Ethmostigmus trigonopodus investigation

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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E. trigonopodus is commonly kept as a rainforest species: coco fiber/peat moss/potting soil, high humidity and temps.
But I recently stumbled upon a few pictures showing a specimen in a more arid, sandy setup.
It got me speculating: what if the keeper was right?
This species seems to be widespread in Kenya and Tanzania. Though I think it's fair to say that the species would only inhabit a single specific biotope.
Come to think of it, Kenya and Tanzania aren't that humid: a quick google images search confirms this. What you see is not an immense rainforest but savannahs and plains.
I decided to take the plunge and make this little experiment.

I tried to mimic the soil that would be found there: I believe it must be compact, sandy dirt.
The mix I used is made up of sand, excavator clay and coco fiber. I didn't pay attention to the proportions and just monitored the color.

20171028_113814.jpg
Before adding the pede in I obviously compacted the substrate in order to let it hold burrows. I also added another twig. The goal is to see if it displays any interest in climbing.

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This piece of bark is here to grant the pede access to the lid, and to let it hide vertically - basically to simulate a tree.. but I guess this is a bit small.. Only time will tell!

20171028_115143.jpg
Pede inside! as I'm writing this it's burrowing..
I didn't let the substrate dry to simulate a post-rain period.

Edit: idk why those thumbnails are here.. you can see the sand/clay mix before I added the fiber
 

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LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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Update: it is truly creating a burrow, and hasn't simply buried. Interesting. The behaviour makes me think of a scorpion, actually. I'll keep you guys updated
 

Scoly

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Looks good, except I hate those cages because I once let Florida keys centipede escape by not closing the hatch properly :-(

This "species" covers a very wide range, and to be fair, most of it is bone dry. When I have found Cingulata in the wild it was often in parchment dry soil. But maybe that's just adults, who will wait till they find moist surroundings before they shed, and juveniles maybe stay closer to moist habitats. They do also prefer stones to wood, and I wonder if that is because of condensation..

I'm personally moving away from fibrous/absorbant substrates in favour of sandier ones because they keep localised moisture better (i.e it will be wet under the bark, but the rest will be dry, whereas coco fiber or compost is either all dry or all moist). But I'll see how that goes.
 

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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I've been using KK for over 5 years, and no pede has ever escaped :)
Funny you mentioned cingulata, as I have collected many. In fact I caught one yesterday, in a dry area close to a forest, which shows a clear preference towards this biotope!
I'm not home atm but when I get back I will make sure to post photos of the burrows
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
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Hmm... Ethmostigmus might be a dry land genus: E. trig are found in African savannahs, and E. rubripes are found in Australian deserts. Something to think about.

I suggest misting the substrate so that it compacts a little for easier burrowing and looks smoother. Perhaps you could even grow a few mosses or plants in there that prefer dry climates. I like that setup!
 

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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Hmm... Ethmostigmus might be a dry land genus: E. trig are found in African savannahs, and E. rubripes are found in Australian deserts. Something to think about.
That's what I was thinking. I'll see how it goes.
The substrate was compacted before adding the pede. In the pictures it was not yet the case. When it comes to plants, I may add some as it would make the setup so much more enjoyable. Do you have any suggestions regarding the species/genus?
 

Staehilomyces

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...E. rubripes are found in Australian deserts.
Not entirely. While we have some desert variants, there are also many forms present in our tropical rainforests, as well as every habitat in between, such as subtropical rainforest, eucalypt forest, and scrubland.
 

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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In general, it remains true. But there are exceptions, say the malaysian and indonesian sp
 

Staehilomyces

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Adding onto that, from what I've seen/heard, here is my current (and very vague) idea of the distribution of some of the E. rubripes variants:

Tiger: Predominantly Eucalpyt forest, ranging from tropical North Queensland to Northern New South Wales.
Green: Similar distribution to tiger, but does not extend as far North. There appears to be some distribution overlap between these two forms.
Kuranda blue-leg: Kuranda (obviously), which is situated in a tropical rainforest environment.
North Queensland blue-tip: Tropical rainforest, e.g. Daintree.
Half green/tiger: Seems to be restricted to Townsville, which is subtropical.
Gold: Eucalpytus forest.
Black-head: Central Australian desert (notably Muttaburra).
Dark tiger: Central Australia
Black: Central Australia
Yellow: West Australian desert
 

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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Interesting. Though rubripes may be the most cosmopolitan species in the genus Ethmostigmus, thus displaying a wide array of suitable biotopes. Do you think some tropical morphs, say the kuranda one, could be raised in arid setups?
 

Staehilomyces

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I'm not sure. I feel like a desert form would be more tolerant of moisture than a tropical one would be of a lack thereof.
 

LawnShrimp

Arachnoangel
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Well, obviously, rubripes is not restricted to deserts and neither is trigonopodus for that matter. Neither sp. would enjoy the habitat of S. polymorpha or heros.

Speaking of the E. trig, you've got the blue leg morph. How do these compare to the yellow leg trigs? I know Mastigoproctus has crossbred the morphs, I wonder what the resulting babies will look like as adults.
 

LeFanDesBugs

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Yeah Mike has successfully crossed the 2 but the offspring are still too young to tell I think.
The yellow leg morph is, I believe, found in different areas and has slightly more potent venom. Buth that's about it. The biotope should be the same as well. The 2 aren't found in the same localities.
I had one once and only had it for like, 2 days and then it escaped. It was a pedeling and I obviously never found it back :( I would probably still have it nowadays
 

LawnShrimp

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Yeah Mike has successfully crossed the 2 but the offspring are still too young to tell I think.
The yellow leg morph is, I believe, found in different areas and has slightly more potent venom. Buth that's about it. The biotope should be the same as well. The 2 aren't found in the same localities.
I had one once and only had it for like, 2 days and then it escaped. It was a pedeling and I obviously never found it back :( I would probably still have it nowadays
Oh no! Haven't had an escape yet and not looking forward to any... Your escapee is probably tapping on the outside of his old friends' enclosures and laughing when you aren't watching.

Browsing the app iNaturalist has turned up some pictures of very colorful Ethmostigmus sp. in Africa: some have red heads and other have stripes like rubripes. (I ID'd them as Ethmos due to the enlarged spiracles.) To greatly simplify the food chain, it seems Ethmos are the "dominant" centipede in Sub-Saharan Africa, being a good deal more massive than S. morsitans or the other small Scolopendra sp. found in the same habitat. This relationship appears similar to the heros>polymorpha>viridis interactions in the SW U.S., gig/galapo>angulata>rhysida sp. in Northern South America, subspinipes>morsitans in mainland China, and rubripes>morsitans in Australia. While these are just vague generalizations and in no way represent the hierarchy of chilopod fauna anywhere, I think it shows how centipedes will speciate into sizes relative to one another to maximize use of a habitat.
 

Scoly

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I had an adult yellow leg trig for a short while. One notable difference was temperament - that thing was WILD! Whereas the blue legs I have are all really mellow...

Technically if it's the same species spanning these vast ranges, then it's presumably adaptable to both wet and dry climates, as well as areas which vary between bone dry and soaking wet depending on the seasons/latest rainfall. So they probably tolerate both, unless it is either extreme for a prolonged period, i.e. perpetual high humidity, or total dryness, particularly at moulting time.

I think the best bet is to keep them dry on the surface, but with a damper area under the hide, which is easier to achieve with a less fibrous substrate. That was they don't have problem of high humidity in a small enclosure, but do have that moist place where they will probably spend most of their time.
 

LeFanDesBugs

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iNaturalist is a very good source of information regarding small wildlife. Concerning the colorful pedes you saw there, I think they may be Morsitans. Could you send a link to the specific observations? Cormocephalus could be a good bet too considering the color aspect. But Ethmostigmus is also likely, I'm not turning you down lol
Your observation regarding the hierarchy of centipedes depending on the location seems correct. In Europe it'd be like S.ingulata>S.oraniensis/dalmatica (if present)>scolopocryptops>lithobius

@Scoly my trigonopodus is quite brutal. Not necessarily quick in general, but when it gets startled, it's a true demon. lol

We'll see how my little experiment goes but your observations seem to already confirm the partial validity of my setup. I shall add plants in the future though. At the moment not much has changed other than the burrow which has been excavated a fair bit more. I haven't seen the pede out yet, though I only got back home yesterday night. lol


Planning a trip to the samoa islands atm, any ideas as to what morphs of subspinipes will be there? And maybe other sp? Dehaani would also be a fair bet although I feel like they're more of an inland species. :p
 

LawnShrimp

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iNaturalist is a very good source of information regarding small wildlife. Concerning the colorful pedes you saw there, I think they may be Morsitans. Could you send a link to the specific observations? Cormocephalus could be a good bet too considering the color aspect. But Ethmostigmus is also likely, I'm not turning you down lol
Pfft; one turned out to be Cormocephalus and the rest just look like variations on trig. I can't find the reddish one, maybe I confused it with something. The habitat these are found in does vary from grassland to forest to sandy.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4984534
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4334926
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/2709656
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3643326
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4776040
 

Staehilomyces

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All the ones you linked are certainly Ethmostigmus. Also, I found a couple others when scanning the website, including a banded one that bears a resemblance to the tiger E. rubripes.
 

LeFanDesBugs

Arachnobaron
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Yup, all Ethmostigmus.
I was thinking of morsitans because on iSpot nature most african colorful pedes are morsitans. I suggested you take a look because there are some incredible specimens there, for instance totally red with black tergital bends (can you make an adjective out of the word tergite? lol)
 

Staehilomyces

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Went and had a look. They really are stunning! Still, I think our morsitans have a greater variety ;), just a pity that practically none have made it into the hobby.
 
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