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 Heterometrus spinifer

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LXDNG79
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Location : Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
Registration date : 2008-10-16

PostSubject: Heterometrus spinifer   4/3/2009, 6:14 pm

Hello all. I should have posted this a long time ago, but my I've been busy at work. In October 2008, me and my wife went herping in the Cameron Highlands for the weekend. There I found a dealer who sold me 10 H. spinifers: for 10 ringgit each which is the approximate equivalent of under 3 US dollars per scorpion! They were due to be preserved as souvenirs so they were kept in the worst possible conditions. Nonetheless, I was given freedom of selection so I chose 4 males and 6 females that seemed the healthiest. They were some of the biggest Hets I've ever seen.; Giganto, one of my males:
This is a pic of one of the females on my hand: -

Following Mike's advice, I overhauled the contents of my 4ft divided tank: 2 males I had prior, a sub-adult WC and my growing brood of scorplings (Whew!) in order to house the females individually.

My biggest female who I've affectionately named Sidney is absolutely voracious. I'm working on a good feeding clip of her launching out from under a hide to seize a cricket at the other end of her cubicle. This gorgeous dame munching down on a cricket is Portia...

The others I named Isabelle, Roxanne, Helena & Eleanor

After much deliberation I decided to house the males communally. I had a 2 footer that I fitted with two, carefully chosen pieces of wood that would provide ample hiding spaces.

The wood had good sized crevices for even a scorpion their size to squeeze into much to their delight as a strategic ambush spot:
This one had broken tarsus of the chela but was otherwise relatively healthy.

This pic shows the back of the tank that provided an ideal view behind the log hide for easy monitoring.

A closer look behind the hide.

After some initial but thankfully uneventful squabbling and a generous supply of food, they evidently settled down and were comfortable enough to huddle together as shown in this pic:


Currently the adults are being nursed into well-endowment for breeding. I'm taking my time before attempting to introduce them. It is a possibility that many of the females are already pregnant. Meanwhile the kids are growing steadily into each moult. Now we'll just have to wait and see and hope.


Last edited by GS on 11/30/2011, 12:11 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Updated title)
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PostSubject: Re: Heterometrus spinifer   4/3/2009, 6:25 pm

Yesterday (3rd April 2009), One of the Cameron Girls surprised me with this...


This is Helena, inhabiting the 2nd cubicle of the 4ft divider. I haven't counted them yet as I've decided to leave her and the babies be after this pic was taken. I hope to leave the babies in there to see if maternal behavior sustains into 3rd or 4th instar as depicted in the wild.

Just as I was inspecting her I caught glimpse of Eleanor in the 1st cubicle. She's a bit difficult due to her hide, but i managed to see that she too has given birth to a brood of young. This is m second breeding success wtih H. spinifers (st was Angie) and to have 2 at the same time is wonderful to say the least.
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PostSubject: Re: Heterometrus spinifer   4/7/2009, 12:18 am

Enclosure Maintenance
With the babies set to be weened, I thought it would be best if applied a fresh layer of coco peat to give them ample burrowing substrate. This was done precariously, as Helena's hide leaves her quite exposed.

I did my best not to stir her but she reared up her claws in annoyance as I was matting down the coco peat. I also avoided spraying water in direction while I was giving her cubicle a good mist down.


This is the latest shot of Helena with her brood. Eleanor is tougher to take snapshots of cause there is no direct view of her when sheís bunkard in. I can only manage to get a partial glimpse of her through the hide cross section up against the glass divider. That was the only means of knowing that she popped.

In Cubicles 3 and 4 are Roxy and Isabelle; the latter is somewhat visible and is probably my smallest female.

Both of them look plumped but their status is still pending. Between them, Roxy looks the most promising.

Cubicle 5 and 6

Cubicle 5 was Dusunís original home but since she was still 7i, I displaced her for Portia (previously pictured eating a cricket) who was wed to Ted: one of my males that I sold to a friend. Both of them are now with him. As a result Dusun is back in her original home and all grown-up.

Sheís due for plumping and sub sequentially coupling.


Finally, Sidney in cubicle 6 is my largest and most voracious female.

I donít have a tendency to handle my scorps unnecessarily but I took her out just to vividly portray her colossal size which is aptly matched by her feistiness.

Her robust appearance has led me to wonder if she might be different Heterometrus species; probably petersi or laoticus. I took a close-up of her carapace for a positive ID.

Thats all for now.
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PostSubject: Re: Heterometrus spinifer   4/9/2009, 7:13 pm

News Flash 8th April 2009 - the babies have molted to 2nd instar

Easy there girl, Here's a clearer shot at the kids...

won't be long now
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PostSubject: Re: Heterometrus spinifer   4/28/2009, 7:06 pm

Spinifer Breeding Program Newsflash: Iím up to my neck in scorplings
Itís been awhile since my last update as uni gets understatedly insane towards semesters end. As of late, the count for birthed females has arrived at three. As predicted, Roxanne popped a week later. By Mikeís requests Iíll have a go at table depicting the current breeding status.
Cameron Girls acquired October 2008 Ė housed individually in the above-pictured setup; no captive courting induced (most likely mated in the wild).
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Cubicle 1: Eleanor birthed 03/04/09;birth count unknown young currently free-roaming at 3i; avidly tunneling; extra substrate added; supplementary bark hides added;

Cubicle 2: Helena birthed 03/04/09;birth count unknown (approx 40 babies); young currently free-roaming at 3i; avidly tunneling; extra substrate added; supplementary bark hides added; sibling cannibalism has been observed on weakened individual

Cubicle 3: Roxxane birthed 11/04/09;birth count unknown (approx 40 babies); young is weaning at 2i and occasionally wandering.

Cubicle 4: Isabelle
suspected to be gravid from wild; normal eating habits.

Cubicle 5: Dusun unmated female specimen; caught at 6i molted to adulthood; pending decisive courtship

Cubicle 6 Sidney
huge female specimen; with wide carapace and chela of impressive size; voracious and feisty; confirmed as exceptionally large H. spinifer specimen


Probable Trajectory
The current aim of these proceedings is to determine the duration by which any mothering female retains maternal behavior towards young. It is understandable that some offspring may cannibalize each other and due to the enclosure it is difficult to monitor the status of the entire brood in terms of remaining numbers. Proceedings are subject to decisive altered course of action for each captive-hatched brood.

Observations
:
Inspections during feeding have revealed in each case for both Helena and Eleanor; that the mother is quick to seize any given prey with deadly precision. Tossed-in crickets are ripped to shreds and placed next to the scorplings which at this point have congregated in the far back corners of the hide/nursery.



It has been theorized that young scorplings will feed on scraps of the mothers kill or any insects of manageable size wandering into the burrow. Observations have revealed however that the mother actively crushes and mildly masticates prey for her babies; as depicted in these pictures. Helena's nursery is the most visible in terms of behavioral observations



On one occasion when shredded cricket was received without immediate feeding response, Helena would uncannily rouse her brood; as if to ring the dinner bell, waking the kids for a feed. The young have a hearty appetite and will crowed over a large cricket meal in visually communal feast among siblings

Throughout this time, both mothers have shown a distinct inclination to provide for her offspring before attending to her own nutritional needs; rarely ever finishing a full-meal. It is possible that maternal instincts effect to suppress the motherís appetite for food. Needless to say, it is unlikely that mom has munched on her own.



Over the days, the increasing independence of the young, finds them lurking at the edges of the hide, assuming the same ambush position as their parents do in self-made burrows.



There is evidence that the young have tunneled the extents of the individual enclosures and may even access the neighboring enclosures via a small gap at the bottom of the tank divider. It is uncertain if there is habitual cannibalism or tolerance between young of different broods.
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PostSubject: Re: Heterometrus spinifer   5/23/2009, 8:49 pm

With all my uni work, the task of posting is starting to bear down on me but I figured this is long overdue.... the story so far.

The three batches of scorplings have weened and an overhaul was used to extract them. Extraction date is in pic. They stayed with mom for over a month. During this time the young were starting to show greater independence from the mother and have made their own subterranean residents. Time to fly the coup.

They are being housed in these clear plastic tubs that were not easy to find (seriously) but ideal and versatile





About last week my 4th female Isabell popped and the young have since molted to 2i

Yes I'm up to my neck in scorplings
Up to my neck in scorplingsThe babycount sits briefly at:
Brood E: 36
Brood H: 34
Brood R: 21
Brood I: approximately 30-40
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