Spinifer Breeding Program Newsflash: I’m up to my neck in scorplings
It’s 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 Mike’s requests I’ll have a go at table depicting the current breeding status.
Cameron Girls acquired October 2008 – 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 specimenProbable 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.
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 mother’s 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.