Hey all, bit of a fun mystery here for me today! Figured I’d share, even if just for the fun of it.
Was sprucing up my 3 species isopod colony (common, zebra, and greek silver), to try to maybe make things easier for the zebras to breed. I purchased 20 and only have about 4 left, not sure what happened, but I know this is pretty common.
The greek silver came as a wonderful free gift with purchase, and all the common isopods were from my yard (yes, this could mean some bacteria/parasite from the wild ones could be impacting the zebras too).
Anyway, as I was poking around trying not to smash anyone, I found the KING OF ALL ISOPODS
This dude is about an inch long, and nearly half an inch wide!
I know natural variation in size/color exists within any species, so he could just be large, but this is huge!
Also, this is a vulgare so he was a common outdoor buddy I kidnapped (he seems to be benefiting!).
So…can gigantism occur in inverts? Is this just crazy natural size variation? Since he used to be wild, could this be a response to new food sources being available, turning on some sort of crazy growth (epigenetics?). Or is he just a CHONK?
Would love some thoughts on this dude
So do you keep them all together? My guess on what is happening is if they are being kept together the other species are out competing the zebras. It is really interesting on how big that one is! I wonder if it is actually giantism. Will be really interesting to see what others think about this!
That was my guess too, the common and greek seem to breed faster so the zebras just don’t have a great chance. I might move the 3-5 that are left to their own tiny enclosure
So I have purchased so many isopods in the last year that it’s sinful! The zebras were a bust every time as were the cute little powder guys. My mainstays are the normals and the light gray ones. With a smattering of powders and a few Oreos. Lol! But I digress! Lol!
I’m sure we have some isopod experts here like maybe @bughunter07? and @mblaney? but until someone comes to the rescue I am going venture a guess to say that your adorable little chunky monkey is a wild caught specimen that is so happy not to have to scavenge for his food that he is eating everything in sight, because it’s so close and plentiful, that he is just “podding out”! Lol!
It is very adorable to see Porky Pie with his tiny little minions all around him! Lol!
My assumption would be that it’s a different species or the other ones aren’t full grown (which appears to be the case). It is a larger isopod, but it’s still reasonable for a lot of isopod species.
That’s pretty cool, I would see if you can get some more big ones and then selectively try to breed for giant isopods. Just because it would be awesome
Absolutely hoping that this is a female and can pop out some huge babies!
The zebras seem to be a little more picky than the others, and slow to breed, so all 4 of my remaining zebras were moved to a smaller private bin and hopefully there’s a decent female:male ratio that can breed.
I love the idea that this might not be a genetic thing, and this this little guy is just a foodie
Combining species is regarded by some as destined to fail, with the eventual domination of only one species as the inevitable result. So I suggest having separate mini-tubs of all 3 in the event that a species is out-competed.
My guess about the big fella is that it’s just an older isopod. After keeping isopods for over a year, I’ve noticed that there are some relatively very large individuals in most of my enclosures that have little competition for resources.
I was checking my newly acquired powder orange and I picked up the piece of cork bark… happened to see one ispopod that was 3x the size of the rest of them. Probably every bit of 3/4” of an inch long. I think he was just an older one that is getting his fair share of food.
Thanks! The clearly under competative zebras have been moved to their own bin, and if I see issues with the common v. the greek silver I will seperate them out as well, but currently I have probably over 30 of each because they breed like mad, and that seperating process is daunting.
I’ll still do so if I notice an imbalance between the two, I don’t want them to be overly stressed, but that will be one heck of a sorting day
Awesome! Even though there’s no cool gigantism happening, giant isopods are very cute and I’m glad everyone gets some every now and then!
Love it! I used to breed quite a few species of isopod and once had a gigantic granulatum show up. He was probably 3 times the size of all my other granulatums and stuck around for a couple years.
I know what you mean- I have massive colonies of Zebras, Lavas, and Panda Kings. Whenever I have to rehouse an entire colony, once the substrate is all used up, it takes days. I’ve used all kinds of tricks, but in the end I’m still left sorting through a ton of frass-heavy old substrate & sphagnum moss.
I was checking on and feeding the isopods in my crested’s enclosure and this is what I found when I turned over the cork bark. It may not be as big as yours @cmills but for me and my limited isopod keeping skills, it ain’t half bad! Lol
That’s a big beautiful friend! Such lovely spots, do you happen to remember what kind those are?
Oreos I think? I bought them on June the 4th. II thought they were all dead until I turned over the cork bark…….
Sorry I’m late to the party! This doesn’t look much like a vulgare, but is indeed a giant. Definitely an exciting find.
The only things in this bin are wild caught specimens which based on my area would have likely been vulgare, and Greek Silvers, which the big one isn’t.
Maybe I found a different kind outside, so he isn’t a vulgare, I’ll look more into it!