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Thread: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

  1. #1
    Contributor berksmike's Avatar
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    Default An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    Just thought I'd post about a species I started breeding as an experiment but had success with - Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). They make a great alternative to crickets and fruitflies and my dart frogs have readily taken the the first few instars.

    The bugs I breed are from a laboratory strain that can be raised on sunflower kernels. The native bugs feed on the poisonous milkweed and so should not be used.
    I have been raising them in a plastic container with a stainless stell mesh over some of the lid to provide ventilation (note the mesh should be fine as the hatchlings are very small).
    They are raised on dry kitchen towel with cardboard egg crate to hide under. A small plastic container filled with wet cotton wool provides humidity and a container with dry cotton wool is used as a laying medium. They are kept at 25-30C and at this temperature it takes around 5 weeks from hatchling to adult. Adult bugs are up to 20mm. Up to 4th instar are readily taken (although I mainly use the smaller bugs for the darts). Apparantly the adult bugs are not taken by frogs because of their taste.

    Here's a few pictures:



    Adult bugs feeding



    Adult bug, hatchlings and eggs (orange) on cotton wool balls



    Hatchlings and eggs
    0.0.2 Ceratophrys cranwelli
    0.0.3 Dendrobates azureus
    0.0.4 Dendrobates tinctorius "Alanis" (tads)
    3.3.0 Epipedobates anthonyi (+tads!)
    0.0.1 Lepidobatrachus laevis
    0.0.4 Pyllobates terribilis
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya imitator "Chazuta"
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya vanzolini
    0.0.6 Xenopus laevis

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  4. #2
    nicodimus22
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    Default Re: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    Quote Originally Posted by berksmike View Post
    Apparantly the adult bugs are not taken by frogs because of their taste.
    These aren't toxic? I thought that most bugs with bright yellow or orange markings were poisonous in some way.

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    Contributor berksmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    The bugs develop their toxicity from their native host plant - milkweed. These are raised on sunflower kernels and so are not toxic. Similar to how dart frogs retain their colours despite not being fed the bugs from which they indirectly derive their toxin in the wild.
    0.0.2 Ceratophrys cranwelli
    0.0.3 Dendrobates azureus
    0.0.4 Dendrobates tinctorius "Alanis" (tads)
    3.3.0 Epipedobates anthonyi (+tads!)
    0.0.1 Lepidobatrachus laevis
    0.0.4 Pyllobates terribilis
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya imitator "Chazuta"
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya vanzolini
    0.0.6 Xenopus laevis

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    100+ Post Member Kisa's Avatar
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    Default Re: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    This is a great post Mike, thanks for sharing your knowledge! I'm sure lots of people have learned something new they can use for themselves!

    I love posts like this.
    0.0.2 Litoria caerulea
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    Default Re: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    I really like the look of these. Need to get hold of some. I wonder if they have a different name here in the US? In the mean time, I've promoted this post to an article because it's great! Thanks Mike.

    John
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

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    Contributor berksmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    No worries John - just thought it might be useful. Dont know of any other names for them. You do need the laboratory strains that feed off sunflower kernels
    0.0.2 Ceratophrys cranwelli
    0.0.3 Dendrobates azureus
    0.0.4 Dendrobates tinctorius "Alanis" (tads)
    3.3.0 Epipedobates anthonyi (+tads!)
    0.0.1 Lepidobatrachus laevis
    0.0.4 Pyllobates terribilis
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya imitator "Chazuta"
    0.0.3 Ranitomeya vanzolini
    0.0.6 Xenopus laevis

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