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-   -   Desmognathus breeding what? (

Lamb 7th October 2014 15:14

Desmognathus breeding 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.

Yahilles 7th October 2014 21:16

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
I think one of my friends raised D. orestes eggs on wet sponge and little desmogs hatched just fine. I think you need to choose, either you leave all eggs with the female or remove all of them. I'd be afraid that a big disturbance will trigger the female to eat all of the remaining eggs.

Jake Hutton 8th October 2014 16:04

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Are there any other females and males in there?

Lamb 9th October 2014 01:19

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
No, the female is in her own small enclosure. A shoe box size tupperware with moist sand, flat wood and rock for cover, and sphagnum at one end.

Lamb 9th October 2014 10:13

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
After a few discussions outside of, I've decided to leave the eggs with mom, and to disturb them and her as little as possible. I do need to track their development, but I'll limit my exams to once every other week, at most (just visual exams, I wont be touching the eggs or mom).

Yahilles 9th October 2014 14:02

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Did you have any special trouble with breeding these salamanders? Because i'm very interested in Desmognathus (not able to keep them cool enough here so they're a future plan) and i've been gathering info about them for quite a long time. My impression is that it's just about cycling them and providing a proper place for female to nest with a right substrate (wet sand, mud, dirt or something like that) - would you agree with that?

Lamb 9th October 2014 14:42

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Honestly, I was incredibly surprised that she oviposited. I have been told that getting females to oviposit is more difficult than getting individuals to court and breed, and I can't really contradict that statement based on this one observation alone.

These salamanders are wild caught (I have the appropriate scientific and federal permits), and they are maintained individually in tupperwares lined with moist paper towels in the laboratory at a constant temperature (21 C, which is okay for these salamanders in South Mississippi). Each salamander was placed in multiple different pairings for the purposes of my courtship study, and this particular female was inseminated by one of the males in my study. Once this female had concluded her courtship trials, I placed her in to a larger tupperware (the set up is described in a previous reply in this thread). She began ovipositing within 2 days of being moved in to the new enclosure. I've been conducting the study during the natural courtship and ovipositional periods for this species, so perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised that she oviposited. That being said, I treated another female in the same way, and she has yet to oviposit (fingers crossed).

Lamb 17th November 2014 19:48

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
1 Attachment(s)

I had a second female oviposit, but she consumed the entire cluster of eggs soon after they had begun to develop the spinal cord (nerulation).

The first female and her cluster are doing well. The embryos have well developed legs and toes, and are wriggling away in their membranes. I think they should hatch before Thanksgiving. It's been 40 days since they were initially oviposited.

evut 18th November 2014 09:56

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Congratulations! The photo is fantastic. Shame about the other female eating all her eggs... but these are looking great. What do you do when they get close to hatching and how are you going to raise the larvae?

Lamb 18th November 2014 12:40

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
I plan on raising the larvae in the lab at least through metamorphosis, and on raising at least some of the offspring farther (the last time I counted, she had at least 23 in her cluster). If I'm able, and if my permitting authorities are alright with the idea, I'd love to raise a few of these to large enough sizes where I can then donate them to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science as live specimens. I did this with one other species that I raised in the past.

I have fairy shrimp eggs from Arizona Fairy Shrimp , from which I'll get naupli to feed the hatchlings. If you're looking for tiny food, I've had great success with eggs from this company. I currently have larvae of the same species of Desmognathus in the lab, and I'm feeding them a mixture of fairy shrimp, mosquito larvae, and frozen bloodworms. Most are still strongly cuing in on movement, so I have to wiggle the bloodworms in front of their noses. I'll use my DSLR and macro lens to photograph all of them (both the current and any new larvae) as they develop.

slowfoot 18th November 2014 13:14

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
They look great!

I can remember the conundrum I faced trying to decide on the fates of the animals I raised back when I was in graduate school. You can't help growing attached, especially when you get into the field because you love the critters. Best not to raise too many, sometimes :(

Donation to a museum or zoo are great options. I know there are a couple of posters here who are associated with institutions that house/study salamanders and amphibian conservation. They might be a further option for some animals.

Lamb 23rd November 2014 02:16

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
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The yolks look noticeably smaller, and the embryos are really rolling around within the eggs. Any more experienced Caudata members want to give me an estimate in terms of # days to hatching? According to Murphy's law, they'll likely hatch right before I'm supposed to leave for the Thanksgiving festivities :wink:

Yahilles 23rd November 2014 12:19

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Such a beautiful sight. Congratulations!

Lamb 1st December 2014 15:21

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
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Here we go! There is a little head poking out from the bottom left of the cluster of eggs. Hatching has begun! I'm curious to see how long it takes for all of them to hatch out. It's been 55 days.

rust 23rd December 2014 18:51

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Very cool and congrats.

Lamb 9th January 2015 16:10

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
This is an overdue update: After seeing a couple of hatchlings and then no more progress by the next day, I adjusted the water level in the enclosure such there was shallow, standing water on the sand (~0.5 cm at its deepest). All of the eggs hatched within about a day of doing that. No mortality, and the larvae are all doing well.

elKendo97 9th January 2015 21:21

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Great, I look forward to seeing photos

Azhael 9th January 2015 22:14

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?

Originally Posted by Lamb (Post 433843)
There is a little head poking out from the bottom left of the cluster of eggs.

I actually went "aaaaaaaaaaaaaw.....".

Lamb 19th September 2015 14:26

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
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Well, she's a mama again! The same female oviposited another, larger clutch this summer. I'm ecstatic and hope that all goes well with them.

Sith the turtle 19th September 2015 18:33

Re: Desmognathus breeding what?
Will they be for sale, or is it for research?

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