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So it begins...

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Arthroverts, Dec 22, 2019.

  1. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

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    Hello all, today begins the grand experiment I am conducting within my millipede collection. What experiment you ask? I will testing to see if millipedes will survive and thrive on an artificial forest humus substrate, and contrast that to how will they did in my current substrate, which is made up of coco fiber, rotting leaves, aspen bedding, sphagnum moss, and rotting wood pieces.

    Why artificial? Because unfortunately I do not have a hardwood forest near me that is without possible contamination.
    What is in this artificial forest humus? Well, I recently found out that expanded hardwood pellets can be used as a wood food source, which means I don't have to worry about dragging 10 pounds of rotting logs down out of the mountains (which I actually don't mind, ha ha). I am mixing it with a little aspen bedding, collected rotting wood (to seed it with the proper microfauna), soil from my older millipede tanks, and a lot of rotting leaves when I get the chance (please let this collected batch be good, please, please, please...).
    Why do this at all? Cause apparently straight forest humus with a lot of extra wood/leaves is the best substrate for millipedes...
    Do you have any photos? By golly, what is it with all these questions?! Yes, I do have photos, I will update this thread as soon as I have uploaded them. Currently testing it with some spirobolid millipede babies (cause I'm paranoid about "cide" contamination), and then if they are all fine in a day or two everything else gets transferred in from my current 10 gallon communal that desperately needs a complete substrate change.

    Anyways, I will update y'all in a little bit on how the experiment goes. Those of you who have already done this (I'm looking at all you Germans...) probably know what the conclusion will be, but just thought I'd share.

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
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  2. Kiadaj

    Kiadaj Arachnopeon

    Interesting, I'd like to know your findings. I understand not having the resources nearby but you -could- buy or procure leaf substrate, I have seen it for sale multiple times in multiple places at a decent price. How much substrate do you need though, how much do you change it and how many millipedes do you care for?
     
  3. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    I've been meaning to try the expanded hardwood pellets for my Dynastes grantii larvae. How have you prepared your pellets? How long ago did you expand them - and did you add anything to them besides water?
     
  4. I can share some experience with this. I have raised Thai rainbow, Flame leg (Trigoniulus macropygus), and Glossy black pink leg millipedes (Dendrostreptus macracanthus) on a hundred percent base of fermented oak pellets (Traeger brand) for well over a year. I have always added rotted wood and leaves from coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia), canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis), and Englemann oak (Quercus engelmannii) into and on top of the fermented oak. I haven’t had a single adult death (4 Thais, 5 flame leg, 4 pink leg) since I’ve started using this mix. The Thai rainbows have produced over 100 babies in the last year or so. I am in the process of counting all the flame leg babies but I’ve already counted over 200 and still have some searching to do. I don’t believe the pink legs have reached maturity yet and I prefer to disturb them as little as possible but as of now I have not seen any babies through the clear sides of the container. I have also been using a thin layer of this same substrate for my rhino roaches (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) for over a year with nothing negative to report.

    To start fermentation I have used small amounts of wheat bran, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, oat bran, all purpose flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, and probably something else I’m not remembering. Depending on temperature, moisture, additives and how fermented I want the final product it usually takes 2 to 4 months to finish for me. I use 50 liter plastic storage bins and turn the soil every 2 to 4 days.
     
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  5. mantisfan101

    mantisfan101 Arachnoprince Active Member

    I use fermented hickory pellets and rotten hardwood leaves and every single one of my pets that eats hardwood has done really well.
     
  6. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    Far more than I can buy cheaply, that's for sure. That is why I've been trying to collect my own, but I am so sick of trying to crush coast, canyon, scrub, etc. oak (Quercus sp.) leaves. They are so tough and spiky, it hurts the hands to try and break them down.
    I don't know for sure, but probably in the area of 15+ adults and dozens upon dozens of babies.

    I actually have some wood in the process of fermenting, hopefully for some beetles/other stuff I would like to keep in the near future. I used this recipe:



    As for what I'm using for the millipedes I just added water.

    That is awesome, thank you for sharing! Do you have a recipe, or do you try something new every time?
    I know you probably get this a lot, but are you going to be selling some offspring in the future? You have three species I have been searching for for a long time...

    What brand do you use?

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
  7. I do about ninety percent expanded wood pellets to ten percent by volume wheat/rice/oat product, tsp of active yeast, and handful of already fermented soil. I usually just stick with equal amounts of wheat bran to wheat germ but am constantly trying new things on small groups of beetle larvae.
    I would be willing to sell you some offspring whenever you wanted. I’m in San Diego, so they wouldn’t have to go far. I’ve been hesitant putting them up for sale because of the cold weather but I doubt that would be an issue shipping them the 100 or so miles between us. Just let me know, I’m sure we can figure something out.
    I’ve recently made a couple bags of “kinshi” to try on some beetle larvae and am tempted to isolate a small group of millipedes and see how they handle a small amount of it added on top of their substrate. A problem with “kinshi” is if they don’t eat it/eat it fast enough it can spread throughout the substrate, possibly making all the substrate inedible.
     
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  8. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    Photos:
    IMG_1005.jpg
    I transferred all the rest of the large millipedes over. You can't see it, but below the leaves and frass from the previous enclosure is the above mentioned substrate. Tylobolus/Hiltonius sp. off to middle-left. Last of 3 or so that I had collected from various locales.

    IMG_1001.jpg
    Spirostreptus sp. "8" (also known as the Green Fairy Tail Millipede), Spirostreptus sp. "1", Anadenobolus monilicornis, and Narceus gordanus. The A. monilicornis were by far the most prolific species.

    IMG_0999.jpg
    The entire substrate in the previous enclosure was black frass=I waited too long to change the substrate.

    IMG_0995.jpg
    Comparing the two Spirostreptus species. The size difference is incredible.

    And that's all for now. I plan on adding in a lot more rotting leaves as soon as I get some more.

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     

    Attached Files:

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  9. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnoknight Active Member

    I actually stepped on a millipede a few days ago. I shed a few tears and felt so bad. Thanks for reminding me... XD haha

    I am rather curious about your experiment. I do not have any hardwood near me. I have noticed something interesting though. Those crimson and flat black millipedes live near or on the monkeypod trees by my house. I've seen the black ones eat the rotting bark and the crimson ones living in the decaying leaves on the ground.
     
  10. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    During one of my travels there was this wall by my hotel that would come to life with hundreds of brown, 2"-3" millipedes, various isopods, and Mediterranean Geckos: literally hundreds of millipedes, which was surprising considering how dry it appeared to be. One night as I was searching the wall I stepped on one, and a friend that was with me jokingly called me a "hypocrite". I felt bad, but also laughed to myself about what my friend had said. Pictures below.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a group of them feasting on a discarded banana peel.

    IMG-20181112-WA0031.jpg
    This one was found on the roof of a building over 100 feet straight up!

    That's not surprising; as shown above with the banana peel millipedes will take what they can get, ha ha. Rotting leaves also provide a good food source and make up the bulk of most spirostreptid millipedes diet to my understanding, and if the flat black ones are polydesmids like they sound then the bark and accompanying wood would provide all necessary nutrients for them. Do you know what species though?

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
  11. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnoknight Active Member

    I'm pretty sure the crimson ones are
    Trigoniulus corallinus and the flat black ones are either Asiomorpha coarctata or
    Anoplodesmus saussurii or Oxidus gracilis

    I'll try and get some pictures.


    I've also seen Paraspirobolus lucifugus, Helicorthomorpha holstii, Cambalidae (idk the species),
    and Spirobolellus (idk the species).

    Apparently Anadenobolus monilicornis was found here recently. I am rather curious about that as it is popular in the hobby. I thought I'd never be able to keep them here but it looks like I maybe be able to get one WC.

    See now I'd like to start keeping millipedes again. Last time it didn't go to well and I let all of them go in my backyard. Hehehehe now I've got tons of Trigoniulus corallinus roaming around. I've seen baby ones in the flower bed. I actually dont clean my flower bed any more because that is their current food source.
     
  12. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    So you've got a lot of teeny but beautiful species. Anyway, all those species are widely known for being very hardy as evidenced by their skill in getting established outside of their usual range, so that's not surprising they'd be feeding on rotting monkeypod tree material.

    What went wrong the last time if you don't mind me asking?

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
  13. Nicholas Rothstein

    Nicholas Rothstein Arachnoknight Active Member

    Hmm, I don't know in particular. I think that I killed some important micro fauna when I baked my leaves. And I also think that I did not provide enough calcium. They were overall very stressed out.
     
  14. The Odd Pet

    The Odd Pet Arachnosquire Active Member

    Beautiful species. I want Spirostreptus sp. 1 and 8 so bad but I can't find anyone selling Spirostreptus sp. 8 anywhere in the US.
     
  15. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    It has been noted by several serious enthusiasts and breeders that fully sterilizing the leaves is detrimental.
    Calcium (at least in its straight form) is not as important as I think it is passed off as, as millipedes don't have cuttle bones or eggshells to gnaw on in the wild like they do in captivity. Many supplemental foods can also contain calcium and serve as nutrition as well.

    I have literally found only one other enthusiast in the entire US with sp. "8". I reached out to her on here to see if we could do a loan or something to diversify gene pools and get the breeding potential out of my specimen, but I haven't heard back from her yet. Otherwise this species may disappear into the mist like so many others before it.

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
  16. The Odd Pet

    The Odd Pet Arachnosquire Active Member

    That's a real shame. They are so beautiful and big. At what size do they start breeding do you know? I may have found someone selling some along with a few other giant African species.
    I love how active my flame legs, Florida ivories, Orthoporus ornatus "Texas gold millipedes" and A. gigas are. I really thought I would love having (Acladocricus sp.) Philippine Giant Blue millipedes but they must be the least active species I breed next to bumblebees, Narceus americanus and Narceus gordanus.

    Are Spirostreptus sp. 1 and 8 very active?
     
  17. Arthroverts

    Arthroverts Arachnoprince Active Member

    Agreed. I am not exactly sure, but I think my female may be ready to breed at around 7"-8".

    Are you sure?? Can I PM you to talk details?

    Yes Acladocricus sp. aren't very day-time active, though at night they come up with regularity from my experience.

    Both sp. "1" and "8" are very surface active, I'd say about as much as Orthoporus sp. When they go through their molting cycle however they will stay underground for long periods of time.

    Thanks,

    Arthroverts
     
  18. The Odd Pet

    The Odd Pet Arachnosquire Active Member

    Yeah. Better to pm me so we don't clutter up this thread.
     
  19. AuroraLights

    AuroraLights Arachnopeon Active Member

    That's true, but in many habitats they would have access to limestone, chalk or other calcareous rocks. The more omnivorous species might even gain calcium from dead isopods or snail shells. And even if they're only eating leaf litter and wood there can be huge differences in calcium level depending on the species of tree, soil conditions and state of decomposition. Since millipedes in captivity can't pick and choose like they could in the wild, I personally think it's safer to just supplement them rather than gambling that the substrate you've collected will contain the right amount. Especially since we don't even know exactly what the 'right amount' is, and it probably varies between species anyway. If you're interested, I found some good papers discussing the calcium content of millipede exoskeletons and leaves/wood/bark/etc.
    Although I totally agree that natural sources of calcium might be better than more processed ones, I do think that some sort of supplementation should be provided, even if it's just to be on the safe side. It's probably not as important as protein supplements though.
     
  20. MarcoVincelli

    MarcoVincelli Arachnosquire

    USA
    Hello, is there any chance that I could message you? It says your inbox is full but I'd love to ask you a few questions!
     
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