Caudate Longevity

Compiled by Jennifer Macke

How long do salamanders (or newts or axolotls) live in captivity? This is not an easy question! Longevity information is rarely recorded in scientific literature. To have even a general idea about a species' lifespan would require a lot of long-term captive care experience AND good record-keeping.

The best solid, publicly-available data of this kind come from Frank and Kate Slavens's Reptile and Amphibian Longevity Project, which contains records systematically collected from 1995-2003. Their longest record for any caudate is 40 years for an Andrias japonicus kept at the Zoological Society of London.

A long-term study of olms (Proteus anguinus) in a cave in France documented lifespans of 48-58 years, and estimated their longevity at over 100 years (see Live Science article).

Very few amphibians in captivity live to their potential age. In most cases, this is due to captive care catastrophes. All it takes is one time leaving the lid off the habitat! It's rare for anyone to care for an amphibian for 10 or 20 years and never have an accident, overheating incident, or brief period of neglect.

In the list below, I've attempted to compile as many records as possible for long-lived caudates. Note that in many cases, the animal was wild-caught, and thus the age listed is only their stay in captivity; their actual age may be much older.

 

Species Years Source
Ambystoma mexicanum
(Axolotl)
17
18
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by Ian Rigg
Ambystoma tigrinum
(Tiger Salamander)
15
20
forum post by "Pete"
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Cynops ensicauda
(Sword-tailed Newt)
17
19
36
43
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by "Joost"
forum post by "MN99"
Personal communication, Sergé Bogaerts
Cynops orientalis
(Chinese Firebellied Newt)
9
11
14
14
16
22
22
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by Keith Petrosky
forum post by "Eileen MP"
forum post by "mslrtpnc"
forum post by "kellsnotokay52"
forum post by "spoons"
forum post by "alexps"
Cynops pyrrhogaster
(Japanese Firebellied Newt)
17
18
22
23
25
29
40
forum post by "davidpgregory"
forum post by "amy"
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by "E Ellwood"
forum post by "cblockus"
forum post by "Normans Mum"
Bogaerts 2013
Ichthyosaura alpestris
(Alpine Newt)
15 Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Necturus maculosus
(Mudpuppy)
5
22
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by "NecturusLindsay"
Notophthalmus viridescens
(Red-spotted Newt)
12
15
20
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by "Erin"
forum post by Jennifer Macke
Paramesotriton spp.
(Warty Newts)
10
14
21
22
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by "Deano"
forum post by "Michelle"
forum post by Richard Kingham
Paramesotriton labiatus,
formerly Pachytriton
(Paddletail Newt)
10
12
13
forum post by "hotsauce"
forum post by "Demoniac38"
forum post by "rachelh"
Phaeognathus hubrichti
(Red Hills Salamander)
36 Raines 2014
Plethodon neomexicanus
(Jemez Mt. Salamander)
15-18 McKenna 2013
Plethodon glutinosus
(Slimy Salamander)
20 Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Pleurodeles waltl
(Spanish Ribbed Newt)
19
22
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Personal communication, Mark Aartse-Tuyn
  Proteus anguineus
(Olm)
70-100 Choi, 2010; Voituron et al., 2011
Pseudotriton ruber
(Red Salamander)
20
30
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
forum post by Frank Indiviglio
Salamandra salamandra
(Fire Salamander)
24 Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Taricha spp.
(Rough-skinned Newt
and California Newt)
16
20
21
forum post by "Erinony"
forum post by "CutiesMom"
Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project
Triturus cristatus
(Crested Newt)
25 Reptile & Amphibian Longevity Project

 

References

Frank and Kate Slavens's Reptile and Amphibian Longevity Project. http://www.pondturtle.com/longev.html. Accessed January 2016.

Max Planck Institute Life Spans of Mammals, Birds, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Fish.

Voituron,Y., de Fraipont, M., Issartel, J., Guillaume, O., Clobert, J. Extreme lifespan of the human fish (Proteus anguinus): a challenge for ageing mechanisms. Biol. Lett., 23 February 2011, 7:105-107.

Choi, C.Q. Long-lived Salamanders Offer Clues to Aging. LiveScience.com, July 2010, Accessed June 2013.

Bogaerts S., 2013. Bejaarde salamanders bij Loeky Groenevelt. Salamanders 5:14, pp. 2-3.

Raines, B., 2014. 36-year-old Alabama Red Hills salamander discovered at Cindinnati Zoo. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/36_year_old_alabama_red_hills.html. Accessed January 2016.

McKenna, A., 2013. Oldest salamander gives hope for endangered species. http://www.lamonitor.com/content/oldest-salamander-gives-hope-endangered-species Los Alamos Monitor Online, accessed January 2016. [Photo on Flickr]

 

Caudata Culture. Posted June 2013.

 

All Caudata Culture content is Copyright © 2000-. Various copyright holders; contact us for details.
All rights reserved.
Use of site content without written agreement is forbidden. This site is covered by US Law and international treaties.