Limb Regeneration in Mesotriton alpestris

A photo series by Caleb Leeke

One of my M. alpestris males had his front left leg bitten off in late March 2004, and I've taken some photos illustrating the regrowth. When I first discovered his leg was bitten off, the lower leg was missing, and the humerus was exposed. I isolated him in a container of fresh tapwater, which I changed daily. As the wound was very clean, I didn't think it was necessary to apply any medication. The chlorine in the tap water may have helped suppress any fungal growth. The humerus dropped off after about one week. At the end of April, he showed a strong desire to leave the water, and was moved to a container with damp tissue paper and moss. At that time, the wound had healed over, but there was no sign of regrowth. The leg slowly grew back over the next few months. As of late November 2004, the limb looks much the same as in the 4th photo. I don't think it will ever grow back to its original size.

limb regeneration in M. alpestris June 19, 2004
(approximately 2.5 months).
limb regeneration in M. alpestris July 17, 2004
(approximately 3.5 months).
limb regeneration in M. alpestris August 7, 2004
(approximately 4 months).
limb regeneration in M. alpestris September 5, 2004
(approximately 5 months).
Photograph added in 2006:
limb regeneration in M. alpestris February 25, 2006
(approximately 1.5 years). True to the prediction made in 2004, the limb has never grown to full size.

Text and photos ©2004-2006 Caleb Leeke


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