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Unusual 'tiger' isopod (Armadillidium vulgare) found in a canyon near my house

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Aquarimax, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

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    Exactly! It's fun to do in the isopod community because you can get all sorts of weird color morphs and they grow and reproduce very quickly, so you can isolate color morphs within a couple years if you're lucky and keep them well.
     
  2. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince Active Member

    Wow, that's really interesting!
     
  3. blacksheep998

    blacksheep998 Arachnosquire

    Yep, I've been doing it myself. I crossed orange and dalmatian Porcellio scaber and got wild-type gray offspring. But I knew both traits were recessive, so I kept them and let them inbreed.

    The second generation is also mostly gray, but the orange and dalmatian colors have also reappeared. And a lucky few have inherited both traits, and are orange dalmatians. They've also got red eyes, which is pretty cool.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince Active Member

    Wow, I didn't know isopods could be crossbred like this, thanks!
     
  5. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Really neat to see a color combo like that! It's nice that isopods seem so easy to isolate. And it makes it a lot of fun too!
     
  6. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince Active Member

    Hm, so have there been any adverse effects on the isopods that are selectively bred, like some purebred dogs? I'd guess not, but I'm a bit curious.
     
  7. blacksheep998

    blacksheep998 Arachnosquire

    Any species can suffer from inbreeding problems.

    Just look at the dwarf freshwater shrimp hobby. There have been lots of fancy color breeds developed there who were so frail due to extensive inbreeding that only the super rich could afford the setups required to keep them alive. But those people carefully breed them, select the strongest and breed those, and eventually after a few years they managed to get some stronger ones that the average person can afford to keep.

    My orange isopod colony is bred from a single orange female I found in my back yard, so recently I traded some of my oranges for oranges from another person so I can crossbreed them and hopefully prevent any issues from inbreeding.

    I'm also pretty sure that my zebra pillbug colony is suffering some inbreeding problems too. Some of them manage to lose their antenna when molting. When I first started out and only had a handful I could easily tell them apart, so I could see it was always the same few. After one molt their antenna would be gone. After the next molt they'd be grown back, but more often than not they'd lose them again next time.
     
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  8. pannaking22

    pannaking22 Arachnoking Active Member

    Yup, always nice to bring in new genetic lines from time to time. Helps prevent a lot of problems early on instead of waiting until it could be too late and you're about to lose a whole colony.
     
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  9. Aquarimax

    Aquarimax Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Exactly! There are several selectively bred color morphs out there already, such as Porcellio scaber 'orange', 'Dalmatian', and 'Calico'; Armadidillium nasatum 'Peach'... here are some photos: dalmatian1 crop 2.JPG IMG_3197.JPG IMG_4032.JPG dalmatian1 crop 2.JPG
     
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  10. BobBarley

    BobBarley Arachnoprince Active Member

    Wow, thanks guys!
     
  11. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince Active Member

    I got this unusual Cylisticus convexus morph that I am calling "Pied". They resemble pied ball pythons, they are different than the "Dalmatian" morph found in other isopods. There are some pure white ones as well, several morphs could probably be isolated from this bloodline.

    Here are some pictures, (They are mixed in with normal ones in the pics):
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Aquarimax

    Aquarimax Arachnobaron Active Member

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    I've heard of this morph in C. convexus before, but I'd never seen pictures. It's a cool effect! I see what you mean... not the same as the Dalmatian morph. Pied is a good term for it.
     
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  13. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince Active Member

    Yeah, it's a cool morph. It unusual because I caught the original stock, and they all looked normal. Then after a few generations these guys started showing up. Weird huh? I just got around to isolating them a few months ago and they have started reproducing. Hopefully most of the offspring will look like their parents.
     
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  14. blacksheep998

    blacksheep998 Arachnosquire

    Not weird at all if it's a single-gene recessive trait like the orange and dalmatian genes are P. scaber. That's exactly what I'd expect to happen. You might have only had a single one carrying the gene, but it passed it on to some of it's offspring and then two of those got together and that's when you finally saw the trait appear.

    Even better, if this is the case then now that they're isolated they should breed true and all their offspring should also have the pied pattern. (Eventually anyway. If you just isolated them then some of the females are probably still carrying sperm from the normal males so might keep popping out some wild-type offspring for awhile)

    Edit:

    I'd also like to add that I suspect your pied individuals have a novel mutation to the same gene that the dalmatian P. scaber do.

    In P. scaber and most other isopods, the wild coloration is produced via a 2 step process. The first step produces an orange pigment, and the second one produces something that turns that orange pigment gray-brown in color.

    Each of these steps is controlled independently by separate genes, and in each case having one normally functioning copy of the gene is enough for normal function. So the mutant forms of the genes are recessive to the wild type.

    But when they have 2 mutant copies of one of those genes we see interesting effects.

    The orange P. scaber have 2 mutant copies of the second gene, the one that turns the orange pigment to gray. So they still produce the orange pigment, but can't turn it into a gray one and are orange as a result.

    The mutant gene that causes the dalmatian trait effects their ability to produce the orange pigment. It doesn't shut it down entirely, but it makes it be produced only in patches. The regular dalmatians still have normally functioning copies of the second gene though, so that orange pigment is turned gray and they're white with gray spots.

    My orange dalmatians have two mutant copies of both genes. So they only produce the orange pigment in patches, and cannot turn it gray. This results in orange spots.

    As I said above, I think your pied isopods have a mutation to the same gene as the dalmatians. But it's a different mutation that is resulting in a different pattern.

    It's very cool, and I'm really looking forward to when you have them available for sale.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
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  15. Hisserdude

    Hisserdude Arachnoprince Active Member

    Interesting, I don't know that much about genes so I thought it was unusual that I started with normal looking ones and ended up with these. Thank you very much for explaining it all to me! :)

    Yes I expect some of the offspring will be normal ones for a while, I will be culling them out when I see them.

    Thanks, I'm looking forward to it too! ;)
     
  16. Aquarimax

    Aquarimax Arachnobaron Active Member

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    I wonder if this mutation is a form of leucism in which pigment is produced, but the mechanism for distributing the pigment is faulty. Our local zoo had a leucistic alligator on exhibit for a while. He was white with small irregular spots of normal coloration, rather like a Dalmatian isopod.

    In any case, it IS very cool. : )
     
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  17. Spidercreations

    Spidercreations Arachnopeon

    I have not found any super cool color morphs but its cool to find the canyon sow bugs I heard they can get up to 20mm and I find some awesome powdered blue sow bugs there awesome
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  18. Aquarimax

    Aquarimax Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Over two years have passed, and it looks like the wait may he paying off! It is too early to be certain, as young A. vulgare tend to be patterned and can then change...but I finally have some individuals that seem to be following in the footsteps of the founding isopod in my avatar, at least in terms of patterning and coverage. Color may come as they mature. Time will tell! B0F3473E-6E37-4F9A-938F-65C8DF76D691.JPG
     
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  19. Salmonsaladsandwich

    Salmonsaladsandwich Arachnoknight Active Member

    I think I read somewhere that the yellow spots on A. vulgare are caused by calcium deposits.
     
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  20. Aquarimax

    Aquarimax Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Interesting, I will have to look that up!