9/30/2021: Chorisoneura parishi- Florida’s holy grail?
It’s time to magically travel back in time to this spring’s Florida trip. There’s still much to say and share about the experience, but most importantly are the roaches we found along the way.
As usual I was mostly after Arenivaga, considering bug-collecting master Alan Jeon was among our ranks and anything else of interest would certainly be uncovered by his expert skills. We had discussed collecting other hard to find roaches, such as Plectoptera, although that genus, especially species picta, has always been elusive.
On our first Florida trip, we sweep netted up a very odd tiny roach in Homestead, Florida, which we could not for the life of us figure out until Alan’s sleuthing figured out it was different species of Chorisoneura than the more easily found and native texensis. These tiny Chorisoneura parishi may be the smallest Ectobiid we’ve encountered, and on that note it’s hard to believe a family of relatively small roaches isn’t a candidate for the smallest species in collectors’ hands (that honor currently belongs to Nocticola sp. “Malaysia”). I still remember the horror of watching that then mystery cockroach climb out of the collecting container and disappear beneath the motel’s sink… This has definitely flashed through my mind on all subsequent trips when admiring catches hastily.
Alan was able to sweep net about half a dozen large Chorisoneura parishi, an admirable feat out of season and in rather cold conditions. He entrusted me with these and threatened grave physical harm should I fail to culture them, a price I was very willing to pay circumstances notwithstanding.
I’m proud to say to this day I am `100% physical intact with respect to this gambit, and my parishi colony is doing better than my texensis attempts ever have. Being a tropical species there seem to be few obstacles other than raw temperature blocking parishi from continuously breeding in captivity, while texensis this may be directly a factor but more indirectly as your options for working with that species are either working with as many wild caught nymphs of mixed size as you can get during their natural dormancy in the winter or scrambling to contain the hundreds of teeny tiny babies wild caught adults produce… assuming you can opening the container without all your adults flying out. I will give texensis another honest go when I can, but for now I’m happy to report such success with parishi as this subfamily of Ectobiidae has always been a bit of a challenge to figure out.
For captive care, consistently dry and well-ventilated conditions are necessary. Cold and moist conditions will lead to lack of vigor and deaths, not to mention the lingering condensation in those conditions will drown all life stages. Dryness is handled better than one would expect from such a tiny roach, but the smallest nymphs have good desiccation resisting behaviors and I often find them bunched up in old apple peels, crevices in dog food, etc.
I can’t say this species is for everyone due to my experience with their preferred conditions, however they seem to be an ideal candidate for multiple species enclosures as this whole time the colony was housed with my Bantua robusta “Namibia” culture and both are thriving (I may do a blog on that species eventually). Their small size and situational delicateness means they shouldn’t affect larger roaches in any notable way, and the locations we’ve found them are usually overrun with Cariblatta sp. and Neoblattella detersa so they probably don’t contribute to any significant stress on roaches of similar size and ecology either.
For a common name, I’m still floundering to dissect Chorisoneura. Texensis is the Texas small yellow roach (or something close to that but just as nondescript and verbose), but again I’m trying to standardize common names into a “species-genus-roach” format. From what little I could find chorisos- seems to be a prefix meaning spread out or thin, and -neura means pertaining to nerves (in this case the veins/”nerves” on the wings), so perhaps Parish’s thin-nerved or spread-nerved roach will stick. Any input on a definitive meaning for chorisos- would be appreciated! I’m getting tired of Google auto correcting my searches to chorizo…