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home : 4.Eurycantha Calcarata ...

4.Eurycantha Calcarata

Eurycantha Calcarata care (Illegal to keep in Australia but OK in other parts of the world) sheet


This is a large semi terrestrial (as adult) wingless rainforest species that likes to hide under bark and in hollows of logs and in hollows of trees during the day. Suitable hiding places should be provided when kept in culture. Females attain a size of about 15 cm and males about 12cm long from head to tip of abdomen. They are an extremely tough species that feed on a wide range of food plants. They can be quite aggressive and defensive if not handled regularly (the males in particular) and have sharp spines which can inflict quite a bit of pain and sometimes draw blood. (the males have very large femural spines and will take up a defensive position raising their abdomen and use their hind legs to snap down and pinch or clamp onto a potential threat). They have very interesting behaviour for a phasmid and tend to form large congregations of individuals (when many individuals are kept together) when resting during the day in a suitable hiding place. They also like warmth and high humidity. Temperature should not get too low as they naturally live in hot and humid tropical rainforests.


Nymph care


Unlike adults nymphs generally live amongst the foliage and will accept a wide variety of food plants. Their favourite food seems to be raspberry leaves and blackberry leaves (bramble) and other rubus species as well as Oak but they will also eat ivy, tropical Ficus species, hawthorn, firethorn, rose and other plants in the Rosacea family. Be careful if you purchase plants to feed the nymphs that they have not been sprayed with any pesticides. I mostly feed my larger nymphs on a diet of wild Rubus and Ficus leaves. Other known foodplants are pear, apple, Rhododendron. cherry, strawberry, leaves. I feed newly hatched nymphs on garden raspberry as it has soft leaves and the newly hatched nymphs love it. After their first moult they seem to take just about anything. When putting the foodplant in the enclosure i used plastic water bottles to place the stems of the foodplant in. I then stuff a small plastic bag in the top of the bottle around where the foodplant stems are to plug up the top and prevent nymphs climbing down the stems and potentially drowing in the water.

They like a high humidity environment with a little ventilation and thrive in a warm humid environment. Temperature should not be allowed to drop too low. They also need a source of water as they like to have a drink every so often. This is best provided by misting the foliage of their foodplant daily and they drink the small droplets of water that form. They should not be provided with a dish of water like adults can be as they can easily drown this way.

You can also maintain humidity in a nymph tub by keeping a moist paper towel on the bottom of the enclosure of another trick i use is to get a small plastic dish and fill it up with aquarium gravel and soak this with water. The evaporation keeps the humidity heigh.

Adult care


Adults have a semiterrestrial existance and love to hide under bark, wood and in hollows and other places so suitable hiding places should be provided for them. Males will fight quite violently for dominance sometimes to the point of death so they are best kept separate from each other. Unless you have a very large enclosure (and even then its still recommended to have many more females than males). Keeping them in pairs is a good idea also. If keeping many in a very large tub its recommended to have 1 male for every 3 to 5 females.



They are very diverse feeders and love Rubus species and also Ficus species seem to be favourites but they will also eat Ivy and many other foodplants listed for the nymphs (plants in the family rosaceae). As with the nymphs they require warmth and high humidity. They will also eat other plants in the family Mytaceae such as guava. Possibly Eucalytpus and broad leaf Acacia also though i have not confirmed this.

The adults also need to drink quite frequently so a dish of water should be provided or regular (daily) spraying for them to drink. This also helps keep high humidity in the enclosure which they love. A good daily misting will suffice but if you don't plan on misting often then you should provide a water dish.

Housing


Nymphs need to be housed in a container with a tight fitting lid as they are good at getting out through any gaps. Younger nymphs have a flat body which makes them little escape artists if you do not have a secure fitting lid. Humidity must be maintained quite high in the enclosure for nymphs as they need high humidity to moult well and thrive. This can be done using a moist/wet paper towl in the bottom of the enclosure or be placing a plastic container in there with them and filling it with aquarium gravel and keeping the gravel wet (this is how i do it).

Adults need an enclosure at least 25 heigh to moult properly. Preferably a little higher. They need some hiding spots to hid in during the day and will cluster together in suitable hiding spots. A soil substrate about 4cm deep is necessary for adult females to lay in or you can provide a decent size container filled with soil for her to lay in also. Adults also requite a high humidity environment. With a little ventilation.


I use plastic storage tubs for both nymphs and adults. Smaller storage tubs for the nymphs with tight fitting lids and larger storage tubs for the adults. I cut out part of the lid and i glue fly screen over the cutout to give them a little ventilation.


Breeding, egg laying and incubation



Females lay about 400 eggs in soil that are placed beneath the soil surface about an inch deep with the females long and strong ovipositor. This needs to be taken into account when keeping adults and breeding by providing the females with either a container of soil for them to lay in or a soil substrate on the bottom of the enclosure at least 4cm deep. The eggs hatch after about 4 to 6 months. They can be left burried in the soil where they were layed and kept moist and warm until they hatch or they can be dug up or sifted out of the soil and incubated on the surface of moist soil, peat, sand, or sphagnum moss making sure the subtrate never stays wet which can cause mould and they also need to be kept warm, a heatmat is useful for this. The occasionally spraying to keep the eggs and substrate moist is all that is needed. Good ventilation should be provided if eggs are being incubated on the surface of the substrate. This can be done by fastening fly screen over the container in which the eggs are incubating on the chosen substrate. If left in the soil in the container in which they were laid the substrate should be kept moist and warm. The nymphs can dig themselves out of the substrate. For this purpose soil with beneficial micro-organisms such as humus rich soil you find in the bush or rainforest is very good as the beneficials prevent any mould problems with the eggs. Do not use sand as a subtrate as the nymph cannot dig themselves out. Loose friable soil is best such as that found in wet forest and rainforest rich in organic matter and the beneficial micro-organisms that eat mould.


Alexander Karas (AKA; The Green Man)