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Millipede Advice

Discussion in 'Invertebrates General' started by Dragoness, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    We are trying to breed out African Giant Millipedes (Archispirostreptus gigas) at work, and I have already sexed them, to be sure we do have both genders represented.

    Does anyone here have experience breeding those (or can direct me to a detailed carehseet, or person with experience on breeding them)

    My bosses tell me these things are difficult to breed, according to other institutuions, but I have managed to find many resources that say otherwise. I would not exactly call them entirely credible, as most of them seemed to be blogs or personal websites.

    Anyone know a good invert forum/board where I might get some answers from people who have successfully bred Giant African Millipedes?

    Many Thanks in advance
     
  2. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    Hey, how is this project going for y'all? What do y'all plan on doing with the babies? I have been trying to hunt down someone who has some for sale. Sorry, I don't have any advice on breeding them. From what I have read, as long as the temps are right and there are two different sexes you, should get babies.
     
  3. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, we did succeed in sexing them - or at least we believe we did - if I read correctly, the male has gonopods on the 7th segment or thereabouts, and the pedes we have definitely have very different looking parts on the 7th segment.

    We are breeding them because we want to keep them in our collection, and now that they aren't being imported anymore, our only option is to breed them ourselves, or buy from someone else who does. We might conceivably trade off some of the offspring to other zoos for unrelated individuals to maintain genetic diversity. If I'm lucky, I will get a few of my own to start with.

    At the moment, we have them set up in a 10gal tank with about 6 inches of moist soil, into which I have mixed leaf litter, and a bit of calcium dust. There are live plants, flat bark, and other places to hide, and a steady supply of semi-rotten vegetables (cucumber, melon, apple, sweet potato - I also bury some of this to allow it to rot further). Ambient temp is usually at or around 78-80*. I have not witnessed copulation yet, but they are certainly spending a lot of time together (most likely, that is happening at night, when we are not there to watch.). The cage is heated by means of a human heat mat, rather than light. I'll keep you posted on any progress we see.
     
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi Dragoness, you may have already got the info you need, but here`s another website with info on keeping/breeding these animals: Royal Alberta Museum
     
  5. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Most of the websites I have found say all you need to do is provide both genders, adequate food, and it WILL happen. I have kind of compiled what I have learned (and most of the resources I have found tend to agree on what needs done) and set them up accordingly. I'm glad the zoo put me on charge of this particular breeding project - I have very little confidence in my bosses, sadly. They have had previous breeding projects fail, and I can tell you exactly why. Thankfully, their only instructions for this were "Do anything and everything YOU think necessary to get them to breed!"

    You saw how it was set up - and they two are interacting a lot, but being mostly nocturnal, all the important stuff is probably taking place at night.
     
  6. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I think the zoo would be a much better place if YOU were in charge, (you could take your favourite animals home, then! (And I could come and take mine, too)... Good luck, as always.
     
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Sometimes I am inclined to agree - especially within my own department. I have a lot of respect for the other keepers - they know what they are doing, as far as I can tell, but I do not agree with the way my department is run - too much personal opinion from uninformed individuals making the decisions....

    Millipedes have been together for a few weeks now. Everything I have read says their eggs are laid within the feces, as the young eat the feces to get their gut flora growing, so no soil changes from here on out to avoid disposing of eggs and babies, as the feces look like dirt. Good fertilizer for the live plants I expect...

    They are eating a TON, and being "exceptionally social" for an invert.... Maybe It's just wishful thinking on my part, but I think this story will end in success.
     
  8. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    My fingers are crossed for you and your special project! If anyone can do it, you can Jen!
     
  9. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    I`m with David, if anyone can, you can, I expect you`ll soon be hearing the patter of THOUSANDS of tiny feet. (Start wearing ear protectors, it could be deafening)!
    Good luck...
     
  10. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    Diplopoda.de - Die Tausendfüßer-Seite Is a good forum it's German but has an english area. If you have both sexes it shouldn't take long just provide plenty of half rotted hardwood and some calcium. An don't clean out the cage many Millipeds wrap their eggs in what looks like poop and well partly is. The babies will be very small and stay underground for a good time before you ever see them. It even could be that thier already there.
     
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Well, they (The female I am assuming) have excavated a hole/tunnel in the cage.

    I have provided leaf litter, pieces of bark, live plants, shallow water dish and a steady supply of half rotten fruits and vegetables (cucumber, apple, melon, sweet potato), half of which is buried in the soil. I have mixed calcium powder into the soil as well.

    The pair were introduced on December 3rd.
     
  12. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    Everything your doing is right on the money. You should start to see them pairing soon withing 1-2 months. You'll most likely over look the babies untill their a bit bigger I would say about 6-8 months and you'll have a load of 1/2-1" little millies running around. If you do end up having to clean out their cage just keep the old flooring somewhere and keep it moist. Whatever eggs are there will still hatch, Just finding room for even a few buckets of flooring can be a pain.
     
  13. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    I don't think there will be any need to change out the dirt, though if I do, I will be sure it is saved. Since these pedes are at work, I can find a place for the dirt pretty easily. We have plenty of suitable places to put them. We are hoping to encourage other institutions to breed theirs as well, so we can all trade babies, and keep a genetically viable captive population since the US no longer allows them to be imported....
     
  14. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    Very cool! I hope it all goes well for yall.
     
  15. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well, we had a bit of a potential setback. We noticed the male pushing at the lid of the cage, so we taped it down (duct tape, actually) only to find he still found a way out (we still are not sure HOW) and managed to find, of all things, a glue trap... I noticed him missing from the enclosure first thing in the morning, and he had been in there when I left work the following night. So he hadn't been out long. The glue trap, and floor surrounding it were coated with that goo they secrete when bothered.

    As luck would have it, the glue trap was already mostly full of crickets, and old and dry on the bottom. The sides however were still sticky, and he was gooped in two places. As luck would also have it, that dye/odor stuff they secrete when stressed also seems to negate the glue.... none of his legs were stuck, only two parts of his back, and we managed to free him with a q-tip and olive oil, without losing a single leg (we have practice getting things out of traps - small snakes get stuck in them all the time....). Put him in a small hospital tank with damp paper towels, and other than being covered with oil and that ooze (we gently wiped off as much as we could), he was acting normal, drinking, and eating, and even pushing at the lid of THAT tank. We have been watching him closely for 3 days now, and so far so good. I'll continue to keep you guys updated.
     
  16. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    well, the male died. We are still keeping the female in that cage - how long do you think before we can remove her to her exhibit? We intend to keep the dirt and incubate it in hopes there are eggs in it.
     
  17. MadDog

    MadDog Elite Member

    I am sorry to hear that he died. I can't answer your question, but I still wish yall all the luck in the world! I have my fingers crossed.
     
  18. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    we are not sure if it is old age or glue-trap related.
     
  19. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Today, I was cleaning in the cage, removing old food, etc, and found what I suspect may be an egg. It was small - slightly smaller than a pea, round, and glassy and yellow, and at the moment clear. It looked very similar in appearance to the eggs of other species of millipede we have breeding here. Only saw one, but didn't disturb the soil too much either.
     
  20. David McConley

    David McConley Elite Member

    Good luck Jen! I am keeping my fingers crossed for you also.
     

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