The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store


Pseudotriton ID help

This is a discussion on Pseudotriton ID help within the Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) forums, part of the Species, Genus & Family Discussions category; Hello all, One of the techs that I work with in the field caught a larval Pseudotriton yesterday, and I ...

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.

Reply

 

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 17th January 2013   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 29
Posts: 222
Gallery Images: 17
Comments: 9
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
Default Pseudotriton ID help

Hello all,

One of the techs that I work with in the field caught a larval Pseudotriton yesterday, and I would like some help identifying it. I've had experience with P. ruber vioscai larvae and adults in my region (south MS), but not with P. montanus flavissimus. I've only seen old, color depleted larval specimens of P. montanus in museum collections, as well as whatever trustworthy photos I can find online.

The first two photos I've attached are of the larva in question (let's call it Ari, after the tech that caught it - she was really excited about the find). The third is a composite of dorsal shots of 4 larval P. ruber vioscai (A-D), and Ari (E). As well as head shots of two larval P. ruber vioscai (F,G), and then Ari (H). All of these larvae are from south MS. The second head shot (G) is of a P. ruber vioscai collected from a seep, and the larva has longer gills than other larvae of this species that I have caught in streams (F).

The most notable differences I see between Ari and the P. ruber vioscai larva that I have worked with are habitat, gill length, and iris color. The larva was caught in a small bottomland stream that has a tendency to braid with heavy rains. One side of the stream is bordered by a small hill, but otherwise, the landscape is relatively flat and the stream has a low gradient. Ari's gills are the longest that I've ever seen on a Pseudotriton, and I've seen gill length used to distinguish between larvae within this genus (even though gill length within a species and for an individual will vary with water quality). Lastly, the iris color of similarly sized P. ruber vioscai is golden, and the iris is bisected by a dark, horizontal stripe. Ari's irises look like they are a plain brown.

If Ari turns out to be a P. montanus flavissimus, then this is an exciting find. But, from the museum and HerpNet records that I've seen, it's been a good while since montanus has been seen in MS, which is why I'm seeking your opinions and why I'm hesitant to get excited just yet. So, who votes for which species, and why? And thanks for the help!
Attached Thumbnails
Pseudotriton ID help-p116638120130116_03.jpg   Pseudotriton ID help-p116638420130116_06.jpg   Pseudotriton ID help-pseudotriton-larvae.jpg  



Lamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2013   #2 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Neotenic_Jaymes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 970
Gallery Images: 46
Comments: 2
Rep: Neotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

I think a truly easier task would be to ID adults. Pseudotriton larvae can be extremely variable. I know larvae are easier to find than adults but with a little more effort would be worth it. Or you can just sample larvae that are potential candidates for the species your seeking.



__________________
Guns don't Kill people LAZERS do!
Neotenic_Jaymes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2013   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 29
Posts: 222
Gallery Images: 17
Comments: 9
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
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Thanks, Jaymes. As I mentioned, montanus hasn't been spotted in MS for almost two decades, so finding an adult is likely going to be a whole lot harder than finding a larva. The most recent collection that I know of took place in the early 90s by some people from the California Academy of Sciences, and the most recent record in the MS museum is older than that. Adult P. ruber are also rare in my area (i.e., multiple searches in appropriate habitat over the past 2 years has netted only 1 adult, but 10+ larvae). For these reasons, I focus on finding larvae.

I've got to work with what I've caught. Fortunately, my permits allow me to maintain Pseudotriton larvae in the lab through metamorphosis. Since "Ari" is already rather large, I'm hoping it will morph out soon.

I agree that the larvae of this genus can be really variable, which is one of the points of my study. I raise the larvae under similar conditions and photograph them as they grow. This way, we'll have photo records of how pattern, color, and morphology change through development, which should go a good way towards allowing people in MS to ID what they've caught.

But, if you've had experience finding adult Pseudotriton in the field, I'd love to hear your success stories or tips. I forsee more trips to the site where Ari was found.

Also - what species is your avatar?



Lamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2013   #4 (permalink)
Prolific Member
 
Neotenic_Jaymes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 970
Gallery Images: 46
Comments: 2
Rep: Neotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.orgNeotenic_Jaymes is considered an Authority at Caudata.org
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

I've found congregated adults near natural springs under prime rock hides. In winter when streams are lower a number of Red Salamanders can be found under good rock hides. I think winter time is a great time for P. ruber and other stream side species. I also hear that (road herping) pulls up many P. ruber also. Just make sure your in range of the species your looking far while road herping.


The avatar is a Paramesotriton maolanensis.

Good luck!



__________________
Guns don't Kill people LAZERS do!
Neotenic_Jaymes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th January 2013   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
jaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 136
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: jaster has started on the right path
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

The larvae in question is definitely a P. ruber. The patterns on its side give it away. P. ruber has dots while P. montanus looks smeard, even a bit reticulated at times. Almost like Stereochilus. I remember my professor showing me how the eye color in larvae isn't a reliable characteristic. We had bags of P. ruber larvae and one or two P. montanus, the only thing I saw that was noticeably different were the sides. We were at a stream that sounds a bit like yours. It had a high bank on one side with a flat and muddy bank on the other side. I wasn't around to catch many larvae, but I think they found most in the leaf litter. Don't remember if we found an adult, but I'll be going to that site next season.

As for finding adults, I find just about all of mine walking around at night (which isn't much), but I do remember always finding them (P. ruber) under streamside rocks in NJ growing up. Most of the stream were clear with nice gradients.

Hope this helps



__________________
Too much horror business.

-Bradley
jaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th January 2013   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 29
Posts: 222
Gallery Images: 17
Comments: 9
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
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaster View Post
P. ruber has dots while P. montanus looks smeard, even a bit reticulated at times. Almost like Stereochilus.
I'm thinking that it is probably ruber due to the number and spacing of the spots, but am still not 100% positive. As for the pattern trait you mention (i.e., smearing, streaking), from what I have read and seen via photos, that trait works for larvae at certain sizes (smaller), and in certain regions. For example, see the larvae at this link: 2008 Pseudotriton Larvae: Salamander #5. These are larger montanus from Ohio, but they are not streaked, and instead have sparse spots or dots. But in smaller individuals of montanus (see the first attached photo, which is from one of Carl Brune's other posts on his website), there is some streaking. However, there is mottling on very small ruber (first larva in second photo, again, one of Carl Brune's), which I have seen on small individuals in my region. I sometimes wonder where the line is between "mottling" and "streaking."

So, not really disagreeing with your ID, but I'm not convinced that the trait used to make the ID is valid for larvae in this region at this size. However, I also have heard that iris color is not a reliable trait, but it was a difference that I saw among these individuals. Is it reliable for adults, and thus might be more reliable for larger larvae?

A contact in MS thinks this may be montanus, but hasn't seen larvae of that species from this region before. A contact in GA said that "if there was a gun to his head," he'd call it a ruber because ruber have many, close, fleck-like spots, but that the only thing to do was to raise them through metamorphosis.
Attached Thumbnails
Pseudotriton ID help-carl-brune-p.-montanus-hatchling-ohio.jpg   Pseudotriton ID help-carl-brune-p.-ruber-g.-porphyriticus-hatchlings-ohio.jpg  



Lamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19th January 2013   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 29
Posts: 222
Gallery Images: 17
Comments: 9
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
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

The more people I get in touch with, the more likely it seems that "Ari" is a Pseudotriton ruber. I emailed Carl Brune to ask for his opinion, and he thinks that it is likely a ruber because of the mottled spots, and due to the head shape. Still, this larva is an exciting find, as I had not previously found this species at this creek. I'm planning on following the creek towards its headwaters at some point in the next two weeks, and hopefully I'll have more luck catching larval Pseudotriton.

I'll post more photos of "Ari" as it goes through and comes out on the other side of metamorphosis.



Lamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th January 2013   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
Aneides's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Nationality:
Posts: 87
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Aneides has started on the right path
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Pseudotriton are beautiful salamanders, especially adults. It's great to see that you got the ID! Good luck!

Aneides



__________________
0.1.0 Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberi
0.1.0 Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica
Aneides is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20th January 2013   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
jaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 136
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: jaster has started on the right path
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Even on the hatchling you can see how P. monantus will have its melanophores clot leaving spaces, they are more evenly distributed in P. ruber. Head shape is hard to tel for me, but there is also just a nack, you see something and that fits into your brain.

On a side note, I plan on obtaining one or two of each species and raising them from larvae. Build up on my own notes.



__________________
Too much horror business.

-Bradley
jaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th February 2013   #10 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Nationality:
Posts: 26
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Todd Pierson has given good advice and informationTodd Pierson has given good advice and information
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

That's cool. I'll have to add to the P. ruber vote, although the patterning threw me off a bit.

I've been working on photographing a variety of plethodontid larvae lately, including P. ruber:

Click the image to open in full size.

And P. montanus:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

They occur microsympatrically in high abundance here, and I recently found this peculiar adult that shows traits of both species.

Click the image to open in full size.



Todd Pierson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th February 2013   #11 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Age: 29
Posts: 222
Gallery Images: 17
Comments: 9
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
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Todd - the streaking on your P. montanus is what I've been told to look for. The larval P. ruber I caught is still very dark, and usually larvae lighten when I bring them in to the lab. It's head is also differently shaped than the other larvae I have. I'm wondering if the differences are just due to the larvae being different ecomorphs (this one is from a flatter area, the others are from a steep ravine). I'm excited to see what it looks like when it morphs. Also, the adult you photographed is very interesting! Could you see any dark spots or splotches? I would love to find an adult as chunky as that one.



Lamb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th February 2013   #12 (permalink)
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Nationality:
Posts: 26
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Todd Pierson has given good advice and informationTodd Pierson has given good advice and information
Default Re: Pseudotriton ID help

Let us know what your larva ends up looking like, as I'm curious, too.

No other pattern was evident other than what you can see in the photograph.



Todd Pierson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

LinkBack
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads

Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pseudotriton ruber pezzatos Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) 24 3rd May 2011 01:53
Pseudotriton larvae Carl Brune Plethodontids and Lungless Salamanders (Bolitoglossa, Eurycea, Plethodon, etc.) 11 22nd May 2009 20:06
Pseudotriton ruber Jake Photo & Video Gallery 17 12th October 2008 13:35
Pseudotriton Tank russ Photos & Pictures of Enclosures, Vivaria, etc 14 20th January 2006 19:25
Little pseudotriton ruber? leanne Photo & Video Gallery 1 29th June 2005 12:21


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:39.