Breeding Oxidus gracilis for research

ArthropodLegs

Arachnopeon
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Hello,

I'm a researcher working on arthropod evolutionary developmental biology, and I'm interested in developing Oxidus gracilis as a research model organism. I had a few questions I was hoping people could help me with :)

Does anyone have advice on where to get some? I'm currently in MA USA, I'm guessing it's too cold for them here.

Do the females lay embryos in large clutches, or single embryos? Are they buried in the substrate?

How long do embryos take to hatch?

About how big are the embryos?

How long do adults live? One year, or multi year?

Do you use the millipede care guide in the sticky on this forum, or do you modify that in some ways?

Thanks so much for any advice!
 

Edan bandoot

Arachnoangel
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Why are you specifically choosing this species as opposed to things more readily available in the hobby?


There might be some useful general information for you there, and if you click on the data section you can see that they range into Massachusetts, although you don't have much time in the year left to collect them.
 

ArthropodLegs

Arachnopeon
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Hello, thanks for the reply! And thanks for the link, I'll check that out :)

I'm looking for a poldesmid millipede because I'm interested in paratergites (body flanges). So centipedes and round Spirobolida millipedes are probably not useful. I am starting to settle on Oxidus because it seems like it fits the criteria for a good research model organism, but I'm totally open to other species if they fit the bill! These criteria are:

Most important:
-breeds readily year round

-is relatively hardy and easy to care for

-has embryos that are at least 0.8mm in diameter so I can dissect them

-has large clutches of embryos, like >20 or more embryos in a clutch, rather than laying embryos singly all throughout the substrate

Somewhat important:

-embryos hatch in a reasonable amount of time, like 1 or a few months.

-adults preferably small, like <1 inch (2cm), so that I can have a large colony that doesn't take up a lot of space

-I don't need a permit to obtain them into the US

Thanks for any advice :)
 
Last edited:

Edan bandoot

Arachnoangel
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979
Hello, thanks for the reply! And thanks for the link, I'll check that out :)

I'm looking for a poldesmid millipede because I'm interested in paratergites (body flanges). So centipedes and round Spirobolida millipedes are probably not useful. I am starting to settle on Oxidus because it seems like it fits the criteria for a good research model organism, but I'm totally open to other species if they fit the bill! These criteria are:

Most important:
-breeds readily year round

-is relatively hardy and easy to care for

-has embryos that are at least 0.8mm in diameter so I can dissect them

-has large clutches of embryos, like >20 or more embryos in a clutch, rather than laying embryos singly all throughout the substrate

Somewhat important:

-embryos hatch in a reasonable amount of time, like 1 or a few months.

-adults preferably small, like <1 inch (2cm), so that I can have a large colony that doesn't take up a lot of space

-I don't need a permit to obtain them into the US

Thanks for any advice :)
Well we have a platydesmid seller right now, but I'm unsure if those have the structures you're looking for.

Maybe @Arthroverts knows a guy, he seems pretty in the know about sellers and import/exporters.
 

ArthropodLegs

Arachnopeon
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Platydesmids have paratergites, they’re all those pokey outty things along their body. So if platydesmids meet the criteria I listed above, I would love to work with these! Do they breed year round?

Oops I mean platydesmids have paranota not paratergites! Arthropods have similar terms for similar things in different groups, it’s for frustrating lol
 
Last edited:

ArthropodLegs

Arachnopeon
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Hmm, I found the feather millipedes in the classifieds and they're very cute and beautiful, but unfortunately, it sounds like that species, Brachycybe lecontii, is a temperate species so it has a seasonal breeding cycle instead of breeding year-round like tropical species generally do. https://bdj.pensoft.net/article/50770/ :(

Maybe I'll put an ad in the classifieds that I want some Oxidus gracilis?
 

Edan bandoot

Arachnoangel
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Hmm, I found the feather millipedes in the classifieds and they're very cute and beautiful, but unfortunately, it sounds like that species, Brachycybe lecontii, is a temperate species so it has a seasonal breeding cycle instead of breeding year-round like tropical species generally do. https://bdj.pensoft.net/article/50770/ :(

Maybe I'll put an ad in the classifieds that I want some Oxidus gracilis?
If i were you i'd just say that i'm looking for polydesmids and certain platydesmids and maybe list Oxidus gracillis as an example below.

make sure to add me as an "et al" ;)
 

Arthroverts

Arachnoking
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2,209
Hello,

I'm a researcher working on arthropod evolutionary developmental biology, and I'm interested in developing Oxidus gracilis as a research model organism. I had a few questions I was hoping people could help me with :)

Does anyone have advice on where to get some? I'm currently in MA USA, I'm guessing it's too cold for them here.

Do the females lay embryos in large clutches, or single embryos? Are they buried in the substrate?

How long do embryos take to hatch?

About how big are the embryos?

How long do adults live? One year, or multi year?

Do you use the millipede care guide in the sticky on this forum, or do you modify that in some ways?

Thanks so much for any advice!
They are pantropical pests that are present in most if not all of the lower 48 states. I would suggest using iNaturalist to find a locale in your area.

Females lay eggs in large bunches in the substrate, I am unsure how long it takes them to hatch but I would bet not longer than a month or two. Adults probably only live about a year as they grow very quickly.

The millipede care guide on here is probably O.K as unlike other polydesmids this species doesn't seem to be a rotting wood specialist. They can survive on most any non-toxic plant organic matter for a very long time, which explains why they are such a "good" invasive species.

I can probably find you someone with them who will sell them to you @ArthropodLegs if you can't find them yourself (they are common in garden sections at big box stores oftentimes).

Platydesmids have paratergites, they’re all those pokey outty things along their body. So if platydesmids meet the criteria I listed above, I would love to work with these! Do they breed year round?

Oops I mean platydesmids have paranota not paratergites! Arthropods have similar terms for similar things in different groups, it’s for frustrating lol
I was about to say, those are paranota, ha ha.

Thanks,

Arthroverts
 

ArthropodLegs

Arachnopeon
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Thank you @Arthroverts !

I luckily came across some great papers about Oxidus! The key was that their old species name was Orthomorpha gracilis, so all the old (useful) literature used this name.

There are some really good studies on Oxidus that might be useful for anyone else interested in raising polydesmids, such as how long each molt takes, food preferences (they love Ficus leaves but not horse chestnut or ivy leaves), food quality (Ficus has more protein which might result in females producing more eggs), and substrate (apparently the juvenile/nymphs are happy living on 1% agar eating only Ficus leaves). The protein thing made me wonder if I could use whatever random leaves I find outside for them, and just supplement with a little sprinkle of fish flakes (I think others here also mentioned using fish flakes).

Embryos take about ten days to hatch and are about 0.4mm in diameter. Hatchlings take about 5 - 6 months to reach sexual maturity. Causey 1943 says they had 13 mating pairs, and both males and females died after mating. But when they examined the dead females, 11 of 13 of them had another brood of large eggs getting ready to be laid. So this seems to indicate that they don't have to die after mating, but maybe they just need better rearing conditions.

Causey 1943 "Studies on the Life History and the Ecology of the Hothouse Millipede, Orthomorpha gracilis (C. L. Koch 1847)"

Kheirallah 1975

Kheirallah 1978

I also contacted Derek Hennan at Virginia Tech, and he's sending me a pile of Oxidus in a few days. So excited!
 

Edan bandoot

Arachnoangel
Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
979
Thank you @Arthroverts !

I luckily came across some great papers about Oxidus! The key was that their old species name was Orthomorpha gracilis, so all the old (useful) literature used this name.

There are some really good studies on Oxidus that might be useful for anyone else interested in raising polydesmids, such as how long each molt takes, food preferences (they love Ficus leaves but not horse chestnut or ivy leaves), food quality (Ficus has more protein which might result in females producing more eggs), and substrate (apparently the juvenile/nymphs are happy living on 1% agar eating only Ficus leaves). The protein thing made me wonder if I could use whatever random leaves I find outside for them, and just supplement with a little sprinkle of fish flakes (I think others here also mentioned using fish flakes).

Embryos take about ten days to hatch and are about 0.4mm in diameter. Hatchlings take about 5 - 6 months to reach sexual maturity. Causey 1943 says they had 13 mating pairs, and both males and females died after mating. But when they examined the dead females, 11 of 13 of them had another brood of large eggs getting ready to be laid. So this seems to indicate that they don't have to die after mating, but maybe they just need better rearing conditions.

Causey 1943 "Studies on the Life History and the Ecology of the Hothouse Millipede, Orthomorpha gracilis (C. L. Koch 1847)"

Kheirallah 1975

Kheirallah 1978

I also contacted Derek Hennan at Virginia Tech, and he's sending me a pile of Oxidus in a few days. So excited!
glad to hear everything panned out
 
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