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Bolitoglossa dofleini?

This is a discussion on Bolitoglossa dofleini? within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Are these salamanders still legal to export from any of their native countries? Can't find anything on it. I know ...

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 21st September 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Are these salamanders still legal to export from any of their native countries? Can't find anything on it. I know they are not CITIES listed.



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Old 21st September 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

No. From what I understand, none of their range countries are currently issuing permits for commercial export of salamanders.



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Old 21st September 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Tim, do you have any information on possible exports, and, maybe more important, which exporters are going to try business? PM would also be nice, thank you.



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Old 22nd September 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Considering past history with this species, I cannot understand why anyone would want them. Well, actually I understand why, they are very interesting in appearance and behavior. And if a person is willing to ignore the past, they might feel a craving. But it's fairly clear that they are a species that is not sustainable in captivity. The vast majority that were exported in the past died within a few months in captivity, even in the hands of very experienced keepers. A few lived longer, but I don't know of any captive breeding successes with them. In my opinion, this is not a species that should be exported.



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Old 22nd September 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

I'd give anything for a shot at it. I know they take 10 years to mature and are full of chytrid, but I could work with that.

I saw one person on here was very successful keeping a few. All females though....



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Old 22nd September 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

B. dofleini occurs in several protected areas in Honduras: Parque Nacional Cusuco, Parque Nacional Cerro Azul and the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texiguat (Cruz et al. 2004). Chytridiomycosis appears to be widespread in at least one of those protected areas (Parque Nacional Cusuco) with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections now having been found in half of the park's endangered amphibian species (Kolby et al. 2009). Amphibian populations in the park have been undergoing sudden unexplained crashes, likely because of chytrid infection (Cruz et al. 2004; Kolby et al. 2009). B. dofleini may be susceptible to chytridiomycosis since a group of six captive B. dofleini imported into Belgium appeared healthy initially but succumbed to chytridiomycosis (confirmed by histology; Pasmans et al. 2004).

Females are more frequently encountered in the leaf litter and are thus more frequently collected for the international pet trade (Raffaëlli 2007). Since this species takes a long time to reach reproductive age (10-12 years), collecting for the pet trade may have a significant negative impact on smaller local populations.



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Old 22nd September 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

I have to agree with Jennifer on this one, there are some species that shouldn't be exported. When I first came to this site, I was also interested in Bolitoglossa dofleini, but now I understand the difficulty in trying to keep them. Now, if given the chance, I would be tempted, but then again, I've been tempted to do a lot of stupid things I shouldn't do. That said, armed with the knowledge I have now, I might give small species of Bolitoglossa a try. However, like Tim said, most Central American countries, if not all, are closed to the exportation of amphibians. I cannot promote the illegal exportation of amphibians and you'd be hard pressed to find an exporter that can get you them.

If you are looking for a good, captive Plethodontid, there are plenty in the US. Plethodon yonahlossee is a personal favorite that is big and bold in captivity. And don't forget Desmognathus spp. I am particularly fond of Desmognathus quadramaculatus. So my advice is stop looking for B. dofleini, and get yourself some species from the US. They'll be hardier and cheaper.

Cheers



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Old 22nd September 2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

1. I don't know why, but I read it all wrong: I saw the question as "is it still illegal" and therefore Tim's reply "No." My question therefore is stupid.

2. Ozark, what do you think is the difficulty in keeping them? They are not the average firesal or so, that might be true, but I guess with experience made by the before quoted Hainaux and others, it might very well be possible to keep them. After all, what I found, the keeping part for Bolitoglossids is not the hardest, if you have a slight understanding of their natural living, what kills off the most caudates is the chytrid (which can be treated at least to a certain success rate) and the stress from the export, which could be done professionally. I don't see why you would want smaller Bolitoglossids: they are (I would say) not much easier in care, just need less space. Also, I have never heard of any other Bolitoglossa than dofleini or mexicana being imported by anything but scientists. I had the chance to see a B. rufescens once and have also seen the long-term keeping of it.

I don't think the species is not "keepable", I think there have been plenty of mistakes with it in the past (oh wonder - I heard people kept them like dartfrogs), but as examples show, it is possible, given the luck of getting healthy or at least treatable animals, to keep them.

I know there are lots of Experts, that I would say should do it instead of me, but I strongly suggest the establishment of captive groups. This genus is probably disappearing in the wild (not that much dofleini, but others especially) and attempts should be made to organize at least some remaining ones. It is sad that only few in the hobby care for central or southern american plethodontids, but remember that in the beginning every newt and salamander seemed hard to keep - people had problems with Neurergus, who are now known as one of the more hardy captives.

Just my two cents.



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Old 23rd September 2012   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

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Originally Posted by methodik View Post
2. Ozark, what do you think is the difficulty in keeping them? They are not the average firesal or so, that might be true, but I guess with experience made by the before quoted Hainaux and others, it might very well be possible to keep them. After all, what I found, the keeping part for Bolitoglossids is not the hardest, if you have a slight understanding of their natural living, what kills off the most caudates is the chytrid (which can be treated at least to a certain success rate) and the stress from the export, which could be done professionally. I don't see why you would want smaller Bolitoglossids: they are (I would say) not much easier in care, just need less space. Also, I have never heard of any other Bolitoglossa than dofleini or mexicana being imported by anything but scientists. I had the chance to see a B. rufescens once and have also seen the long-term keeping of it.

I don't think the species is not "keepable", I think there have been plenty of mistakes with it in the past (oh wonder - I heard people kept them like dartfrogs), but as examples show, it is possible, given the luck of getting healthy or at least treatable animals, to keep them.

I know there are lots of Experts, that I would say should do it instead of me, but I strongly suggest the establishment of captive groups. This genus is probably disappearing in the wild (not that much dofleini, but others especially) and attempts should be made to organize at least some remaining ones. It is sad that only few in the hobby care for central or southern american plethodontids, but remember that in the beginning every newt and salamander seemed hard to keep - people had problems with Neurergus, who are now known as one of the more hardy captives.

Just my two cents.
I think that the stress of importation and chytrid are a large part of the difficulty in keeping Bolitoglossa dofleini, but those two things are inevitable. You make them sound as if they are nothing. They can be treated if catch them in time, but that often doesn't seem to be the case.

Why smaller species? I have heard more success stories with smaller species. They do require smaller spaces. They also take less time to mature. I didn't say smaller species were being imported. I think that was part of my point. To my knowledge, there are none being imported right now, which is probably why I haven't tried them.

I think there are more in the hobby that care about Central and South American species than you think. Just fewer that are willing to fail at keeping them. I strongly suggest establishing captive groups as well, but do I think I am qualified to try to restore these species in my home? No. Do I think the vast majority of caudate hobbyists are qualified to attempt to restore these species in their homes? No. Sometimes, caring for certain animals means realizing that if one get them for their private collection, they would be doing more harm to the species than helping them. I very limited resources compared to a zoological institution or university that would be better equipped to facilitate and breed these animals. My trying would only remove needed breeding individuals and bloodlines from the wild or those who are better qualified to help them.

Just my two cents.



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Old 23rd September 2012   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Thomas, i agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment. Yes, it would be very good to have captive populations of any Bolitoglossa especies, but private hobbyists canīt contribute to this in any significant way. Such things should be handled by the apropriate institutions.
Given that animals in private hands are pretty much wasted as far as any usefulness for the species goes and that all commercial imports seem to be illegal, i donīt think thereīs any justification for acquiring these animals other than rampant selfishness.



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Old 23rd September 2012   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

I am not on the search for justifications, that's problem of philosopher's. All I am saying is that a) the wild will not hinder them from dying out b) institutions - except for few like Tim Herman, Mr. Pasmans from Belgium, Mr. Wake, Mr. Raffaelli, and (I don't want to ignore that) surely some more zoos and institutions - do not care for them: they are no pandas, icebears, whatever cuddly, nice to see, impressing animal you can imagine. I've heard from Mr. Hainaux, who got his theoretical and practical knowledge together and keeps them to this day - I have not heard of a european zoo keeping them (maybe I just don't know).

So I come to my ending point, c) Whatever it is, I think the knowledge and possibilities of the hobby are strongly underestimated - institutions like the salamanderland in Austra (RIP) were built by hobbyists. Therefore, I am saying, if you are willing to learn all you need, if you can get together the equipment and knowledge it needs, don't wait for experts to do it.

I don't encourage everyday keepers to randomly buy Bolitoglossids, but that won't be the case anyways, as there are no exports. I just don't think a zoologist oder Professor with only little knowledge is any better than a hobbyist who has gotten together all the articles, books, reports etc. on those animals and their problems. Humbleness is a nice trait, but you should realize when you got knowledge together. If you read my post carefully, I said others are more suited, but I guess I won't be saying that much longer: I've got shelves full of articles and am working through them, I annoy all the keepers or those who went there with my questions and I am saving money to go there myself. I don't think I know enough already, but that is not because I don't have a "professional" title, a PhD from the university or anything. So I can work on it, and then, at one point, I will be as able to keep them as anyone.

I hope noone got angry.



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Old 23rd September 2012   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Exactly. Now, there is a time and place for private hobbyist to get involved. If the species was already established in the hobby, was being imported on a regular basis and collection for the hobby was a significant threat; then that could be a different story. Private breeding to provide the hobby with CBB animals in order to take the pressure off the wild population is a valuable strategy in this case. However, we don't see Bolitoglossa being imported with any frequency, their countries of origin have done a good job of keeping this to a minimum. The major threat to these species is chytrid. Field research, like that being carried out by Tim Herman, and breeding by zoological institutions and universities is going to be the greatest benefit to these caudates.



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Old 24th September 2012   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodik View Post
I am not on the search for justifications, that's problem of philosopher's. All I am saying is that a) the wild will not hinder them from dying out b) institutions - except for few like Tim Herman, Mr. Pasmans from Belgium, Mr. Wake, Mr. Raffaelli, and (I don't want to ignore that) surely some more zoos and institutions - do not care for them: they are no pandas, icebears, whatever cuddly, nice to see, impressing animal you can imagine. I've heard from Mr. Hainaux, who got his theoretical and practical knowledge together and keeps them to this day - I have not heard of a european zoo keeping them (maybe I just don't know).
Wait, you're not looking for justifications? So you're not giving reasons why someone should keep Bolitoglossa dofleini in their private collection? But you just gave two reasons there, and one more in the next paragraph. I'd say there are quite a lot more institutions working with Bolitoglossids that you realize. I also wouldn't doubt that European zoos are keeping them. Having a species in their collection and displaying a species are two different things. And what do you mean they don't care for them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodik View Post
So I come to my ending point, c) Whatever it is, I think the knowledge and possibilities of the hobby are strongly underestimated - institutions like the salamanderland in Austra (RIP) were built by hobbyists. Therefore, I am saying, if you are willing to learn all you need, if you can get together the equipment and knowledge it needs, don't wait for experts to do it.
There in lies the details. If you got all the knowledge and resources you needed, would you not be an expert? I suppose if you got a large group of willing individuals, kept close records of who has which species and genders, set strict guidelines for such things as quarantining and monitoring disease, set a party in place to ensure that the guidelines are being met, and had an organized plan to transport the animals back to their native habitat; then that would be different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by methodik View Post
I don't encourage everyday keepers to randomly buy Bolitoglossids, but that won't be the case anyways, as there are no exports. I just don't think a zoologist oder Professor with only little knowledge is any better than a hobbyist who has gotten together all the articles, books, reports etc. on those animals and their problems. Humbleness is a nice trait, but you should realize when you got knowledge together. If you read my post carefully, I said others are more suited, but I guess I won't be saying that much longer: I've got shelves full of articles and am working through them, I annoy all the keepers or those who went there with my questions and I am saving money to go there myself. I don't think I know enough already, but that is not because I don't have a "professional" title, a PhD from the university or anything. So I can work on it, and then, at one point, I will be as able to keep them as anyone.

I hope noone got angry.
I don't think you're getting my point. It's not about what degree you have. It's about having the resources, both human resources and otherwise. It's about organization. Are you arguing that one man in his home can have equal or greater success than a fully-staffed institution with the combined knowledge and experience of seasoned veterinarians, animal husbandry experts, and field researchers dedicated to the conservation of species? That's a little bold, don't you think?



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Old 24th September 2012   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

In point of fact though, that's often been the case. Institutions are bound by bureaucracies and funding limitations. When staff change so does the selection of species in many cases. An individual can certainly fund, research, care for, and breed a wide array of species...or even a handful of a single species only. The individual has the freedom to pursue the effort as he sees fit. The institution MAY have funds, MAY have qualified staff, but it may not have the priorities to even get started. One has a wealth of motivation [and often very specific experiences and skills], while the other at worst may have only resources. Inherintly, one is not better than the other, because neither can be guaranteed it has all it needs for success.

I would note that commercial export and private export are often different matters. In many cases, an individual could legally collect and export their own animals. Because of the cost and time involved in this, it is probably a much better option. Animals can be selected and properly cared for start to finish, transit stress minimized, and the person involved is by definition sufficiently motivated to make the effort.

I am of the opinion that the concept of "difficult" species is something of an illusion. The weakness is in our knowledge of their requirements, not a failing of the animals themselves [a big flaw in the Dubois & Raffaelli paper, BTW]. Certainly there are species which tolerate a wider range of what we do to them, but it's not unsual to discover that the key to success with something difficult turns out to be very ordinary and simple [such as rising barometric pressure triggering breeding in Agalychnis. Go figure - instead of spraying them, spray them when a storm rolls in].

On the other hand, I think it would be best to capitalize on both the captive experiences of those who have been most successful, AND work on CB programs in their home countries, as is being done in Peru (frogs), Costa Rica (frogs), and Mexico (lizards and tarantulas). Unfortunately; there's no shortage of species, especially in Mexico, which have run out of time. Somewhere around here, I'm fairly sure I have an old copy of DATZ, in which there is an ad for Incilius periglenes. I'd like to think that some of those illegally obtained animals have been secretly bred in captivity for the last 30 years...although I seriously doubt it.



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Old 24th September 2012   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Ozark, I am not giving justifications, because this is not a moral, but a practical question, and that is how I am answering it. All you do is state your assumptions: there might be more institutions keeping them, there might be more people in the hobby - how much time did you actually spend on finding out?

I am with FrogEyes on that point, that not being able to keep a species only shows the necessity for us to learn more about it. That is how science works.

I am sorry to tell you, but I am getting the impression you did not really understand the matter with Bolitoglossids at that state. The current situation can hardly allow, how you said it, to have

Quote:
an organized plan to transport the animals back to their native habitat
because fungus and their other treats rage on. At the present state, probably best one can do is a) to found institutions like the CRARC, along with the attempt to get breeding groups of the animals there for serious hobbyists, something like their cooperation with Understory. And b) to keep the species from extinction. There is not much hope for many species now kept, that they can ever be reintroduced.

Quote:
Are you arguing that one man in his home can have equal or greater success than a fully-staffed institution with the combined knowledge and experience of seasoned veterinarians, animal husbandry experts, and field researchers dedicated to the conservation of species?
Do you know how much institutions are willing to spend on salamanders in most cases? Obviously not, because if you compare the dedicated hobbyist, like the ones I mentioned before and many more, even Mr. Hainaux on his small scale, you do not come to the impression they lack anything. In fact, I think it is more often likely that the institutions lack something, namely the WILL, which is, in fact, the very basic requirement.

Your argumentation, it seems to me, does not come from a long involvement into the problems and science of these salamanders, but from the mere argument which derives from the fact that most of the captive attempts failed. I don't want to overrule you, just state, that there is maybe more you can learn about that field.


Btw: If, of course, you just call hobbyists with enough knowledge and means experts, we probably don't have that much difference. I just think you have some illusions about how much exactly is needed to keep those animals, or how "difficult" they are.



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Old 24th September 2012   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

I donīt know, i fail to see the usefulness of captive animals in hands of private hobbyists if the animals come from commercial imports. There would be no locality data, no guarantee of correct identification, and most probably no real studbook or breeding program (provided that there is any success in that area). As i understand, the imports of the past were like that, and that renders those animals largely useless for anything having to do with conservation. At most, the experiences of hobbyists could add something to knowledge of captive care and breeding, but i think local instutions have a much, much better chance of succeeding anyway.



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Old 24th September 2012   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

As there are no commercial imports anyways, this is not a valid consideration anyways, right?



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Old 24th September 2012   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

Well, there have been, and i suposse it could happen again...All the commercially imported ones from the past seem to have done very poorly indeed. And even if there were no more bolitoglossini imports, this kind of discussion can apply to other illegal, commercially imported animals like say, Tylototriton, Echinotriton...



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Old 25th September 2012   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

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Ozark, I am not giving justifications, because this is not a moral, but a practical question, and that is how I am answering it. All you do is state your assumptions: there might be more institutions keeping them, there might be more people in the hobby - how much time did you actually spend on finding out?
Justification is simply giving reasons for something, and is not limited to the subject of morality. If I said the Earth rotates around the Sun, I would have to justify my statement, just as I would have to justify any sort of moral decision. How much time have you taken to find out? I have talked to many people in the hobby who are interested in South and Central American caudates. No, I'm sorry, I have not talked to every hobbyist to get their opinion. I have not searched every inch of every zoo in the world. Have you? Have you not also been giving your own assumptions?

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I am sorry to tell you, but I am getting the impression you did not really understand the matter with Bolitoglossids at that state. The current situation can hardly allow, how you said it, to have



because fungus and their other treats rage on. At the present state, probably best one can do is a) to found institutions like the CRARC, along with the attempt to get breeding groups of the animals there for serious hobbyists, something like their cooperation with Understory. And b) to keep the species from extinction. There is not much hope for many species now kept, that they can ever be reintroduced.
So you are suggesting they float around in captivity for the rest of their existence? Well, I guess that would be ok. I simply thought when talked about conservation that there would eventually be reintroduction. I guess that doesn't have to be the case.

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Do you know how much institutions are willing to spend on salamanders in most cases? Obviously not, because if you compare the dedicated hobbyist, like the ones I mentioned before and many more, even Mr. Hainaux on his small scale, you do not come to the impression they lack anything. In fact, I think it is more often likely that the institutions lack something, namely the WILL, which is, in fact, the very basic requirement.
You are quick to assume no institution out there in the world cares for salamanders. You mentioned David Wake earlier, is he not tied to an institution? Sure, people leave institutions, staff changes. However, I've seen people who appeared to be very dedicated to keeping a particular species who lost interest or gave up when they faced difficulty. I've seen hobbyists who collected species just because they were endangered. They felt good to begin with because they where keeping a species from extinction in their homes. Then something new and even more threatened came into their homes. I guess neither the hobbyist nor the institution is safe from that.

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Your argumentation, it seems to me, does not come from a long involvement into the problems and science of these salamanders, but from the mere argument which derives from the fact that most of the captive attempts failed. I don't want to overrule you, just state, that there is maybe more you can learn about that field.
I was beginning to wonder if your argument just came from your desire to be right as well. How long have you been involved in the science of these salamanders? How much time have you spent researching them first hand? Are you not the same as me? Getting your information from someone else? Perhaps you are right about me. I'm sure I could definitely learn more about the keeping of Bolitoglossids, and their biology in general.

Cheers



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Old 25th September 2012   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bolitoglossa dofleini?

I think frogeyes has a point.

If the salamanders were collected by someone who knew what they were doing, the survival rate would be considerably better. Someone experienced could collect equal sex ratios, treat them right away for chytrid before stress allowed it to take hold, and ship them properly and quickly.



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