Home | Insects | Pitfall Traps – Part 2 – Caterpillar Hunter Beetles in the Terrarium

Pitfall Traps – Part 2 – Caterpillar Hunter Beetles in the Terrarium

In Part I of this article, I discussed how we can use simple pitfall traps to capture nutritious foods for pet reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.  While writing, it occurred to me that one of North America’s largest and most interesting beetles, the caterpillar hunter (Calosoma scrutator), often turns up in such traps.

Interesting but Ignored

Caterpillar hunters exhibit many qualities that render them ideal terrarium subjects.  They are large, bold, diurnal, brightly-colored, voracious predators, temperature-hardy and breed well.  Despite this, like most US natives, they receive virtually no attention from hobbyists.  Caterpillar hunters are, however, much in demand elsewhere – on my last visit to Japan, entomologists at the Tama Zoo (which hosts a huge building and an outdoor exhibit for insects) assured me they would accept all that came their way.

Natural History

Our native caterpillar hunters are mostly large and brightly-colored, and spend the day searching for insects and their pupae.  Over 2,000 species (Family Carabidae) roam our forests, fields and parks, with 40,000+ having been described worldwide.  One, the forest caterpillar hunter, was imported to the USA from Europe in 1905 to battle gypsy moths.  The grub-like larvae of most are also predacious, constructing burrows from which they ambush passing insects.

Caterpillar hunters are the most numerous predators within many habitats.  Calleida decora, for example, achieves densities of over 5,000 individuals per acre on US soybean farms.  Much favored by farmers battling the velvet bean caterpillar, a single beetle may consume 7-10 caterpillars each day, and each female produces 800-1,000 eggs.

Captive Husbandry

Caterpillar hunters make fascinating terrarium subjects.  Clad in beautiful iridescent colors, most are not at all shy about revealing a range of interesting behaviors.  They do well at normal room temperatures and can be housed in planted terrariums or simple plastic enclosures.  Adults hibernate during the winter, with some species reaching at least 3 years of age.

I have bred two species in captivity, and it seems likely that many others would be equally cooperative.  Caterpillar hunters can be fed crickets, newly molted (white) mealworms and their pupae, waxworms (which, being caterpillars, are a favorite!) and wild-caught insects.

As certain species defend themselves with irritating secretions, caterpillar hunters are best handled with gloves of tongs.

Further Reading

An interesting account of caterpillar hunter behavior is posted at

http://books.google.com/books?id=Qv0SAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA3-PA103&lpg=RA3-PA103&dq=Calosoma+scrutator+appetite&source=bl&ots=Hblglvy188&sig=z1NFPCmeytF-oh_OGWMvdmNZsak&hl=en&ei=WhNlSozhN4HaNpOD0Z8M&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9.

 

 

Caterpillar hunter image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Fritz Geller-Grimm

Caterpillar hunter larva image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Gyorgy Csoka, Hungary Forest Research Institute, Bugwood.org

181 comments

  1. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Lately I’ve been noticing beetles spending more time in substrate regardless of the temp day night humidity etc. Im thinking that they might be accllimating to northeast spring because they’re from FL. Do you think its normal? Should I be worried? It would be ashame if I have to dig them up the tanks are looking very nice with growing live plants. I do know based on what I’ve read they are active between May/November.
    Best wishes
    Noel

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      You make a good point…for herps, at least, we know that temperature tolerances vary
      within the range; for example, a green anole from s Fla cannot survive n. Fla’s cold snaps; an eastern box turtle from Va could not make it through a winter in upstate NY; insects may follow, but we know less.

      However, being indoor, even near a window, would likely moderate this in your case. I would leave them be – while temp and humidity are impt considerations, we really do not know enough about the many other factors that influence behavior; it would be impossible to make an educated guess as to what else, if anything, might be going on. I do recall that in the large exhibit mine varied widely as to when they were out and about.

      Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    Hello Frank’
    Im happy to report that my beetles seem to be doing well they have been occassionally emerging 1 or 2 at a time and devour whatever food is nearby and then they procceed to hide again. So far they have demonstrated their hardiness. I think these beetles make great pets in a terrarium setting. It dosent take too much work so far.However the critical moments are yet to come such as extreme summer heat followed by next winters deep freeze.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the update; good to hear. Depending on their age and temperatures, they may become dormant in the winter or stay active if warm enough. Hard to say how that would affect lifespan….Chinese Mantids, as you’ve likely experienced, may survive into December indoors. Caterpillar Hunters have longer natural lifespans, so it will be interesting to see how yours fare.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    Hello Frank.
    They are still going strong I lost one 2weeks ago I opened tank to feed at night they were active one climbed on a plant and took off out the window they are very strong flyers. It was fascinating to see it fly off like that.The rest seem to be doing well since its been cool out they spend much time underground but have been emerging actively running around but i havent seen them feeding even though I keep them supplied with waxworms in tanks and feeding the occaisional semi smashed cricket. Do beetles feed underground?
    I have also been able to maintain 3 other species of carabids that I probably mentioned earlier kept in same tanks as Searchers. I ‘ve also started on a third tank housing one Calosoma a small conlony of termites a couple of unkown cricket nymphs another small carabid.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for that great observation! Always surprising when they fly (especially near an open window…I once lost a beautiful (and very expensive) tropical mantid in that way! Well, I’ll bet he/she will find a place to live and a mate, probably in Van Courtland Pk by now!

      They will feed below ground, most observations are above but makes sense.

      If you could get the termite colony going, you could have a whole new business for yourself – dart frog keepers would snap them up I’m sure!

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  4. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Sorry for your loss I know how it feels being expensive adds an extra blow. Now that the weather is warmer they tend to emerge from late afternoon through the night to run around and fly in tanks. Still watching one of the tanks where activity is less. The third tank has only one which finally emerged last night to feed. The termites are still kicking in a four to five inch soil/grassy with wood substrate. Any additional insight on maintaining termites? When you had the Calosoma did they spend lots of time in substrate during warm weather?
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

  5. avatar

    Hello Frank

    Its been a long time I hope all is well.I want to let you know that indeed C.srutator estivates in warm/hot weather deep in substrate kept semi damp. Occasionally 1 or 2 will come up for food. I will definetly keep these hardy beauties around for a longtime. Great pets for beetle lovers.

    Best wishes
    Noel Morales.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Nice to hear from you and great to have confirmation that caterpillar hunters slow down during hot spells. Thanks very much.

      FYI, I group of European land snails that I collected for a friend have been in aestivation for 4 weeks or more.

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  6. avatar

    Hello Frank. Dropping by to tell you that my Calosoma beetles are still alive hibernating in soil. Very hardy,this past summer was quite productive found various carabids a thriving ant colony not sure what sp. they are meat scavangers eating dead insects etc. I kept a snowy tree cricket alive for 9weeks sheltering on live cat nip possibly nibbling on leaves also fed on sugar water honey and tiny insects. I also had third generation field crickets and a first generation of Carolina ground crickets which laid eggs for next year. Best Wishes Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      So nice to hear from you again…wonderful news, thanks! Very interesting to hear that the snowy tree cricket consumed insects…did you mix these into the sugar water, or did the cricket catch them?

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Hello Frank
    I kept the snowy tree cricket in one of my present living terrariums,which I planted some catnip. The tiny insects aphids.mites etc were established in tank. The sugar water and honey were seperately used via water dropper on plants. I also kept a broad winged tree cricket. Oecanthus latipennis. our recent snow finished him off. In this tank I had other live plants but found both tree crickets singing on the cat nip. Thanx for the quick response always my pleasure to share my observations. My computer was down for a while hence my delayed responses.

  8. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Keeping tree crickets can be a bit of a challenge. However once they get comfortable it gets easier. In a 10+gallon tank with established live plants in organic soil. Herbs are good like the catnip. This is yet another species one can keep on windowsill to make their habitat as natural as possible. They will chrip most of the night for up to 9weeks. I had my snowy tree cricket till Nov 2nd stopped chirping Oct 28th. Thats my own new record. Sweet liquids are key they are also known to eat small caterpillars according to Audobon society North American insects & spiders. Best Wishes Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks for the info. Great that you can keep them going so long; I always like to keep track of how long various crickets, katydids call outdoors. Indoors, I’ve had Chinese mantids survive until early December.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  9. avatar

    Hello Frank.
    Yesterday I took a nice long hike up in Pelham and discovered that there are still some crickets chirping away. Allards ground cricket ( allonemobius allardi) Carolina ground cricket (eunemobius carolinus) and Jumping bush cricket ( orocharis saltator).The ladder is a bush/tree inhabitant which was a surprise to hear even after our early snow. In previous years I’ve heard a couple of katydids as late as mid nov. True katydid and Greater angular winged katydids. Back in early Dec of 98 I heard a Black horned tree cricket chirping on ragweed. Best wishes Noel Morales.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks…so nice to hear about these. Glad to see that I’m not the only one keeping track of such things. I always try to note “earliest” and latest” times I’ve heard/seen various insects. Some that start singing by day in late August are, for me, the first sign of autumn’s approach. Older Japanese plays and even movies often used insect sounds to signal seasonal changes; the friend who explained that to me was very surprised to hear of my interest.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  10. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Indeed singing insects play an important role in Japanese culture. The earliest I’ve heard in May was the spring field cricket (gryllus veletis). I’ve heard various tree crickets in July as well as ground crickets and Oblong katydid. In late july through august as you know everythig peeks. Recently I discovered a Pink spotted sphinx moth in my house 1week before our early snow. According to various sources this species is migratory. Does nt even reside in New York that was quite a surprise. Photographed and released strong flyer. Best Wishes Noel Morales.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel, Frank Indiviglio here.

      Thanks…that moth is quite a find! Too bad more folks do not watch and record insects as is done with birds…a few years of “insecting” in NYC would yield more species than most birder’s life lists! As a child, I used to try to catch ruby-throated hummingbirds with my butterfly net (they were regular visitors to our garden in the Bronx, back then). Once I did make a successful swing, but my captive turned out to be a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth…opened a whole new world for me.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    Hello Frank
    I have a rough draft list of the insects i’ve encountered over the years.There are still species that I need to add to it.What would be the proper way to compile this list into something tangable? Wow thats awesome that you’ve encountered a clear winged hummingbird moth. That must have been an experience.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

  12. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Thanks for the suggestion I never looked at it from that perspective. It would be an opportunity to share my experiences with our local bronx inverts. I’d be glad to show you samples of list and you can give me some of your insights. I will also keep in mind Lou Sorkin and give him a call or email.
    Best Wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks…It would be very useful to get your info out in circulation, I think. I have lists of herps, mammals, birds and fishes sighted on the grounds of the Bx Zoo as well, maybe we can coordinate something.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Hello Frank
    That sounds like a good idea just let me know how
    we can get it together and I’ll get started from my end.
    I have to do some research and make sure things are properly IDed etc.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales.

  14. avatar

    Hello Frank
    I thought about it and decided to send you what I have via email. Where should I send it? Give me a couple of days to review and send it. Basically its going to be the common name followed by scientific name. Will it need dates locations photos etc?
    Best Wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks, you can send to findiviglio@thatpetplace.com. Just the list, in whatever form is easiest for you, would be fine… I don’t have a place to publish it now, but would love to see it for my own interest and share with others who I know would appreciate it. Perhaps I’ll write a blog article on NYC inverts in the future, would be great to have it on hand for that as well.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    Hello Frnak
    Do with it as you wish as long as my name appears on it.:) It would be an honor to be part of one of your articles or blogs in that capacity. To be able to share with others that would appreciate would also be an honor. I’ve always done this for pure love and enjoyment of these fascinating creatures. Always something new to learn.
    Best WIshes
    Noel Morales

  16. avatar

    Hello Frank
    I’ve been going through list and Its gonna take some time to get it together because im still comfirming some IDes through Bugguide.net where I have some pix. Its seems smaller than I anticipated.That is awesome about interest from museum. Just bare with me for a moment again thanks my friend.
    Best Wishes
    Noel Morales. Ps if you get a chance go check out my pics on Bugguide.net they are part of list.

  17. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Thanks for checking out my pics on Bugguide.net Indeed they are a great resource for IDing bugs from one’s own experiences. Im finally working on compiling list it will take a bit more species being added to it. I hope it will be a benefit to you and others. Thanks for your patience.
    Besst Wishes
    Noel Morales

  18. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Its been a while I want to let you know that my beetles are still alive and still hibernating a couple are visible in bottum of substrate through glass. I also presently have these small very shiny black carabids fairly active even when temps are between 30s & 50s. My ant colony still thriving in soil complete with winged individuals also visible through glass. I have’nt had a chance to work on rest of list which are inverts which im still in the proccess of at least getting right genus.
    Best Wishes
    Noel.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks…so much of interest; It’s a shame that so many people miss the chance to work with the insects that are right in front of them. You’re an inspiration…I’m looking forward to spring, hope to get out and look around this year,
      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    Hello Frank

    Your welcome my friend I really enjoy this stuff . Today I observed a shiny black Staphylinidae about 9mm hope to ID very elusive also a 7-8mm Carabidae with shiny dark brown elytra another unkown. I’ve been putting fragments of sardines and for the first time raw chicken fort ants beetles and sowbugs. Calosoma still cozy in soil. Wish I could do this for a living.
    Best Wishes
    Noel Morales. PS hope to be going out to park soon to do some winter hunting.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel

      Thanks for your interest the note; some of my best times in the zoo world were in caring for inverts; esp. unidentified species that arrived from southeast Asia when we set up JungleWorld; but for pure invert work in the USA, Cincinnati Zoo is the place. I spent a week with the staff of the insectarium there and was floored. Hope you get to see it, if you’ve not.
      I heard a cardinal trying out its song, and have crocus buds in a sunny, south facing patch, very promising…good hunting,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  20. avatar

    Hello Frank

    Your welcome Id volenteer just to experience encountering new creatures not limited to insects.I got to go out on wednsday to Centeral woods up in Pelham bay.I heard a great horned owl for the duration of the hike as well as various birds not sure of species. Didnt get to really find any inverts I did take a good amount of leaf litter for my terrariums which really enriches soil and comforts my beetles etc. I also encountered budding young sweetgum trees. Will be going out soon. Whats the best way to clean glass from inside tanks?
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks for the update; nice to hear that the owls have started…Great Horned Owls lay eggs in Feb, I’ve heard them there in past as well; once had a chick that someone picked up near Orchard Beach, raised it at the Bx Zoo.
      Bx Zoo reptile house used volunteers in the past; not sure about now but I could email a phone number to you if you wish; invert ops very limited though – a few exhibits at Jungle world, Congo, and butterflies in summer.

      Vinegar/water mix works well for stains, hard water marks etc., on glass; I used for amphibs and inverts w/o incident, but always made sure to wipe off quickly and avoid spilling into soil.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    Hi Frank

    Thank you for the heads up on vin/wat.solution it worked well. Tanks seem to be doing well keeping them cold til spring. One of the tanks is lively with the black carabids and staphylinae I mentioned before also woodlice pinkesh milipede and ant colony. Calosoma still deep in soil moving slightly.Looking forward to tanks in spring , already planted with seeds. It would be great to possibly volunteer at the zoo I’m sure it would be a rewarding experience.Thanks again my friend. Will keep you posted on any new finds in the parks spring seems so far away.

    Best Wishes

    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks glad to hear it worked; has been very useful to me in zoo exhibits, where windex and such could not be used. I look forward to your updates,

      Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  22. avatar

    Hello Frank.
    I’ve gone out twice since I last wrote to you. I’ve encountered a couple of hibernating click beetles 1 larvae which may be soldier beetle or carabid. A couple of metallic green bees/wasps stingless all found in rotten wood in Centeral wood in Pelham. The owls are present spring birds making a come back and for the first time I spotted 2 deer.I am also happy to report my Cat.hunters are doing well one just emerged eating a piece of sardine at moment. Indeed beetles very hardy.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morale.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks, great that the Cat. Hinters came through the winter…will be very interesting to see how they do this season. Deer…I’m still always surprised, despite how adaptable they are. I‘ve seen a few near the Bx/West border, but not in the Bronx…who would have imagined, back when we were kids, that deer and coyotes would be living in the Bronx! They have spread into central Nassau Co as well.

      I was poking around a swamp in N NJ yesterday…many centipedes and all the usual suspects out, did not see peepers or spotted salamanders at night, but I’m sure they are on the way soon. On Feb 17th, I came across the snapping turtle pictured in this article...basking in shallow water, small pond just off the Hudson River, N NJ. They are know to be cold tolerant, but still surprising to see.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Finally got to witness a couple of my Calosoma beetles mating. Interesting to see if larvae actually hatch and grow. Got a chance to get out to Van Courtlandt last week and spring peepers were out.I also found a few black carabids a couple of glow worms. This week with the comming warm temps hope to get out to Hunters Island to explore and maybe collect. Will definetly keep you posted.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel

      Great news, thanks! I tried an amphibian pond on Friday, in NJ, but no luck, good to hear peepers are out in the Bx. I look forward to hearing about the larvae, good luck,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  24. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Im happy to report that my caterpillar hunters are still doing quite well I’ve wittnessed yet more matings still waiting to see if any larvae are produced the cool weather has slowed them down so larvae may take some time to appear.I’ve heard spring peepers in Pelham bay too when we had that unusual warm spell. This late spring early summer I hope to actually set up 1 or 2 pitfall traps and see what happens will let you know when I do this have to find the right spots.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hello Noel

      Thanks for the update; I was just going to write you re a question from another reader…when you have a chance, please let me know what salamanders have you seen in Pel Bay/Van Courtland, Thanks,

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Red backed salamander(Plethodon cinereus)which I’ve found in both Van courtlandt & Pelham bay.Its a very distinctive species. I’ve probably encountered 1 or 2 otheres but can’t be sure of species. I will definetly keep an eye out for other salamander species and let you know.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales.

    • avatar

      Hello Noel,

      Thanks very much; that’s what I usually saw also. Dusky Salamanders once, and there was a tiny, localized population of 2-Lined Salamanders that a ranger once showed me.

      Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  26. avatar

    Hello Frank its been a while please forgive me for delay.Unfortunatly i’ve experienced 3 loses of adult beetles so far. I did acquire 4 new sp this year the others seem to be resting under soil substrate. They are always dead on surface never under soil. I.ve yet to see larvae i’ve wittnessed a number of matings over the last 2 to 3months I hope its age killing them and not anythung else. Id appreciate some of your insights.

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for the update. Some species can reach 3 years of age; it sounds as though you are doing everything right, and, considering all your experience with other insects, I’d say the deaths are due to age. I hope you get larvae this year, please let me know, Best, Frank

  27. avatar

    Hello Frank Thank you for quick response. This year I decided to start on a 4th tank a tall 20 gallon I figure spreading out beetles and adding a few new sp hopefully. Im a bit uneasy about how much air is getting in tank. Although its on window the remaining gap of open window to tank ratio is only 4in the other tanks have 8inches. Windows are always open. Im going to continue to perfect keeping these beauties alive. Have you noticed any caterpillar infestations lately? I am on the lookout where theres numerous cat. there may be various calosoma species.Happy Memorial day weekend to you & yours . Bedt wishes Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Most of my time out has been in NJ lately; mostly have been seeing tent caterpillars, seem to be in usual numbers. Have been seining a bit with my little nephew; raising some huge dragonfly larvae now, Green Darners I hope, Best, Frank

  28. avatar

    My apologies for type o. I hope to get out early this week and thoroughly explore and do some nightime lighting with all this warm wet weather im bound to score some kool species. Goodluck with dragonfly nymphs. Thats great that your nephew gets to experience nature at early age. Will keep you udated .Best wishes Noel Morales

  29. avatar

    Hello Frank. Happy summer still add it with terraruims so far this season not to many large insects up in Pelham or Van Cortland unfortunetly this doesnt surprise me due to many factors which we’ve disscused before namely pesticides & pollution.However there are quite a bit of smaller insects such as fireflies and various other beetles,moths,mostly cabbage white butterflies,leafhoppers,imature katydid & snowy tree cricket,ants,flies etc.Back at home still have 3 to 4 carabids including 5 calosoma unfortunetly no larvae these guys are a challenge on the flipside im still seeing field crickets caught wild about 5 years ago. i will keep you posted on any new developements. Happy hunting to you & nephew. Best wishes Noel

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for the update. On LI, I notice that the lack of butterfly diversity seems worse each year; saw a good many early spring species in N Jersey, however. Please give me more info on the crickets, when you have a moment..very interesting, and if you can a quick update on how the caterpillar hunters spent the winter (I recall they became dormant..any details on timing, temperatures would be appreciated).

      Enjoy, best, Frank

  30. avatar

    Hello Frank For many years i’ve noticed that bio diversity is dwindling in the parks. For example 9 out of 10 butterfly sightings ends up being non native cabbage butterflies. So far this year I’ve seen a couple of spring azures 1 red admiral & quite a few white cabbage butterflies.

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Same on LI, sadly, although this spring I saw a surprising number of red admirals, painted ladies and mourning cloaks in n. NJ. I have “butterfly bushes” planted in my yard on LI, but diversity not good at all.

      Best, Frank

  31. avatar

    Continued. Last night i was at Central woods in Pelham attracting insects with light. I collected an uknow darkling beetle and two smallish very fast carabids. There were a few moths which are more diverse than butterflies in the area. My calosoma beetles spent the winter in 4 to 5 inch moist soil mixed with dead leaves and some rotten woodif desired. These beauties are indeed temperature hardy. My captive bred field crickets are becoming more visible and larger. These are very simple to breed all u need is a 10 to 20 gallon tank filled with at least 3 inches of damp soil with some dead leaves and live vegetation this will trigger females to lay eggs Try to keep tank cold in winter so next spring you’ll get hatchlings they ll feed on vegetation fruit and dead or crushed insects. Always my pleasure to share my experiences. Will keep you posted. Blessings to you & yours Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Thanks very much Noel. Am thinking of setting up crickets or caterpillar hunters for my nephew. I enjoy aquatics, but I’m not always able to get to his house as often as needed to keep up on water quality and al, so may add a few terrestrial inverts.

      Enjoy, best, Frank

  32. avatar

    Hello Frank its been a while I am happy to report that Im still dealing with my live calosoma beetles. I see them less but Im not too concerned because everytime they surface they are feeding. Its been a rough summer for some of my live plants but all and all keeping tanks damp not wet with fresh dead leaves rotten wood& rich soil & sowbugs still working for me. I seem to be a bit overrun by field crickets which make good food for everything else. I’ve managed to collect a pair of Short winged meadow katydids( C.brevipennis) & a pair of Broad winged t.c.( O.latipennis) Both have mated will look for eggs on stems very soon. Getting back to beetles I’ll say it again they do make excellent pets.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales.

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Always great to hear from you, thanks for the interesting update. I’m hoping that Brooklyn Children’s Museum will go ahead with a local invert exhibit, so that I can perhaps put your excellent species lists to good use. Collecting a bit myself this year, with my nephew. have a Brown Water Scorpion now (will post an article soon) as well as other aquatics. Reared a Green Darner nymph, which was great fun. Best, Frank

  33. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Im happy to hear that you may use my lists for the BK zoo exhibit. Its always my pleasure to share what I know and keep learning.I have a few more sp to add it.I’ll update you via email. Glad to hear that you’re still collecting with your nephew always a good thing. I look forward to checking out article. I got up to Pell wildlife Sanctuary collected some tree crickets as I was exiting by Metro North I heard what sounded like a coyote howling about 40 feet from me in the brush.Could it have been a fox? There were also a couple of great horned owls in the distance as well. This summer I’ve also encountered a few deer on various outings in Central wood up in Pelham Bay. Going to be headed out again today beautiful day.
    Best Wishes
    Noel

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for the two notes. Great that you are still encountering new species…always something to look forward to. I went up to see Great Horned Owls in winter, 3 years ago; seems they often shelter in the pines behind the nature center, saw 3. Rangers usually know location of nesting pair (late Jan-feb); would likely be able to show you; I missed it last few years.

      Foxes yip and growl, some drawn out calls but not a real howl. Coyotes made it down to the Bx Zoo years back (and now Central Park, amazing!) so I’m guessing that is what you heard. Thanks for the note on the deer – back when we were kids, prowling around there – who would have imagined!!

      Have a nice swamp near my nephew’s in NJ, so aquatic bugs are a real highlight for us now. Plenty to see everywhere, though; quite a few spiders that are new to me.

      Hope you enjoyed the most recent visit, Best, Frankj

  34. avatar

    Hi Frank
    Nice to hear that lists may be useful for possible invert exhibit.Im adding a few more sp. to it I’ll email you with any updates. You guys must have quite an assortment of aquatic sp. The adult freshly emerged green darner must have been a sight. I recently got to Pell wildlife bridal trail and collected a pair of tree crickets and encountered 2 new cricket and katydid sounds.I ided katydid with just the sound it was an American shield back (Atlanticus americanus).Not sure of cricket might be ground cricket. I also heard at least 2 great horned owls and as I was exiting by Metro North tracks I heard what I thought was a coyote about 30ft. from me in the brush. I’ve also noticed more then usual deer sightings in seperate outings at Central woods up in Pelham Bay. Must be cautious of ticks and mosquitos.Hope they don’t spray these beautiful areas which are already under a lot of enviremental pressures.
    Best wishes
    Noel

  35. avatar

    Hello Frank
    Want to bring you up to date I still have a few live C.scrutator overwintering in tanks although I found left over of a dead specimen about 3weeks ago. I also have a few other carabids such Chlaenius tri color,Chlaenius laticollis,agonum sp.,S.stenotomus ,Scarites sp.,and also unwittingly bred a few Harpalus pensylvanicus. I still have a Short winged meadow katydid and a Mediterranean katydid. most of these insects are in my Bugguide.net page. One final note I have successfully fed my viper boa it turns out he loves mice he s eaten twice already. Im going to check list and send you any sp I might have overlooked which are recent.
    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for the update.. glad to hear the caterpillar hunters are still going strong; I wonder how long into the winter the katydids will survive….

      Good news on the viper boa, glad it worked out. Looking forward to any list additions,

      Best regards, Frank

  36. avatar

    Hello Frank

    I know its been a long time since I’ve written any updates on here. Hope all is well nice to see you on fb. I’m glad to
    report that I finally have a few Calosoma scrutator larvae. I noticed them about a week ago in the substrate. I noticed adutls mating for the last 2 months now so I removed all adults from tank and noticed the larvae digging around and aggressively hunting down wax worms. They seem quite at home growing slowly. The five inch damp soil dead leaf substrate is the way to go with these guys. I’ve confirmed 4 larvae I will keep you posted as they grow and hopefully mature. You can check out my other fb dedicated to my insects its Nature’s Wonders on fb noelmorales113@gmail.com/facebook. There are photos of my tanks adult beetles and larvae on this page.

    Best Wishes
    Noel

    • avatar

      Wow!..congrats, Noel, great to hear…how long has it been since you started with them?

      No eggs from Giant Water Bugs, but enjoying. Will be out tomorrow at S. Mt Reservation in Essex, NJ. Mantids hatching, setting up new ant farm for nephew, very glad spring is here. Enjoy, Frank

  37. avatar

    Hello Frank

    I’ve been keeping these beetles since 2011 most of them are still alive and well. It’s been two weeks I’ve had the larvae. They tend to be very secretive and I mostly see them at night rushing about slowing getting larger. I’m looking forward to new adventures this spring. Did you find anything at S Mt Reservation? It’s great that you have your nephew hooked on bugs. Happy spring.

    Noel

    • avatar

      I thought it might be 2 years…I think your group will yield ;lots of useful info, pl keep me posted.

      We spent a good deal of time checking vernal ponds for amphibs, and measuring pH; wood frogs still calling a bit, plenty of tads, also green frogs in small vernal ponds with pH of 6…unusual, but they are quite hardy, I’ve foung greens in sphagnum bogs, and hibernating on land.

      Billions – literally – of 17 Year cicada nymphs were at surface, in holes, waiting to emerge…they scuttle down when disturbed, but we nabbed 4 and set them up at home,. I’ve read of their numbers, but have never witnessed it firsthand…must get back when the adults are calling. Took some aquatic larvae for ID, and came upon a very large click beetle..not the species with the eyespots, but same size… hope to check into it,; pl let me know if you have any ideas.

      happy spring, Frank

  38. avatar

    That’s amazing that you have access to a spot where you can see the periodical cicadas first hand. Let me know how the adults emerge from your set up how deep is the substrate are you using a tank? Your outing yielded quite a bit of finds good. I’ve never tested ph levels it would interesting to learn how and also to test soils for contaminants. I’ve noticed this year I have not heard any spring peepers so far. If I had a pic of your click beetle I might possibly ID it. Years ago I found an eyed click beetle hope to find this year again. I read somewhere how a young lady was successfully raising that species. I notice that the larvae tend to slow down and disappear when it’s cool out such as today. This week should be warm and humid so I expect to see more activity. Yesterday I went out to the Siwonay trail up in Pelham and I have to say Parks department did a wonderful job of restoring the trail damage by Sandy. I will keep you posted and continue to keep this thread going

    Enjoy your weekend. Noel

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      I need to look into the proper way to set them up, as of now they are in soil/litter I collected there, 8″, they seem to be staying at surface. I’ll keep you posted. Unfortunately I did not photograph the beetle..my nephew is very well behaved, but so much going on that we were moving in 3 directions at once for most of the day, I’ll see if I can ID and will keep you posted.Peepers do vary in numbers from year to year; a friend in NJ did not hear them either, although in parts of Ct they were calling in March; pH changes and runoff hits small ponds har, but peepers are fairly resilient. Soil pH levels shown to affect red backed and other salamanders, will cause them to leave; I’ve not seen too much re inverts.

      best, frank

  39. avatar

    Hello Frank

    I’ve noticed 2 of the Calosoma larvae getting quite large,they are probably 1 or 2 molts closer to pupal stage. They make tunnels in the soil sometimes they can be seen through glass. I’m giving them wax worms which they devour with in minutes if hungry.I was lucky enough to observe a tomato horn worm create a pupal chamber in soil visible through the glass.It sat there for about a day or two. I would frequently observe it.On the third day I saw a plump Calosoma larvae next to what was left of pupae.This larvae dug through soil to seize the pupae. That was amazing to see. Happy memorial day wknd to you and your family.
    Best wishes
    Noel

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      They really are tigers of the soil! You’ve convinced me to set up a group for my nephew.

      last fall I mentioned a wooly bear that we had collected in August…you reminded me that they overwinter as larvae. I kept it in a cool basement overwinter, it pupated in march. Brought it to room temperature a month or so ago and woke one morning last week to loud buzzing …2 Tachinid Flies had emerged from the cocoon..nice \to have such a surprise, hadn’t occurred to me, and really opened my nephew’s eyes to new possibilities…although I had quite a time convincing him it wasn’t one of my tricks, as I’m always attempting to trip him up!

      Reading “A gathering of Wonders”; history of AMNH; I missed it somehow when published 10 yrs ago. I enjoyed the first history, Bankers, Bones and Beetles; this one is fantastic, covers recent history, many invert references, behind the scenes stories, etc; I’ve you’ve not read it, have a look.

      Best to you and yours, thanks, Frank

  40. avatar

    Hi Frank

    I’m pleased to inform you that I have at least 2 confirmed new adult fiery searcher beetles. I noticed this last night in the tank with no older adults. The older adults in separate tanks are spending more time in soil but still alive. Although its still a work in progress it’s headed in the right direction. Life cycle from larva to adult takes about 4 to 5 weeks. It is very important to always have enough food and kept separate from parents and other carabids which may attack pupae underground. How did you cicada project pan out? Last week I set my first pitfall trap baited with ground beef 2 days later I checked it and found a hister beetle small carrion beetle dead wood roach and quite a few ants. I set it up in Van courtlandt park. I will be setting up another one soon time permitting.Hope you are enjoying your summer. Keep me posted on any new finds.

    Noel

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      Great to hear, thanks…what an exciting project!~ I went to a cicada site in N NJ earlier this week…no words to describe it! Despite having seen films, I was unprepared. My nephew went wild…I’ll post photos on FB soon. The nymphs we collected did not survive.

      Also visited a favorite sphagnum bog in Suffolk, LI; I took advantage of my nephew’s keen eyes and saw 2 several spiders new to me, fishing spiders, bladderworts, sundews, pickerel frogs, ribbon snake; and Geolycosa, a pine barrens specialist spider that ambushes prey from burrow entrance; great field sweeeping as well.

      Still keeping giant water bugs, ferocious water bugs, mantids

      Thx for checking in, enjoy, Frank

  41. avatar

    Hello Frank

    I’m sorry to hear about your captive cicadas I can’t even imagine what you and your nephew experienced being privy to
    a cicada swarm, that memory will last a life time. I have confirmed 4 adult Calosoma beetles.:) I’m still seeking Calosoma sycophanta although my time has been limited lately. What is your set up for giant water bugs like. Do they try to fly in your enclosure yet another species totally new to me. I will keep you posted on any new finds and observations. I’m looking forward to checking out some of your photos on fb. I will also post new photos of my new bug adventures on fb as well.
    Happy hunting my friend.

    Noel.

    • avatar

      Hi Noel,

      They are quite simple…room temps; an aquarium with a very simple betta-type filter, cork bark and floating plants to hang onto; now that the weather is warm they are ravenous..they take thawed minnows from tongs, will attack tong if minnow falls off. Some are more agressive than others. they do fly at night sometimes, so a cover is needed as they are one of the last things one would wish to find in bed! best, Frank

  42. avatar

    Hello Frank.

    It’s been quite a long time since we’ve correspond i hope all is well. This year
    it’s been almost impossible to get out and collect however I’m still keeping 2 terrariums 1 ten gallon and 1 twenty gallon. I still have 4 live calosoma beetles in ten gallon hopefully will breed. I’m also keeping a couple of Scarite ground beetles found last year up in Pelham Bay. These guys are also hardy captives., I also have 2 chlaenius ground beetles. I hope to get out soon to collect and share my findings. Happy spring/summer.

    Best wishes
    Noel Morales

    • avatar

      Nice to hear from you Noel, I hope all is well. You’ve done quite well with the caterpillar hunters, glad to hear! This year we’re keeping 2 species of fishing spider, incl the huge Dolomedes tenebrosus, , crevice spiders, several native tarantulas, some aquatics…hoping to come up with some predacious diving beetles. Enjoy, Frank

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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