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 Damon diadema Caresheet.

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Scorpion19981000
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PostSubject: Damon diadema Caresheet.   4/15/2012, 2:01 am

Order: Amblypygi
Family: Phrynichidae
Genus: Damon
Species: diadema (Simon, 1876)
Common Names: Tailless Whip Scorpions, Whip Spiders (Their common names are derived from their antenniform legs.)

Anatomy:




Origin and occurrence:

Damon diadema occur along the African east coast and further inland in Tanzania and Kenya.
Individuals of this species are found in tropical rainforests but also in savanna-like areas and caves.
In some Kenian caves near the coast Damon diadema and another amblypygid; Euphrynichus amanica occur together, however the former mostly inhabits areas near the entrance and the latter in deeper areas of the caves, with constant darkness. However, Damon diadema is not a strict cave-dweller, they simply wander into those caves from forested areas.


Distribution of the genus Damon:


Size: Average body length (Not including pedipalps) is around 1.5 inches. However, Amblypygids have no terminal molt, so these animals grow their entire lives, so it's not uncommon to find individuals with body lengths around 2 inches. As with all Amblypygids, Damon diadema have extremely long legs that can be up to several times their body length. They can have antenniform spans of nearly a foot. (30cm)

Lifespan: Their exact lifespan isn't known, but they are fairly long lived. There have been reports of them living over 15 years.

Cage Setup: As they are arboreal, Damon sp. should have a tall/vertically oriented cage, with large, upright pieces of cork bark for hides. The bark is also important for molting, as they almost always molt while hanging upside down or on a vertical slant. Even though they are arboreal, they do sometimes hide under flat pieces of bark or stone on the ground. One of mine even dug a small scrape under it's water dish.


"Kritter Keepers" should not be used to house smaller individuals, because they can fit through the slots in the lid. In my opinion, a 5 gallon tank should be the absolute minimum size tank for an adult. I recommend having at least a 10 gallon, as they are very active and can get rather large. (I have my two juveniles in a 20 gallon tank, and they use every inch of it.) Tailless Whip Scorpions are unable to climb smooth surfaces such as glass.

Captive Conditions and Information:


Temperature: Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, no heat source is required. Although they are from tropical areas of the globe, these animals are nocturnal and spend most of the day hiding in relatively cool, dark areas. They seem to be most active at moderate temperatures, such as the low to mid 70sF (20sC) There are no specific temperature requirements for this species. Whatever temp is comfortable for you will be fine for your Damon diadema. In addition to that, why spend extra money on a heat source if you don't have to! If you already have a heated "invert room", there is no harm in keeping these animals at slightly elevated temps.

Humidity: Damon diadema require high humidity, at least 75%. A large, shallow water dish should always be available. This will also help keep the humidity up. Rather than a wire screen top, I would partially cover the top with plexiglass to help maintain the required humidity.

Because of the high humidity and restricted ventilation, their enclosures are prone to mites (Acari), mold, and other things that are undesirable in any enclosure. Obviously, this calls for routine maintenance in their enclosures. (E.g. Picking up dead crickets, etc.) I recommend using Isopods in tropical enclosures. Isopods will eat dead, uneaten prey items, thus keeping mites and mold to a minimum. Amblypygids also rarely eat Isopods, and non-predatory Isopods (such as Armadillidium species) pose no threat to the Amblypygids themselves.

Note: Damon diadema can tolerate fluctuations in humidity as long as it does not get too dry. They can even withstand a complete drying out of the substrate for a short period of time, but this should only be an extreme condition. (This is not recommended! NEVER keep this species on dry substrate unless it becomes necessary to do so!)

Substrate choices: Coco peat / Coco fiber (e.g. Exo-terra plantation soil) This is a good choice for substrate because it holds moisture very well and is able to maintain required humidity. You could also use peat, however, there is a risk that the peat could be contaminated with pesticides.

Other Information: Damon diadema is often falsely sold as Damon variegatus, but one can be quite sure that it is in fact Damon diadema if the animals originated from Tanzania, since Damon variegatus has only been described at Lake Tanganyika in the Mahale Mountain National Park. A distinguishing characteristic between these two species is located on the ventral side of the pedipalp's trochanter. If two spines are present it will most likely be Damon diadema, if only one is present it could in fact be Damon variegatus (and some other possible species).
Click the following link to see the difference: https://2img.net/h/i554.photobucket.com/albums/jj419/SeiterM/differencesdiademavariegatus_zpsc50b9910.jpg

Feeding: I feed my Damon diadema once every 7-10 days. They capture prey by crushing the prey item with their spiked pedipalps. They do not possess any venom. Good prey items are crickets and B. lateralis roaches.

Behavior: These animals are nocturnal, wander around in darkness and feel their surroundings usind their first pair of legs, which have evolved into highly sensitive "whips", which are called antenniforms. I find Damon diadema to be much more active than other arachnids. (Such as spiders and scorpions.) I often see mine walking around, especially if the room is relatively dark. These animals can also be very fast, particularly when they are still relatively small. When startled, they run sideways in short bursts of speed, with one of their antenniforms pointed in the direction they are running. Damon diadema are very social, I have not had any casualties because of cannibalism - even during molts. However there might be some potential for aggression amongst adult males. (The males may need to be seperated after reaching a certain size, because they might react aggressively to other males.) Again, if you notice aggression between certain individuals, they should be separated.

Sexing and Breeding:

Sexing: Sexing Damon diadema is easy. The pedipalps of the males are much more elongated than the pedipalps of the females. This sexual dimorphism is apparent from 4th instar. The male's pedipals will show a quicker growth than the female's.
Female: (Photo courtesy of Spinnen_Tom)

Male:


Breeding: When males and females are kept together they will most likely mate. A sure sign is the finding of spermatophores. Some time after mating the female will deposit a fibrous sack of eggs out of its opisthosoma, which will be placed underneath the opisthosoma with the help of a fibrous secretion. After hardening this will form a hard eggsack. Now comes the time in which a good balance of humidity is needed! If kept too moist the eggs will rot and if kept too dry they will dry out. Dead eggs are colored black and in most cases the other eggs will die off, too. In this case the eggsack will be thrown off after some time. The females carrying an eggsack should not be fed too much, because a swelling of the opisthosoma could cause the eggsack to fall off. Females carrying an eggsack should be kept in a well-arranged enclosure to make the collecting of the young easier.

After a while, the young emerge, they are clear and the limbs are not fully developed yet - these young are called Prenymphae. These will climb onto the opisthosoma; some even stick to the underside if there is insufficient place elsewhere. Later the young molt to autonomous, prey catching young with fully developed limbs, which will leave the mother's safety. The young can be brought up together in enclosures with many hideouts.

Molting: As with all arthropods, Amblypygids grow by molting. No terminal molt takes place, so these animals grow all their life, but obviously the intervals between molts get longer in time. They normally molt upside down, or on a vertical slant. Amblypygids can also regenerate lost limbs during molts.

Recently molted Damon diadema:
 

Pictures of the shed exoskeleton:
 


The same individual next molt (Male):
 

If anyone has any questions or concerns about the caresheet, feel free to send me a PM or contact me by email.

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Last edited by Scorpion19981000 on 2/24/2013, 9:35 pm; edited 27 times in total (Reason for editing : Updated information, addition of new pictures, etc.)
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