Lopaphus sp. "Cuc Phuong"
Cuc Phuong, Vietnam
Bramble, Hypericum, Eucalyptus gunnii (most favoured !!!), firethorn, beech, hazelnut
Adult length -
Females 9-11cm, males 7,5-9 cm
Ventilation is not very important, 1 ventilation strip is sufficient. They do like humidity so at least keep the bottom of the cage moist. Do not overpopulate the enclosure, they are extremely active and might disturb each other.
Incubation time eggs -
5 months or longer. Hatching rate is almost 90 %, keep moist though, otherwise hatching will be too difficult and legs will be lost in the process.
Experience with this species -
Very beautiful, large and shiny species. These are some of the most active phasmids I have ever come across. Legs are lost so easily, and it's extremely rare to have individuals which have not lost a single leg... Therefore it is best not to touch them at all, unless you really have to. Be extremely careful, I even had a female who had 2 legs left and did not want to give up !! Eggs are almost perfectly round and dark brown, almost black in colour, about 2 mm long. Nymphs hatch without any problems if the incubation container is kept sufficiently moist. Substrate can be anything from sand, peat, forest soil, paper towel, moss, ... as long as it will hold humidity it will do.
Nymphs are tiny, very thin and green. From the moment they hatch they already behave so hysterical by the slightest disturbance... Jumping, rolling, wringing, walking backwards... It looks like they are doing some sort of breakdance. Especially adult males take it there and drop to the ground to behave like crazy breakdancers. Lopaphus nymphs will grow into adults in 4 to 5 months, depending on the breeding conditions. They are not too hard to breed, except for the above mentioned behaviour and their talent to lose legs. Because they are so active, both day and night, they will disturb others during molts and there is the main reason you will lose individuals. If They are offered Eucalyptus, forget about all the other food plants-they won't touch them anymore. Once offered Eucalyptus, they stick with it (in my breeding at least) I even suspect it is really good for them since most animals in my culture still have all their legs. They must be some of the most beautiful phasmids in culture, the colour fade on both males and females is just stunning. An ink blue thorax fades out into a copper or gold-like rear end, also the head could be described as gold or copper-ish. Once the females are fertilized, they tend to get quite fat for such a long and lean phasmid. Once they start laying eggs you will be flooded, they literally lay thousand eggs during their lifetime. Eggs are just dropped to the ground. A female will lay more or less 50 eggs per week !!
A very interesting species that is not very demanding, could be a good beginner species but maybe not for children.
Last, I found out some females will become green and gold, not blue and gold. To me, these are the most beautiful ones.