10/21/2021: Communal whipspider success
Continuing with another Florida updates (half a year later seems to be a good amount of time to see if projects take off or flop), I have some wonderful news from my Paraphrynus cf. cubensis communal.
The entity known as Paraphrynus cf. cubensis is a good-sized whipspider known from at least one location on Key Largo. Compared to the typical Florida whipspider Phrynus marginemaculatus, this species has a larger, leggier build, lighter coloration, and red pedipalps. The original identity was asserted to be Paraphrynus raptator, but according to some whipspider aficionados the two entities are not a match.
Collecting these was a bit agonizing, involving flipping set-in pieces of limestone rock in dense tropical forest, but with my own efforts and generous donations from other collecting group members I ended up taking home a fair group.
I have kept P. marginemaculatus communally before with good results, though due to a few key reasons such as lack of omnipresent tiny prey I didn’t have impressive results long-term. Working off this experience, I was more pro-active with ensuring an endless supply of mixed sized prey when setting up the cf. cubensis, now integrating several species of feeder insect in the set-up. Compsodes schwarzi, Parcoblatta fulvescens, and my special inbred fruit flies seem to offer the perfect suite of sizes and constant reproduction to ensure there’s food for every size individual.
Two months ago after lapsing on regular maintenance for a while I checked the enclosure and was exceedingly delighted to find multiple plump smaller instar individuals and some bulked up adults. An all-around success I’d say!
For other conditions, mostly dry conditions with about 1/3 of the substrate moist seems to hit the sweet spot for this species. We’ll see how they do with the dry air from the furnace in the winter, but fortunately high evaporation means I can flood the container frequently without worry of over watering!