over-heed warnings! :bag: Oh well, so long as there is adequate moisture in at least one area, I will eventually get all of their substrate to their liking. :)
I believe it only really works if you use sawdust, it has to be pretty fine to mix in properly with the flour and yeast. You could always put the aspen and pine flakes in a food processor to grind it up, or mix them in with something like the traeger wood pellets. :)
Also, I totally posted the wrong link, here's what I meant to link to: http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/2015/10/making-rotten-wood.html

We got big beetles here too, mostly Tenebrionids but I've found Prionus here that are gigantic!! Yeah, I'd love to find some large Polydesmids here, unfortunately that seems very unlikely...
 

ErinM31

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I believe it only really works if you use sawdust, it has to be pretty fine to mix in properly with the flour and yeast. You could always put the aspen and pine flakes in a food processor to grind it up, or mix them in with something like the traeger wood pellets. :)
I'll see what I can do. I think that boiling and then backing the aspen pieces has made them fall apart a bit into finer strands. We'll see what the pine shavings are like. How would mixing them with traeger wood pellets help? To get the fermenting started?

Also, I totally posted the wrong link, here's what I meant to link to: http://invertebratedude.blogspot.com/2015/10/making-rotten-wood.html
Ah yes! I assumed I'd accidentally clicked beyond the initial page somehow -- this is even more helpful! :D

We got big beetles here too, mostly Tenebrionids but I've found Prionus here that are gigantic!! Yeah, I'd love to find some large Polydesmids here, unfortunately that seems very unlikely...
Well, I'm gradually collecting them and doing all I can to encourage successful reproduction! Once that happens, I'll be sure to send you some once the young are old enough! All I ask is that you let me know how you keep them and how they do for you -- the more information for my book, the better! :)
 

Elytra and Antenna

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Handsome little guys but I wonder about the emperor with new clothes or the second coming of Lucihormetica
 

ErinM31

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Handsome little guys but I wonder about the emperor with new clothes or the second coming of Lucihormetica
What do you mean by that? These millipedes do indeed glow in the dark! Or shall I find an innocent child to verify that for you? ;)
 
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