Monday, 28 April 2014

The rainbow stag beetle, Phalacrognathus Muelleri, care sheet















  
Adults
Temperature ~23-28C. 
Humidity: High. 
Can be kept in small containers, if no breeding is required. If you  keep your beetles in small containers, better to keep them individually or at least in pairs, male and female.  The aggressive males will kill other males and the same thing may happen with females: aggressive females may kill other females in a very small enclosure.  For big groups it is better  to keep them in large containers with lots of hiding places created by placing pieces of wood or bark on the top of the soil. The beetles spend most of the day time hiding underground, and often become more active in low light conditions. They will escape if they have a chance, so the box should be kept tightly closed, and a few pen-size holes need to be provided in the lid or the top part in the side of the container for better air circulation.

They feed well on banana or other ripe sweet fruits or beetle jelly.  They seem to like banana more, perhaps due to a high protein content. Some breeders believe that adults of these species require a lots of protein and add some yogurt into the mashed banana.  I feed them with my home-made beetle jelly (http://beetlesaspets.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/jelly-for-tropical-beetles-at-home.html).  


Breeding 


     Initially I had a massive issue with mating my first rainbows. They were placed into a properly organised large container designed for egg laying and after six months of waiting I discovered no eggs:(.  After several discussions on forums I came to the conclusion that the major male (with massive horns), could not simply catch the females which were normally hiding underground. The solution was to place them in a small enclosure with no hiding places and provide food in one spot.  Male normally feeds and guards the food at the same time, so catching hungry female for him was not a problem in the small box. Egg laying setup is pretty much the same as for many stag beetles: decayed oak or beech log partially buried into garden soil or mulched wood. The female burrows the hole inside of the log and deposits eggs, simultaneously filling the hole with mulched wood and with parts of the substrate. If mulched wood or fermented flakes are used to fill the box, the female may lay eggs in the substrate too, normally in the bottom layer. If there is more than one female in the container, they may clean up each others holes to lays their own eggs. After about 3 months logs are carefully split with a knife or a screwdriver and the larvae are removed. Eggs can also be removed and placed in the tubs filled with the larvae substrate. 


Larvae

Mulched white rotten oak will be sufficient to produce minor healthy adults. However, to grow major adults, good quality fermented wood or even better, kinshi substrate, are required. I found the procedure making kinshi a bit disappointing,  as every 3rd tub I made with kinshi was contaminated, and the procedure itself was rather time- and resource-consuming. Some hobbyists use dog food
 as a supplement to grow bigger larvae, but I did not like this approach, as it attracts parasitic mites. In the late L3 stage the larvae  will create the pupal chamber and transform to the pupa. I found that the rate of survival of the pupa is much higher if pupa is transferred into the artificial pupa container, which I normally make from floral foam. After beetles come out of the pupa, they will stay in their  cells inactive for a couple of weeks and then they will be ready to mate again.


homemade kinshi
To see more photos of beetles, please visit my flickr page at
You can also contact me via beetlesaspets@gmail.com regarding any related issue and availability of these beetles.


13 comments:

  1. Hello, how deep is the substrate for mating? Thank you!

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  2. 10-15 cm from the bottom to the log is fine

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  3. I want to buy rainbow stag beetles in a mating pair in the U.S. What's my best bet.

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    1. Hi, I am not sure that these are available for sale in the US; I also understand that some states do not allow importing of certain species of beetles, so this needs to be considered as well before purchasing them.

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    2. Yeah, I'm in the US and I was hoping that this site would come to use for me at some point.

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    3. Please contact me via beetlesaspets@gmail.com regarding this

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  4. Ordering beetles from online sources outside the U.S. (such as Taiwan or Japan) without a PPQ permit is a violation of the Plant Control Act. Personally, I believe that the definition of "plant pests" in the Act is constitutionally overvague, particularly because the larvae feed on rotten wood and the adults feed on rotten fruit. Although wood and fruit fall with the statutory definition of "plant," the definition for "plant pest," in pertinent part, is an organism that directly or indirectly "injures" a plant. It is not clear to me how consuming rotten wood or a rotten fruit "injures" it, since it is already in an "injured" or worthless state. The verb "injure" is not defined in the statute, so I assume courts would resort to a dictionary definition. At least two people have been caught and fined for importation of beetles under the Act.

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    1. Typo: Should be "Plant Protection Act," not "Plant Control Act." See 7 U.S.C. § 7711, et seq.

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    2. Stag beetles are okay I've called and asked already

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  5. thanks for the info,
    I have seen several discussions about this issue, and some sources are saying that for example in California many beetles, which are considered beneficial, can be imported without any permit. Interestingly, the whole family Lucanidae (stag beetles) is allowed in this list of beneficial insects:))) Here is the source http://pi.cdfa.ca.gov/pqm/manual/pdf/111.pdf

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    1. "One of these exemptions is for beneficial or
      useful insects of common occurrence in the state" A direct quote from the statute. Please note the latter part of this sentence that stipulates the species of interest must already occur commonly in the state. Interstate movement of any organism will be under federal restrictions. California law cannot supersede federal law if it is restricted under Federal statutes.Also intrastate movement is different from interstate movement.

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  6. I've been looking for pair of rainbow stage beetles for months now but they seem to be impossible to get hold of in the UK, any suggestions of where I can find them?

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