Stag Beetles care sheet.
Stag Beetles are very territorial,
and should be house is a large aquarium, at least
15x 15x 15cm. They should be kept on a substrate
of shredded wood and soil slightly compacted down,
so that the females may dig a burrow if needed.
They have to have a rotting log with a bark still
on it berried half way in the substrate for females
to lay her eggs in. It is very important to have
high humidity and keep them at 26*C for the stag
beetles to be more active. For the maggots, it is
very important to provide them with more of a longer
terrarium to pupae successfully. If the maggot will
be kept in a too small of a tank, they will become
a deformed beetle or at best not pupae.
The best way to breed stag beetles
is, place a female into a large tank for a few weeks.
Then when the female comes out to feed, introduce
a male to her. They mate more readily if the pair
sizes are more similar. If the male comes from the
behind and starts crolling on her, then they may
mate for up to a few minutes. Care should be taken
at the introduction of the male point, as they will
some time try to bite the female in halph. If that
happens, carefully pry open male's mandibles with
your hands. Female will make tunnels in the rotting
wood to deposit her eggs, and cover the wholes with
substrate. The piece of wood should be removed every
month or so and replaced with a new one. Carefully
take out the white "C" shaped maggots
from the log, try not to touch them with your fingers
to reduce any type of damage, and place them into
separate containers with the same substrate and
wood that they were taken out of. Maggots are cannibalistic
so should be kept in their own individual containers.
Female maggots will get to L3 and wait up to 3 month
to pupae, males can wait up to a year.
General Beetles care sheet.
During the time you will get your own experiences,
however, these formulas don´t work universally
and often it is just a random combination of many
other factors - temperature, moisture, substrate.
It is necessary to realize, that for many species
in captivity you can´t compensate conditions
they have in their native land. Evidences of this
are lesser size of adults, their lower vitality
and activity and weak reproduction. Successfull
breeder means first of all to be patient and results
will come themselves.
It is hard to speak about general conditions for each specie, which could be valid for many generations- except those, that have constant imago size and reproduction such as genus Eudicella, Dicronorrhina, Cyprolais (Coelorrhina), with reserves also Stephanorrhina or Smaragdesthes (Chlorocala) from tropical parts of Africa. These beetles are tolerant to unsteady moisture, mainly in stage of prepupa ( first 2-3 weeks after larvae make cocoon) and their larvae have no special feed requirements and offer old leaf litter with some rotten wood ratio, oak (Quercus) or beech (Fagus) are taken like standard. Above-mentioned isn´t significant for famous Pachnodas. Pachoda species occur mainly in savannahs and the time of their appearance is more dependent on rotation of dry/rainy season. In breeding we have to reduce the moisture content of substrate in cocoon stage, not drain completely of course, and wait for 3-4 months, then dew a bit, which is signal for larvae to convert into pupas and after another 4-5 weeks should hatch adults. I said "should", because this method isn´t perfect and usually some beetles die.
An example, that breeding beetles is a real alchemy is sometimes a problematic breeding of Marmylida (Pachnodella) impressa - common in eastern parts of Africa. You must be very careful when larvae build their cells. If you let the moisture of substrate the same as for larvae, larvae will not want to convert into pupas and many of them die. Success brought method 3-1-2, 3 months quite dry, then a bit more wet for 1 month - then adults appeared and they have a rest for another 2 months inside the cocoon. Another problem is that adults start to lay eggs after 3-4 month, almost before their death!
Sometimes your breeding isn´t going well and you don´t know why, sometimes only first generation is complicated and then everything is easy, sometimes your friend find it easy and you cannot understand why, sometimes you are sure, that everything is perfect, and you fail... that´s what´s this hobby is all about.
Measurements should be equivalent to number and size of beetles, bigger are mostly better. Adequate substrate layer is more than 15cm and it is necessary to keep it evenly moist, especially when adults are laying eggs. On surface you can put stones and pieces of bark, which can hold the moisture and also help adults, when they turn upside down on their backs.
Temperatures and Humidity:
The temperature should be about 20-23C for larvae. Higher temperatures in general will shorter the life-cycle, but adults are smaller and usually die sooner.
On scale 1(dry)-5(wet) the best is 3- 4 like feed for larvae, 1.5- 2 in cocoon stage. Too wet substrate in cocoon will lead in better case to deformations of wing-cases (e.g. Dicronorrhina, Stephanorrhina), in worse case will lead to fungal and mould infection, mite infestation or death of pupa.
The quality of the substrate is very important to be successful in breeding beetles. So you have to select the components very carefully. Well rotten branches of deciduous trees (mainly quercus and fagus). It is in the right state if you can crush it to pieces with bare hands. Crushing the wood into small flakes works best if you use a flat edged shovel and a solid pail. Fresh wood is completely useless. Mix in some leaves from the last season. The leafs also have to be crushed into smaller pieces. You can also add a small amount of cow manure.
Here is what the substrate should look like (the
pieces should be at least this small or smaller):
Old rotten wood mixed with leaf litter (any deciduous trees) is taken like standard. For many species this isn´t ideal, but I can´t see any other alternative. Good additive is vegetable, especially lettuce, that doesn´t easily get mildew.
Banana is favorite among flower beetles, but they also can be offered pine-apples, pears or peaches. Fruit must be changed every second day and rather put it on glass porringer, not directly on substrate, otherwise you will soon have plenty of mites in it.
Sexing Beetle Larvae:
It is quite simple to sex beetle larvae. First,
they must be at least L3. Then, take a magnifying
glass, and take a look at their last segment of
the body. If it is a male, about 1/8 of an inch
down from the 2nd segment counting from the back,
you will see a little bump, with no hair on it.
Females do not have that bump. Ofcource this is
very time consuming, and i can understand why every
one sells larvae with out trying to sex them.