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Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

This is a discussion on Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID within the Fire-Belly & Sword-Tail Newts (Cynops & Hypselotriton) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Hello. I have a 36 yo C. ensicauda (still going strong , aging better than I am ). Just wondering ...

Fire-Belly & Sword-Tail Newts (Cynops & Hypselotriton) Perhaps the most famous and frequently bred newts in captivity, the fire-bellied newts and sword-tail newts are well known throughout the world as being excellent, gregarious captives.

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Old 25th June 2016   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Hello.


I have a 36 yo C. ensicauda (still going strong, aging better than I am). Just wondering if anyone can tell me the subspecies?

Thank-you!
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Old 25th June 2016   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

It's C. e popei, still looks box fresh even after all those years. :)
I guess there's every chance the juveniles I'm raising now will out live me!
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Old 25th June 2016   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Looks like the South Okinawa variaty. Beautiful!
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Old 25th June 2016   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Thank-you both for your replies! This newt has had its (sorry don't know whether its male or female) share of ups and downs but it always recovers. At one point (few yrs ago) I noticed a white film over one eye and a scrape on its head but these both seem to have cleared up without intervention. I do have a question for you....a little odd...but anyway do you know if and to what extent newts hear sound? I know they can detect vibration and they don't like excess turbulence in the water from a too strong filter but can they hear?

Also, is there a difference between the S. Okinawa variety and Cynops e. popei or are they one and the same?

Thank-you!
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Old 26th June 2016   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Salamanders have no external ear openings, but they do possess inner ear structures capable of detecting sound. As you say, they do pick up on vibrations, so maybe that in conjunction with the limited hearing is good enough for their needs.
As I understand it there are only two subspecies recognised at the moment, C. e popei and C. e ensicauda. They live on separate islands to each other and can usually be told apart because C.ensicauda popei has the gold/greenish markings like yours, whereas C. ensicauda ensicauda does not. The degree of these gold/green markings does seem to vary from one locality to another, but they aren't considered genetically different enough to warrant subspecies status.
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Old 26th June 2016   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

In the South the animals have a lot more green "dust" in their pattern. In the north some popei populations don't have any "dust" marking at all. They're the same species though.
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Old 27th June 2016   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Beautiful animal! Congratulations. You must be so happy.
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Old 29th June 2016   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

China and Niels: Thank-you for the info re: species/subspecies classification. I was curious about hearing as I feed my newt on different days/times...in other words it varies...no fixed schedule. He is usually under a rock but will come out if I am looking into the tank. Now, it can't be smell that he's responding to (not always anyway) because I'm not always there to feed him (not always holding food). Can't be eyesight as he's under a rock and I'm not sure how well he sees anyway. So I thought either hearing and or vibration...and it's not as if I thump on his tank or anything....how does he know I'm there? He comes out from under that rock like a shot!

Skeeter: Thank-you! He is beautiful but I don't take the credit...he is has taught me much and I've learned over the yrs that benign neglect works well. By that I mean that a clean tank and perfectly clean filter are not necessarily desirable. I used to clean the tank religiously and do water changes frequently. Then, I found that changing too much water at a time was to some extent toxic to him. The water in his tank is highly alkaline due to the affect of having a particular kind of rock in his tank. The tap water (well water) is perfectly neutral so in essence water changes were "harmful" to him and he was prone to shedding is skin and going into a state of not eating after water changes. The last and final time I did one of these water changes he stopped eating for several months and I thought he would die. That was over 5 yrs ago. I do keep his tank clean in that I clean up uneaten food, remove some algae etc but otherwise the tank has an "equlibrium" state and he seems happy with that! I also feed him at different times...no set schedule...keeps him guessing and I don't overfeed...too little an amount is better than too much...that is as it would be in the wild.
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Old 29th June 2016   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Wow, that is incredible! Beautiful animal. I have had two Cynops e. popei for a few years now and they have been doing great. I would be thrilled if mine lived that long. Do you have any recommendations?
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Old 30th June 2016   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Quote:
Originally Posted by MN99 View Post
China and Niels: Thank-you for the info re: species/subspecies classification. I was curious about hearing as I feed my newt on different days/times...in other words it varies...no fixed schedule. He is usually under a rock but will come out if I am looking into the tank. Now, it can't be smell that he's responding to (not always anyway) because I'm not always there to feed him (not always holding food). Can't be eyesight as he's under a rock and I'm not sure how well he sees anyway. So I thought either hearing and or vibration...and it's not as if I thump on his tank or anything....how does he know I'm there? He comes out from under that rock like a shot!

Skeeter: Thank-you! He is beautiful but I don't take the credit...he is has taught me much and I've learned over the yrs that benign neglect works well. By that I mean that a clean tank and perfectly clean filter are not necessarily desirable. I used to clean the tank religiously and do water changes frequently. Then, I found that changing too much water at a time was to some extent toxic to him. The water in his tank is highly alkaline due to the affect of having a particular kind of rock in his tank. The tap water (well water) is perfectly neutral so in essence water changes were "harmful" to him and he was prone to shedding is skin and going into a state of not eating after water changes. The last and final time I did one of these water changes he stopped eating for several months and I thought he would die. That was over 5 yrs ago. I do keep his tank clean in that I clean up uneaten food, remove some algae etc but otherwise the tank has an "equlibrium" state and he seems happy with that! I also feed him at different times...no set schedule...keeps him guessing and I don't overfeed...too little an amount is better than too much...that is as it would be in the wild.
Interesting. Just a few days ago I was on my treadmill which is in the same room in the basement with my C e. Popei and noticed he could see me. Begging for food from across the room, a good 30 feet.
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Old 6th July 2016   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

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Originally Posted by BwKilcoyne View Post
Wow, that is incredible! Beautiful animal. I have had two Cynops e. popei for a few years now and they have been doing great. I would be thrilled if mine lived that long. Do you have any recommendations?
Hi,

I am not an expert and really not qualified to give you advice. I do have a biology background and enjoy observing animals in their natural environments. Though there don't seem to be too many resources for Cynops ensicauda popei I see that they seem to live in and around creek beds or ditches so this tells me that as adults they prefer shallow water and I've noticed my newt seems to prefer walking on rocks that are slightly raised above water level. I have used 2 duetto filters for as long as I can remember....I take great care of these as they are no longer made but you can use them in a few inches of water and you can vary water flow. My newt does not seem to like strong water movement or waves. My newt is showing signs of age. He has a seemingly LARGE appetite...despite this I limit feedings to twice a week and very small amounts. He has eaten nothing but frozen blood worms for 36 yrs (I don't know how old he was when I obtained him but he was an adult).

He prefers now to be in the water and to walk along rocks in the water. For most of his life he seemed to prefer being out of the water and spent most of his time hiding under rocks, out of the water. The reason he prefers being in water now is that it seems easier for him to move....weight bearing in water is easier on his legs(?). So that's my newt's story. I cannot tell you that this is the best way to care for this species but I've seen some pics of some beautiful animals (chinadog....awesome!!!!!) and reading posts on this forum will probably give you a good idea about what works and what doesn't! I defer to the experts
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Old 7th July 2016   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Well I'm still learning and no expert by any means, but I do think his apparent weakness on land could be down to his diet. Bloodworms have a very low mineral content, so they don't supply the calcium needed for healthy bones and other day to day bodily functions. If the calcium and phosphorus needed for these functions aren't in the food the newts metabolism will start to take calcium from the bones, which can eventually cause the symptoms you are seeing.
Fortunately the condition (called metabolic bone disease) can usually be stopped and the bones made strong again by offering him foods with a good calcium content. Regular garden earthworms are ideal. He might be reluctant to try a new diet at first, but if you persevere I'm sure he'll be back to his old self again. The best way I've found for getting reluctant newts to eat earthworms is to cut the worm and only offer the tail end of it to begin with, for some reason the tail part seems almost irresistible and once he's happy with that you can begin giving him the worms whole or chopped. I know how much newts enjoy frozen bloodworms, so I'm not saying stop them altogether, I feed my newts frozen bloodworms once or twice a week and mostly earthworms the rest of the time. It seems to work well and I've had no problems raising juveniles to healthy adults on that diet.
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Old 9th July 2016   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

36 years?

Record-breaking!
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Old 9th July 2016   #14 (permalink)
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36 years?

Record-breaking!
Maybe for ensicauda, but not Cynops in general. There's at least one case on reliable record of a male C. pyrrhogaster being purchased as an adult over forty years ago still going strong!
They seem like very long lived species in general and although exports from Japan are rare nowadays, it makes you wonder about the damage being done to wild populations of other long lived breeds like Paramesotriton that are still collected in huge numbers for the pet trade.
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Old 11th July 2016   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinadog View Post
Well I'm still learning and no expert by any means, but I do think his apparent weakness on land could be down to his diet. Bloodworms have a very low mineral content, so they don't supply the calcium needed for healthy bones and other day to day bodily functions. If the calcium and phosphorus needed for these functions aren't in the food the newts metabolism will start to take calcium from the bones, which can eventually cause the symptoms you are seeing.
Fortunately the condition (called metabolic bone disease) can usually be stopped and the bones made strong again by offering him foods with a good calcium content. Regular garden earthworms are ideal. He might be reluctant to try a new diet at first, but if you persevere I'm sure he'll be back to his old self again. The best way I've found for getting reluctant newts to eat earthworms is to cut the worm and only offer the tail end of it to begin with, for some reason the tail part seems almost irresistible and once he's happy with that you can begin giving him the worms whole or chopped. I know how much newts enjoy frozen bloodworms, so I'm not saying stop them altogether, I feed my newts frozen bloodworms once or twice a week and mostly earthworms the rest of the time. It seems to work well and I've had no problems raising juveniles to healthy adults on that diet.
China,

If I could turn the clock back 36 yrs I would follow your advice. Makes sense. However, I am reluctant to change things at this point. He can still climb up onto shallow rocks...just doesn't scale the higher ones now...I think maybe it's more of a strength issue than bone, though, could be both. I guess every case is different but if he's made it 36 yrs without an issue maybe the bone leaching is very slow and /or more an issue for juveniles growing at a fast pace?
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Old 11th July 2016   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cynops ensicauda subspecies ID

Fair play, it was just a suggestion. It's fantastic you've kept him all these years, I love these threads where we get to see the noble old survivors from the days of huge Cynops exports from Japan. :)
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