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Old 7th October 2014   #1 (permalink)
Lamb
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Rep: Lamb has given consistently excellent advice and informationLamb has given consistently excellent advice and informationLamb has given consistently excellent advice and informationLamb has given consistently excellent advice and informationLamb has given consistently excellent advice and information
Exclamation Desmognathus breeding success...now what?

Hello all!

I've been conducting courtship trials with Desmognathus in our lab, and am pleased to say that as of yesterday morning we have our first clutch (laid naturally without hormone treatments)! I checked on the eggs and mom today and saw many eggs in the process of cleaving.

My dilemma is this:
Do I leave the clutch and mom alone, bothering them as little as possible? (meaning only opening her lidded container to feed a few crickets and mist, and possibly taking a photo every other week)
Or, do I try to hedge my bets and remove 1/2 of the clutch to raise away from mom?
Then, finally, if I do attempt to separate the clutch, what is the best way to raise them?
At the moment, she has laid them in a depression she carved beneath a piece of wood and in some moist sand.

I've read a number of posts on this forum, as well as papers in the literature, about raising plethodontid clutches, and find myself torn. Keeping eggs with mom is easy and has its benefits (anti-fungals and -bacterials provided by her skin secretions; she'll eat fungal eggs), but also it's downsides (if what I consider minimal stress is really too much, she may eat the eggs). Alternatively, raising eggs away from mom means daily care, and daily worry about fungal infections.
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