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Near and Middle Eastern Newts (Neurergus) Arguably the most beautiful newts in the world, this Asian genus is highly desired by many hobbyists.


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Old 22nd June 2004   #1
Tim Johnson
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Here are some more pics for folks here and over at Caudate Culture (Jenn Click the image to open in full size.).

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(these are not mine but those of Tokyo amphibian shop Mojo House http://www.mojohouse.co.jp/ )

(please no inquiries to me personally on prices and means of acquisition)

(Message edited by TJ on June 22, 2004)



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Old 22nd June 2004   #2
francesco
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Beautiful animals!
how much were they sold for?



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Old 22nd June 2004   #3
Tim Johnson
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Hi Francesco. I didn't see your message until I finished amending mine regarding questions about prices. I didn't ask, but they're usually sold in Japan in the range of several hundred dollars.

Does anybody happen to know the origin of the name? I take it the name comes from the last German emperor, but who named it that and why? Also, are they found only in Iran or in some neighboring countries too?

(Message edited by TJ on June 22, 2004)



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Old 22nd June 2004   #4
Tim Johnson
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Old 23rd June 2004   #5
sergé
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Up until now only known from Iran and only in a small range, but of course the border area Iran/Iraq is not the nicest and easiest place to search for animals, if you even can get there without problems with the local police and army. But these animals look like wild caught, so there must be somebody having access to them.



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Old 23rd June 2004   #6
Tim Johnson
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Well, I for one don't intend to make a field trip to that part of the world any time soon as I prefer to have my head and neck remain snugly on my shoulders. I'm sure a U.S. citizen wandering around the Zagros mountains of western Iran looking for newts would have a helluva hard time convincing local authorities what he is up to.

I found the German connection. It seems the name was given by a K.P. Schmidt in 1952.

Here's an interesting article I happened across:

------------------------------------------------

Ecology and Conservation of the Genus Neurergus in the Zagros Mountains, Western Iran

By Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University,

The newts of the Zagros Mountains, especially the genus Neurergus, are extremely sensitive to environmental change because they live in marginal conditions. It is likely that the rate at which newt species are declining in abundance has been underestimated, and this potential problem needs immediate attention. It is also possible that effects from habitat destruction, pollution and drought affect the Zagros newts more than any other of our amphibians, both directly and indirectly.

My studies have revealed that the Zagros newts require relatively complex mosaic landscapes that include terrestrial elements for foraging, protection and hibernation, as well as aquatic habitats with good quality and a rich invertebrate food base. Connective habitats that enable migration between terrestrial and aquatic habitats are also important determinants of population size and abundance.

Three species of the genus Neurergus occur in the Zagros Mountains, northwestern and western Iran. Of these, N. crocatus occurs in northwestern Iran in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan provinces. N. microspilotus occurs in Kermanshah province, and N. kaiseri occurs in Lorestan province in the south-central regions of the Zagros range. The habitat of these newts is closely related to shallow, cool, clear mountain streams and nearby vegetation. In the breeding season, mating takes place close to the water; the females then enter the water and deposit their eggs. After a few weeks, the larvae are found in the water and it takes about 2 months for the larvae to complete metamorphosis.
Based on my own observations, all 3 species of Neurergus are in great risk of population decline and are seriously threatened.

After receiving the DAPTF seed grant, field trips were conducted in the central Zagros Mountains in Kermanshah province, focusing on N. microspilotus. All available habitats (mountainous streams, ponds and deep valleys, at about 1350-2100 m elevation) were checked in order to ascertain the occurrence of this taxon. Occurrence was expected in most of the visited localities. The species, however, was absent in many of those localities and, if present in some, there were just a few specimens at each site. Climatic changes in the area were noted. Some of the small streams (serving as breeding sites) have dried out due to the severe drought of recent years. Populations previously occurring in these areas have been extirpated. Water contamination (either from human disposal, where the habitats are close to villages or small townships, or by chemical pollutants such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides) may also be having an effect on reproductive success and on various life stages.

The local people have been informed as to the destructive nature of their waste-disposal activities, and are co-operative, but lack a suitable alternative means of disposal. Local authorities have promised financial support to build a waste-disposal system and it is to be hoped that this is constructed soon.

The use of various chemical pollutants has also been discussed with the villagers and farmers who are using these chemicals to improve their agricultural efforts. Although it is difficult to prevent the use of gfavouriteh chemicals, some headway has been made in emphasizing minimal use of chemicals, and then only when absolutely necessary. It is hoped that, with more financial support, the project can be continued and expanded, involving more local people and authorities, and that this will lead to a cessation, or at least a reduction, in the decline of the highly threatened, endemic newts of the Zagros Mountains. I wish to cordially thank the DAPTF for providing financial support for running this project. Hopefully, further DAPTF support will be forthcoming for a new proposed project on the Batrachuperus of the Iranian Plateau.

Source: Froglog http://www.open.ac.uk/daptf/froglog/FROGLOG-56-2.html



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Old 23rd June 2004   #7
sergé
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Well, that artciel doesn't say a thing. The underlying research is not done properly. Just some short field trips, not year round field research. You can not make such statements if you haven't done proper research on the habitats is my opinion. Trust me, I have the report that was basis for this press-release part.
As you can read only microspilotus habitats were visited, not kaiseri habitats.



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Old 23rd June 2004   #8
Tim Johnson
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I meant it was interesting to learn from the above article the range of these three Neurergus species and a brief description of their habitat. Are they mainly stream dwellers or are they also found in ponds and marshes? How terrestrial are they in nature?



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Old 24th June 2004   #9
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Actually from the point of breeding it seems that N. kaiseri is more a pond dweller, and could be living more underground then the other species.
From it's behaviour in captivity we know that it is very sensitive to light. Schmidtler and Steinfartz have both published many articles in European magazines on Neurergus. I think i have copies of most of them.
I have only seen Neurergus strauchii in Turkey in the wild (both subspecies) several times, and they are stream dwellers, for a very short period of the year. They have a long terrestrial period. Especially that is something people in captivity ignore and could be the cause of many problems with this species of this genus in captivity.



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Old 24th June 2004   #10
Tim Johnson
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I did some looking around and found there is indeed a lot of literature available on Neuregus over there, though regrettably not in English. Many such reports are listed in the bibliography found at the end of this AG Urodela article on Neurergus crocatus:

http://www.ag-urodela.de/molchregist...20crocatus.htm

Anybody already familiar with the term "scrapper-cleanings" will understand the frustration encountered in trying to comprehend German articles translated via altavista Babel Fish Click the image to open in full size.

(Message edited by TJ on June 24, 2004)



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Old 24th June 2004   #11
ralf
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Click the image to open in full size. hrrmmphhh. Tim, you should know by now, that there are two different meanings for the word "Molch" (E: newt) in German and only few Germans really know what a "Molch" is. ("hey look at that, I didn't know that lizards also live in the water.....")



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Old 1st September 2004   #12
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<blockquote><hr size=0><!-quote-!><font size=1>Ralf Reinartz (Ralf) wrote on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 12:31 :</font>

&quot; hrrmmphhh. Tim, you should know by now, that there are two different meanings for the word "Molch" (E: newt) in German and only few Germans really know what a "Molch" is. ("hey look at that, I didn't know that lizards also live in the water.....")&quot;<!-/quote-!><hr size=0></blockquote>

That is only half the truth. The good old German expression "Lustmolch" points to a different direction.

Maybe your observation is true for urban people. The rural population often knows about the crazy behavior of lewd newts ... ;-)

Carl

(Message edited by carl on September 01, 2004)



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Old 21st September 2004   #13
william
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back to the photo well all i can say is WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Click the image to open in full size.


if only they were more hardyClick the image to open in full size.

i never knew there where any newts of that patterning it's almost hypnotic



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Old 27th September 2004   #14
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Yet it is astonishing that wild populations of a species, that should actually be listed as extremely vulnerable if not acutely threatened (but who cares to include it in CITES, it is only a newt from the Middle East...) are exploited for commercial purposes. Maybe I can discourage these poachers a bit by the fact that my (F2) animals produced 41 juveniles, hopefully providing a source of captive bred animals that will become more readily available for the hobbyist. The juveniles are housed now with several people who have ample experience in breeding salamanders, so hopefully in two to three years these babies will produce lots of offspring. By the way, people who are interested in this species: beware, these are the shiest salamanders I know (see previous messages), the only possibility to observe them is at night with a dim light (and even then, the slightest vibration makes them take cover...).



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Old 27th September 2004   #15
jennifer
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Frank, Congratulations on your breeding success! That is great news.



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Old 27th September 2004   #16
joseph
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Wonder what the coloring and contrast is for? It looks bright away from natural habitat, but one wonders if it might aid the flowing water in distorting the body shape of the newts?



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Old 30th September 2004   #17
william
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yeah you would have thought that they would be snapped up by a passing predator.

i have two theories:

1. maybe they have no natural predators in the area so they can be as colourful as they like. e.g. macaws, clown fish etc.

2. they have predators but that they have their bright colours to show how poisonous they are or to feign it.



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Old 4th October 2004   #18
sergé
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In fact a theory was proposed that Neurergus in general (all the other species are black with yellow spotting) could be a mimicry to imitate the poison Salamandra infraimmaculata that is occuring in the same region. Although others are not even convinced that Salamandra uses it's coloration as a warning, they think it could also help them as a camouflage when they walk around in woods (on the soil with all it's fallen leaves).
For a white spotted animal like N. kaiseri has turned out it could well be protective like Joseph suggest if they would occur in flowing water..but they don't. It might well be that this species lives more subterranean...so any theory is purely speculative I guess. However..white reflects light very well and if they live more subterrain the white spotting might help to find each other for mating...
Well, anything can be speculated, we know just too little about this species behaviour sadly.



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Old 12th October 2004   #19
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I'm really confused. From what i've read in the other posts, it seems like kaiseri don't like light, yet the previous photos show the animals in bright light, and they seem to show no ill effects? Just Wonderin



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Old 13th October 2004   #20
sergé
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You can't see if these animals show ill effects...you don't see the pictures afterwards ;-)
That they are shy and don't like light doesn't mean you can not take pictures of them. In fact juveniles are, to my opinion, less sensitive to light and can even be active during daytime, but my adults directly take cover when you shine a flash light on them when they walk around at night.



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