Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Videos, Emperor Not Mature

So it seems I was incorrect when I earlier stated that one of my male P. imperator matured - I flooded them out of their burrows tonight and still saw three subadults. I'm guessing the exuvium I found was an older one that had been pushed out of a burrow.

In other news, I uploaded several videos to YouTube last month and never posted them here. There's several of my attempts at mating Uroctonus mordax as well as some clips of second-instar Centruroides sculpturatus on the female's back.

They can be found at my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/mrmordax

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Centruroides sculpturatus Mating

Last week, I separated the second-instar young from my female Centruroides sculpturatus. Yesterday I brought her and my two males to work with me; she was in one container, and the two males in another. I traded her places with one of the males to prepare for a trade later in the day.

She had not eaten since before I got her, but the male I introduced her to quickly sought out her chela. Within a few minutes they were performing the Promenade à deux, which continued for roughly half an hour. They were not disturbed by moving the container around to show my colleagues what was going on.

At one point, my boss walked in, so I lifted the container up to show him. I distinctly recall seeing them still grasping chela when I reached for them, but by the time my boss saw them they had separated. I glanced in and saw a spermatophore on the bark.

More photos are available here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Uroctonus mordax Spermatophore

I brought the spermatophore in to work on Wednesday and got a few closeups under the microscope. Very interesting and bizarre.

The larger version of this picture is available here, and a few more shots can be found in this gallery.

I've also uploaded several videos from Tuesday night's attempts to my YouTube account, including one of male D's rejection.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Notes, Part II

Male B, female 3:
Male observed sexually stinging female. Following morning, no spermatophore found. Pair separated, will attempt again.

Male C, female 4:
Spermatophore found in morning. Pair separated.


So I don't forget what happened tonight.

Uroctonus mordax mating attempts:

Male B, female 3:
Male approached female under bark, male later upside down hanging from bark, pair later upside down, no promenade observed, male coaxed female onto bark. Upon examination for spermatophore, pair separated. Male later returned under bark, last seen as both under bark (male's rear protruding), cannot tell if pedipalps are grasped. Will leave overnight and examine for spermatophore in morning.

Male C, female 4:
Male initially very confused about where to grasp female; wrong pedipalp and leg, metasoma and leg, both pedipalps wrong while sitting astride female. Eventually gave female a brief sexual sting in the membrane behind the left chela. Unsuccessful sexual sting behind right chela followed by extended sting behind left chela (greater than ten minutes). After this observed extended promenade a deux -- sometimes grasping one pedipalp, sometimes both, a few instances of cheliceral kisses on the part of the male observed as well. Male walked both across provided bark and bare substrate. No spermatophore observed as of yet. Will leave overnight and examine for spermatophore in morning.

Male D, female 5:
Male did not notice female's burrow initially. When directly introduced, female came partway out. Apparent standoff ensued, with both specimens metasomas raised and periodically waving pedipalps (video forthcoming). Female briefly grasped male's pedipalps. Pair separated to prevent injury; male now believed to be large subadult as opposed to initial assumption of small adult.

Centruroides sculpturatus:
Several juveniles wandering off female. Majority swept from female's back prior to moving her to a separate container. Will hopefully separate all second instars tomorrow evening. Current brood size estimated at >20.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Centruroides at Second Instar

Right on schedule! A week after birth, the latest brood is molting to second instar. A better picture as first instars:

And a picture my fiancee took last night, the majority having molted:

(The scaled-down version doesn't do it justice, click here for the full version.) The one on the "shoulder" of the female's left pedipalp was trying to wriggle free of the last of its exuvium. I think the "humpbacked" one towards the upper-left of the pile is also in the process of molting.

I have another male hopefully arriving today, and a potential exchange lined up -- the new male for another gravid female.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Male Emperor Matures

Last night I scanned over a few tanks with my blacklight and discovered a disheveled pile of exoskeleton in my subadult emperor tank. I momentarily thought that one of my males had been cannibalized, but my fiancee thought it looked more like a molt (she was right).

I'd noticed a few weeks ago that one of them was getting incredibly fat and heading for a molt. It seems as though I was right! Unfortunately, he's too far back in the burrow to get a good look at, and the tankmates trampled the exuvium to the point that it's not worth displaying.

The female I recently acquired (see two posts down) seems to be doing better with her grain mites. Most wild-caught emperors seem to give birth in the spring, so if she hasn't had a brood by then, I'll try putting a male in with her. (Hopefully the other two will mature by then to improve the odds.)