Notes on the PSG Culture List
If the insect has not been fully identified, this column gives additional information, e.g. on egg shape or collection locality.
C = At least one established culture reported. T = Tentative culture. L = Lost (no cultures reported).
[Information may be out-of-date. It is possible that some of those marked as established cultures may have been lost. Please check this column before requesting livestock and make sure you do not request stock of lost cultures.]
S = Sexual. P = Parthenogenetic. P* = Parthenogenetic in culture, believed to be sexual in the wild.
W = at least one sex can fly or glide. w = Wings present in one or both sexes but neither sex can fly.
a = completely apterous – without wings
Female Size, Male Size
Average size of females and males is given in mm, excluding antennae and legs. Remember sizes can vary greatly in some species.
Where a species is known to have a very clear preference and difficulties are known to be common when other plants are used, the first plant listed is the preferred foodplant and is recommended for starting newly hatched nymphs; otherwise the list is alphabetical. The list is not comprehensive, most species which eat bramble will also eat hawthorn, pyracantha, raspberry, rose and other members of the Rosaceae, a smaller group prefer Privet and there are some species which require special food-plants.
A good food plant is one that is eaten and preferred daily at a good rate during the whole life of the insects; some plants may be nibbled but are not good as a permanent food supply.
If possible try to provide a mixture of different food plants, because if a single source becomes unavailable changing to another may prove difficult.
Ivy (Hedera) is NOT recommended for most species. Only a dozen or so species are able to manage the plant's chemicals as a main food plant (Saponine: a natural insect repellent/defence that causes irritation and digestive breakdown, followed by black sticky diarrhea and death). Species that will eat ivy should be offered it as little as possible
For species that may be difficult feeders in the first stages, especially Phyllium, a small computer-controlled fan that cause a little breeze every 15 mins can give encouragement to eat.
This column gives the number of the Newsletter or Phasmid Studies in which there has been a report on the culture.
Full reports in the Newsletter are shown by the issue number only e.g. 47.
A number in brackets gives the issue and page number of a brief note in the Newsletter e.g. (63:3).
Items in Phasmid Studies are shown by the letter P followed by the volume and page number e.g. P1:2.
Reports in Le Monde des Phasmes are shown by the letter M followed by the volume and page number e.g. M29:15, and those in Phasma are prefixed by a D followed by volume and page numbers; these are only given if a report has not appeared in Phasmid Studies or the Newsletter.
Air Humidity in the Cages
The following is a general guide to the preferences of species. The desirable conditions may vary depending on the age of the insects, in particular, adults and large nymphs may prefer lower humidity to small nymphs. If you are starting with a species which is new to you then check where the culture originated and find out what the natural climate is like.
1. High humidity required (i.e. almost fully enclosed). All Heteropterygidae and Eurycanthinae.
2. Quite high humidity recommended. Most species from tropical rainforests, e.g. Borneo, New Guinea, Java, Peru. However, very large species and winged species from these areas may prefer slightly lower humidity.
3. Low humidity essential (i.e. a very well ventilated cage, e.g. all netting). All European species (Bacillus & Clonopsis).
4. Lowish humidity desirable (known to suffer in high humidity): Cuniculina insignis, Extatosoma, Anisomorpha (All Pseudophasmatinae).
5. Moderate humidity generally acceptable. All other species.
6. Different people have very differing opinions/experiences with Phyllium spp.
7. To maintain proper air humidity in the cage spraying/misting in the corners, on the cage floor maybe needed, but not on the insects! - they obtain their water supply from the foodplants. For wet rain forest species a good layer of fresh potting compost may create perfect humidity so spraying is hardly necessary.
New Cultures not yet on the List
Please notify Ian and Mark Bushell and Judith Marshall if you have a species established in culture which is not on the list. To try to avoid confusion between similar species, new cultures will be added to the list once specimens of adults and eggs have been provided for the NHM Collection for future reference. Identifications should be confirmed by a recognised authority.