Dilochrosis atripennis is a medium-sized flower beetle from Australia. Its size in breeding is around 4 cm. It is considered an easy to breed species. However there are a few points which make this species stand out from the standard breeding process, for instance of Eudicella gralli. I suspect that the original stock of Dilochrosis atripennis came into the hands of European breeders through the Australian insect farm – at least they were the first to offer them. Dilochrosis atripennis is one of the beetle species that have been in the hands of breeders for a very long time, I think there have been continuous breedings for more than 15-20 years now.
I received my larvae from Jahn OLDRICH, as L2 about a year back. They were growing rather slowly, but steady. This might have to do with the temperatures in my breeding room, which are normally around 20-24 degree Celsius. I had 3 larvae per 5 liter container and fed the larvae with a mix of leaf compost and white rotten wood. I noticed that the larvae seem to prefer drier substrate. From a vendor of Dilochrosis balteata, whom I met in Prague, I learned that this species needs very dry substrate in order to thrive. I guess the same is true for Dilochrosis atripennis.
My larvae took almost 12 months to start pupation. The cocoons they created were really delicate. However, I managed to hatch out a few males and one single female. I noticed quite often in recent breedings that the gender ratios were really uneven. I think that this might be a result of temperature, maybe like some reptile species, where the incubation temperature of the eggs determines the gender of the hatchling. It might also be a result of inbreeding. To ease pupation, next time I will add a large piece of white rotten wood into the larval container.
I prepared a box with flake soil and leaf compost for my small group of imagines.These are really attractive beetles. I heated the box with a normal desk lamp and had air temperatures of around 29 degree Celsius in the daytime and around 22 degree Celsius at night. The single female was quite productive, and I managed to get a total of around 40 eggs. It was quite interesting to see that the eggs really become large prior to hatching – easily 4 mm in diameter. I have seen similarly large eggs only in Agestrata until now. My F1 larvae are L1 at the moment, but growing much faster than the previous batch – probably because I keep them at higher temperatures than before.
I think the main key to success with this species is to make sure the substrate does not get too humid. I have a lost a few pupa of Dilochrosis atripennis due to a bit too much humidity during pupation. Overall, I think Dilochrosis atripennis makes for an interesting addition to beetle breeding – considering that there are hardly any other Australian species in our breedings, apart maybe from Trichaulax macleayi.
That’s it so far. If you have anything to add, please let me know.