10/5/2021: Arenivaga updates
It’s been about a month since the Arizona trip and I have some favorable to good updates on the Arenivaga I’ve collected!
Overall the cultures have been doing well in captivity. To guarantee success most have been getting daily checks (compared to the usual 10-21 days checks I do on my other colonies) and this has helped me stay up on proper humidity. The goal is to get all the cultures established by next September, a tall order but one I think is doable.
One potential problem I’ve encountered is some sort of parasitic fly that has clearly emerged from some of the roaches. However… I have not noticed more than one or two deaths in all the cultures combined, so it’s possible the flies could be feeding on the fat bodies inside of nymphs and thus not doing damage to vital organs before emerging in a way that doesn’t harm the roaches (too much). I have been culling the flies as I find them but I may go through the effort to preserve one for identification.
The fewest individuals I was able to collect came from Deming, New Mexico, where I called upon the roachy powers that be to give me extra strength to overthrow concrete slag solo while William sat dying of heat in the car. Despite finding an initial cluster of 3 nymphs and flipping many slabs of concrete, I walked away from that locale with only 5 Arenivaga. I’m happy to report the 3 large nymphs were 2 males and one female, a good ratio for getting a pairing despite their size. The 2 smaller nymphs have molted once or twice which is very promising too.
A random adult female I found while passing through Fort Stockton has been producing ooths, and it will be nice to have a few more Texas species to round out the captive stock. While very similar to more numerous individuals I collected in Monahans, the physical distance between them and different geography gives me the hope they’re different species. As always, they will be maintained as separate cultures and labeled appropriately regardless.
The Animas Arenivaga, a personal favorite for the uniquely barren and volcanic environment they’re found in, are doing the best out of any set I’ve had. We collected maybe 5 on the first trip, maybe a dozen on the second, but at least 20 this time around and the Allee effect is very noticeable. How they’re able to survive and thrive in one of the harshest habitats I’ve visited is mind blowing, though the nearby fields which seem to be used for agriculture occasionally may lend a hand in keeping their population afloat at times.
That’s it for now; I’ll begin taking pictures as I get more comfortable with the establishment of each colony.