Question about rearing arthropods

Hello.

I have set up a terrarium dedicated to detritivorous species from Provence (in France) and I have two questions about humidification to ask connoisseurs in this area:

What method should be applied (duration, frequency, etc.)?

What if I want to add terrestrial gastropods?

Hi, a little more information may help people provide more informed answers, such as:

  1. Species of arthropod(s) and/or the target humidity range required by the species.
  2. Terrarium specs (e.g., dimensions, substrate, bioactive or not, inclusion of live plants).

General suggestions:

  1. Get a good digital hygrometer so you can evaluate if you are consistently staying within your target humidity range.
  2. Create a humidity gradient with areas of varying moisture. This can be especially important if housing more than one species, but is good practice even with just one. This allows the animals to move based on their needs. Absorbent substrate can be used for wetter areas and nonabsorbent substrate can be used for dryer ones. You will likely want a temperature gradient as well.
2 Likes

My lab rears insects in incubators, which I’m guessing isn’t possible for you, but there are other ways to maintain constant humidity. Misting with a spray bottle twice daily works for us.

As for terrestrial gastropods, I know these can be tricky. They like pretty damp conditions, but you don’t want their shells to mold. I’ve been told keeping a wet paper towel or some moss works, but I’ve had limited success.

1 Like

I have woodlice (Armadillidium vulgare and Porcellionidae), Glomers (marginata and esterelana), Julidae, cockroaches and Dendarus coarcticollis. (I would perhaps add predators to eliminate clandestine species).

I have the following plants: Fumaria capreolata, Vicia and Geranium. my terrarium measures 45x45x45. I didn’t really understand what defines a bioactive terrarium.

" 1. Get a good digital hygrometer so you can evaluate if you are consistently staying within your target humidity range."

I don’t mind but for that, I would have to know the humidity level that each species needs. the problem is that some of those present in my terrarium do not seem to have a breeding sheet, on the Internet.

I think that’s were the humidity gradient comes in. You can allow the animals to select areas based on their requirements. Assuming your measurements are in centimeters, sounds like your terrarium is large enough to allow for it.

If your species are found in moist environments in the wild, I would aim for a gradient of 60-90% relative humidity. I achieve this for my Cuban Treefrog by misting twice daily. If they are found is less moist environments, I’d aim for a gradient of 40-60% which will requiring misting every other day or once daily depending on the substrate. The live plants will help maintain the humidity too.

1 Like

OK, thanks for the details.

if I want to add snails (always from my region, what percentage of humidity is recommended?

Really depends on the species, but I’d say as high as you can without it getting too mildewy. Snails like to live in very damp to wet habitats: under rocks, inside rotting logs, etc. Some species should be allowed to dry out for a little bit every so often to estivate.

1 Like

I would love it if someone here could give me tips or reference material on how to rear Caterpillars. I’ve tried 3 times over the last couple years to rear moths to pupation in open air containers but they keep getting eaten by birds, even the ones that should be toxic. My fear is that the heat from closed containers will harm them or the leaf fodder I put inside
Maybe someone here is a fundi? I’d love to connect if so

I’m also wanting to learn how to propogate Coccineal larvae that feed on invasive Prickly Pears here in South Africa, something more to add to my retinue of alien control knowledge

I won’t go to specific species in mind but it would rather be detritivorous species like Pomatias or Oxychilus (still harvested in my region).

I was wondering if he was asking for the same humidity level suggested above (60 to 90%).

I don’t know about Pomatias, but I think that should be good for Oxychilus at least. Make sure to have some damp crevices for them to hide in. In the US at least they’re hardy invasives, so I’m guessing they shouldn’t be too hard to keep.

OK. for hiding places, can crevices in dead wood do the trick?

For the Pomatias, would you know where I could find the information?

Yeah dead wood is good, so long as it’s pretty damp. You can try looking up tips for Pomatias, but mimicking wherever you find them is probably your best bet.

OK. For pomatias, I often find them with woodlice and other scavengers. can we deduce that the same humidity level as these types of animals is suitable for them?

Sounds like a good start to me.

I have a question, regarding snails. The room where the terrarium is located is occasionally heated by an insert. can this be a problem with this type of animal?

I wouldn’t think so, but it depends on the snail. You’ll just have to try and see.

ok, i’ll give it a try and i’ll let you know (if other people are interested)

If you’re in South Africa, you might check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/caterpillarrg/ I think a decent number of iNatters are part of that group.