All photographs have been taken using my six year old mobile phone so please excuse the quality.
I'm sorry it's been so long since I updated this topic, I've been preoccupied.
Spectre unfortunately didn't survive. As with many species that lay hundreds of eggs there is a very high mortality rate and Spectre was just one of the unfortunate ones that didn't make it. It hit me pretty hard as I was exceptionally attached to her...
I was graciously gifted a male before Spectre passed so I could breed the two later on in their lives, he arrived the day after Spectre's passing after we buried her under the eucalyptus tree that we had been using to feed her.
This is Creeper, he is a sub-adult male extatosoma tiaratum
and arrived on the 17th July 2012, a day after Spectre's passing.
Unlike female extatosoma tiaratum
the males have wings that actually allow them to fly. Creeper's will fill in during his next moult (when he grows into a full adult) and will hopefully have plenty of opportunity to fly in his enclosure. He also does not have the spines running down his back and is much smaller and delicate looking compared to the females of the species. Despite being older than Spectre was he is much much lighter, I imagine this comes in handy as in the wild males have to go "out on the town" looking for females.
Speaking of females... I decided I didn't want to halt my breeding plans. I made a few enquiries about acquiring a sub-adult female to be Creeper's companion and an opportunity arose to not acquire just one but two
very large, very healthy sub-adult females. I accepted said offer and welcomed into my home Gaia and Terra.
These ladies are remarkable and are very heavy. When being handled they grip onto your arm and you can feel their claws gripping into your skin, it doesn't hurt so much but it does feel incredibly odd. They only stayed in this orange cube while I arranged their large enclosure and ensured it had enough bramble for them (they... are ravenous). These new girls (who I have owned for approximately a week now) are remarkable and beautiful, I look forward to seeing how they and Creeper get along when adults.
This is their enclosure before it was moved and furnished further:
It's two feet tall and one foot wide and completely made of mesh. Inside is a large oak branch attached to a stainless steel tray via a screw, this offers the ladies somewhere to climb without their bulk and weight causing the branches of their bramble to bow and snap (though I don't think that'll happen it's just as a safety measure, it also looks lovely).
I sewed the artificial orchids and leaves onto the outside in the hope of making the giant structure a little more appealing to me, it also appears to be beneficial to the insects as it blocks out some of the light from the nearby fish tank (which is rather bright, I must say).
It'll be at least a couple of months before I start seeing eggs as the females need to moult. I look forward to seeing how things progress.
That's pretty much it for now, I do have other photos of Spectre but I don't really feel up to uploading them right now. I'm hoping to get more photos of Creeper and the ladies later on, preferably together but that is a bit difficult holding three 10cm insects all at once and trying to make sure I don't drop my phone!