S.h.castaniceps...a must view thread!

LaRiz

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Instead of updating a previous thread on the subject of this particular centipede, I thought it may be better to start a fresh thread.
From the start...Last year, spring I was at the Hamburg, PA show, where I saw a vendor selling large Scolopendra heros castaniceps for $18. Amongst the centipede was one that was neatly balled up and clutching eggs. So I figured, there's a good chance that the other may have mated and might drop eggs for me. So I bought the largest, fattest one. A couple of months later she did indeed lay eggs. It's was June, I think. The whole thing went without a hitch. She cared for them, they developed and they seemed like they wanted to disperse. They mostly stayed in the vicinity of her, with only a few venturing out to look for food, I take it. I offered crushed large crickets, which they gang-fed on. No cannibalism occured. Not at all. Since I take terrible records, I could only guess as to how long the whole ordeal took from start to finish. I'd say a little over 3 months. Babies were removed, most sold, some died, etc., etc. Momma was by herself.
Eating pinkies, roaches, and crickets as normal.
Then in March her activities ceased, she went underground and molted. After, she was vibrantly colored and very active. A real eating machine.
June 15th. I go to feed her and find that she's caring for eggs again.
It raises some questions.
Are the eggs fertile? How can this be?
Well, today July 3rd I peered in to see if the eggs hatched and yes, they hatched.
So, in this species at least, females can retain sperm for use much later. Even retaining it after a molt. Here are the pics, from the start. Sorry for the repost of old pics, but I thought they might be relevent to this thread.
Anyways, this raised many more questions. It can even give a glimpse into the mysterious natural history of a giant centipede.
 

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LaRiz

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Scolopendra heros castaniceps

Another pic from the 2002 egg laying and hatching.
 

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LaRiz

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Scolopendra heros castaniceps

Another old pic from 2002, showing the babies that dispersed and gang fed upon crushed crickets.
john
 

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LaRiz

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And here is the pic I took today.
Post embryos are evident. So I guess the eggs were fertile!
I'm so happy :D
In no way was there a mix up. This is the only adult Scolopendra heros castaniceps in my household. All the others are either Scolopendra sp. "Puerto Rico", or Scolopendra sp. "Peru".
 

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Static_69

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wow!
looks like your pedes are egg laying machines!



Risto
 

Henry Kane

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Man John! That is pretty much breakthrough news man.
Excellent! I had a S. s. dehaani lay a brood after she had molted more than once in my care. Unfortunately she ate the aggs so there was no way to answer the same questions.
Wow, that is very very cool dude. Best of luck with the second brood. :)
Maybe I can try to get my dehaani to lay another batch too huh?


See ya.

Atrax
 

Mendi

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That's really interesting to know, and the pictures are great as usual!!! Good luck with the new brood and send me a PM when you're ready to sell them :)
 

Steven

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That's indeed very interesting :cool:
would you consider selling any of your plings overseas ? :D

greetz
 

Nikos

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I know this might sound to bizare.... but have anyone considered that the female didn't actualy stored sperm BUT it was fertilized from one of the small centipedes.

Since we don't know too much about centipedes and especialy about their reproduction, this option should be considered.
 

Wade

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There's also the possibility of parthenogenesis, although I don't know if that's ever been reported occuring with centipedes before.

I wonder if female centipedes only need to mate once in thier lifetime?

Wade
 

Phillip

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Wade beat me to it...

I was actually thinking today at work that parthenogenisis couldn't really be ruled out either since after all there is still much to be learned on pedes. I would definately keep a few of the babies and raise them not only to have them but to test the theory. Either way really cool news and congrats on the babies. Who knows perhaps if they do indeed store sperm that may be why they are such a pain to breed and so bad about killing each other. It may be natures way of keeping the numbers down. Very interesting news anyway though.

Phil
 

LaRiz

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I thought about parthogenesis, and I would lean more towards it. Thing is that they're natural history and reproduction is so mysterious.
Only more questions arise out of this. Parthogenesis is bizarre and amazing. It just blows the mind! Hear about the female Burm python that gave up a litter of healthies without mating?
Sperm storage cannot be ruled out too. We really don't know the mechanics of where the sperm is stored and what happens to this area when a 'pede molts. Do we compare them to the way tarantulas reproduce and this is what sets our minds?
john
 

Phillip

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I heard about the burm.

That was truly amazing with the burmese. Guess they don't know as much about those as they thought after all. :)

Phil
 

Weapon-X

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re

JOHN, congrats on a truly amazing discovery, that is one the coolet things i have ever read about simply amazing, if it turns out they only need to mate once in their lifetime that makes me wonder, imagine if sp. peruvian giants do the same now that would awesome, but regardless THAT is awesome:)
 

skolopender

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Hi John,
it's really interesting and i think (!) that i heard such stories already before that centipedes could store the sperm and are able to breed several times.... - but you're right as the reproduction of centipedes isn't really explored upto now, so parthogenesis is possible too.
How much plings did you got - accdg to the 2nd pic i guess more then 20 ?
 

Wade

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I have not heard about the burm, were all the offspring female as is usually the case with parthenogenesis?

I read an article a couple of years ago about a timber rattler giving birth to a parthenogenic litter that included males as well as females, which is really, really bizzare. Normally with parthenogenic reproduction, the offspring are essencially clones of the mother.

Wade
 

LaRiz

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I don't think it took long for people to realize that if this was indeed parthogenesis, females would be the sum. I've gotten many emails regarding the babies. Yes, I will be offering them here, as I did last year.
Also,
Hey Scott, can you please tell us how your doing with the babies from last years batch? I'd be interested in hearing how they're doing, how big they are etc.
Here's an update.
john
 

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LaRiz

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Update

The next step.
If I remember right this is where they become independant. If it's anything like last years babies, they won't leave momma until they've hardened up. Once they do, they have this magnificient blue coloration. Mom seems alittle worn out from this one, perhaps she's on her last leg.
john
 

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LaRiz

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Well, I guess it's that time of year again for my girl. Here's a rundown of this gal's history with me:
I aquired her in March '02 I recall.
June '02, she layed a clutch of eggs. The babies did fine and I still have two in my possession that are approx. 5" now.
March '03, she molted.
June 15, '03, she layed more eggs. They hatched in July 3rd, '03.
Oct. 8, '03 she molted.
Then, May 14, '04, I noticed that she made a bowl shaped depression in her substrate. I figured in order to make a nice spot for her to brood some more babies I'd have to provide a hide. I put it off for almost two weeks. Then I threw a towel over her entire enclosure, being the lazy f'er I am. Two days later...check the pic. This pic was taken today.
Now, if these hatch, which I'm guessing they will, parthogenesis? or super sperm storage?--even after two years, and two molts. We'll see, and of course, look for pics if they hatch.
john
 
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