| | Re: Laotriton question
"In abcence of the correct stimuli, hormone-cycles gradually flatten and as a result, reproduction gradually comes to a halt. Recently ( less than one year) captured animals often are still conditioned ( hormonally-healthy as you call it ) from their time in the wild, and may reproduce in captivity once or twice even if the provided stimuli are not sufficiënt or incorrect."
I have certainly found something like this to be the case in Paramesotriton cf. fuzhongensis, which I bred for three years, with a decline in clutch size and fecundity until no breeding occurred at all. I believe now that the animals were not getting wamr enough in the summer to induce breeding during the cooler winter (during which temperatures fell to an acceptable level).
I think that, in general, Paramesotriton (to which Laotriton are functionally most similar) are often kept too cool, when , in my experience, several species have bred only once summer temperatures get to around 21-22C, in my experience. Juveniles, too, do better under almost subtropical conditions (between 18 and 22C, with access to some cooler spots), which avoided some of the shedding problems and refusal to eat often encountered in this group. Of course this will differ between species (e.g. P. zhijiensis experiences constant temperatures of 16C year-round in it´s spring-fed pool). It is also worth noting that most of the species (other than probably the most aquatic ones, probably including Laotriton) are terrestrial for most of the non-breeding season (one estimate of the breeding season for P. hongkongensis is 45 days, the rest of the year spent in deciduous forest near to the water). Sorry to wander slightly into a different genus, but I think, in general, the ´rules´that apply to Paramesotriton are the same as those that apply to Laotriton, as both are large newts breeding in step pools in larger upland rivers in deciduous forest in tropical south-east Asia, and which are not wholly adapted for an entirely aquatic life (unlike Pachytriton).
If anyone has several pairs of Laotriton, one way to settle the discussion would be to maintain groups under each of the proposed breeding strategies and see which has more breeding success. Would anyone who has a larger group of these animals be willing to try this?