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Plethodontids most suitable for captive care?

This is a discussion on Plethodontids most suitable for captive care? within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Hi y'all, not having kept any plethodontids yet, I'm interested in your views which taxa have proved to be most ...

Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) The largest, and one of the most diverse groups of salamanders, these salamanders have all evolved to breathe solely through their skin and are found almost exclusively in North America.

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Old 8th July 2002   #1 (permalink)
kai
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Hi y'all,

not having kept any plethodontids yet, I'm interested in your views which taxa have proved to be most interesting. I'm not interested in colors but rather behavior - so which species actually leave the cover more than just occasionally/accidentally? (in a tank that resembles the natural habitat, that is)

I expect that they will stay timid and I also have no problems with "just feeding a tank" (live stuff, of course) but still see no point in keeping super secretive species except for scientific/conservation purposes.

Nimbus, Ed, Nate, or anyone else? TIA!

Best wishes,
kai



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Old 8th July 2002   #2 (permalink)
nate
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Hello Kai,
For small aquatics I'd immediately have to say E. multiplicata. They become every bit as conditioned as newts, begging at the glass for food, interacting with each other in the open, etc. I was fortunate enough to get to watch their courtship walk in detail as well, which they performed in the open, oblivious to outside human traffic. 2-lined sals (E. aquatica, E. bislineata, E. cirrigera, E. wilderae) are also very similar in behavior. The larger species of Eurycea like longicauda and lucifuga have remained very nervous and not much fun.

Some other aquatic species that I have kept and found to be newt-like in behavior are Pseudotriton ruber, Desmognathus quadramaculatus, and Desmognathus brimleyorum.

As for terrestrials, the best ones I've kept are the Aneides species, which will learn feeding stimuli and crawl around in the open, especially after a misting of the tank. I've also heard the two terrestrial Desmognathus species (aeneus and wrighti) become very bold in captivity. The terrestrial Plethodons stay pretty skittish in my experience.



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Old 9th July 2002   #3 (permalink)
kai
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Thanks, Nate! BTW, did you have any chance to get your hands on some of the fully aquatic plethodontids?

Yup, I didn't mention Pseudotriton and the apparently always hungry D. aeneus since they're more established terrarium dwellers. I'd be interested in those aquatic Desmognathus though - Ed, how are your brimleyorum doing? Click the image to open in full size.

Have you tried red-light conditions with Plethodon, Nate? I don't mind having to sit frozen in front of a tank but prefer to have a fair chance to see some "action"...

Best wishes,
kai



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Old 9th July 2002   #4 (permalink)
nate
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I've kept some "fully aquatic" things like Eurycea tynerensis, neotenic E. multiplicata, neotenic Typhlotriton, Stereochilus, Desmognathus marmoratus, etc. Some species like E. multiplicata and E. bislineata have non-neotenic populations that live entirely underwater, and so far in my experience, all the small Euryceas will go aquatic in captivity.

I have never tried a red light before. Generally, I don't keep such secretive species. Or if I do, I keep them in a more convenient setup with no need for lighting anyway.



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Old 15th July 2002   #5 (permalink)
edward
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Hi Kai and Nate,
I'm finally getting a life back so I finally had a chance to check the forum here. (Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do).
As for plethodontids that become acclimated to people, the D. quadromaculatus we have here poke thier heads out every time I walk by to see if they will be fed. (I haven't worked with D. brimleyorum so if I said that in the past sorry, just D. m. monticola, D. quadromaculatus, and briefly D. ochrophaeus).
One of the plethodontid species that became the tamest and most active during the day was a trio of Bolitoglossa mexicana we had here for a number of years. (However these seem to not survive shipping very well anymore. I would recommend that anyone considering buying Bolitoglossids be prepared for them to die. I suspect that they are heavily starved prior to import and would consider that they may also be infected with chytrid).
I haven' tried a red light filter for observations either but it has been used in a number of papers describing lab set-ups(however low light situations seem to work just as well, you just need to be prepared to sit up all night.)
Some other large plethodontids I worked with in the past did not become really acclimated to my presence (P. yonahlossee, P. cylindraeus, and P. jordani).
just some thoughts,
Ed



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Old 16th July 2002   #6 (permalink)
nate
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Hi Ed, just thought I'd drive a point you made home...I have yet to keep any Plethodon (I've kept glutinosus, serratus, vehiculum, dunni, jordani, and angusticlavius) which became conditioned whatsoever. That goes for large or small ones ;)



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