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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 18th December 2015   #1
Andrew Diaz
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Default Hemidactylium scutatum

This was actually a rescue from 2010. I work at a university and one of the classes is a botany class that goes out collecting moss. One of the students brought back lots of sphagnum moss and I got the idea of looking through it for Salamanders. Bingo, got a four-toed Salamander. So I took him and placed him in one of my terrariums that never housed any other vertebrates. Here is a recent picture of its underside. Unfortunately I only see it once every couple of months. This guy just stays underground most of the time.
Its in my office so I never see it at night, maybe thats when its really active?
The new housing I was hoping is a boggy setup, lots of moss and other bog plants. Let me know if this would be ok.
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Old 18th December 2015   #2
Mark
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

Yes, salamanders are nocturnal so you won't usually see them active during daylight hours.

As a general rule boggy enclosures are to be avoided. You could have a small, contained boggy area within a drier woodland style enclosure but making the whole thing waterlogged gives limited options for your salamander. A bog is a very specialised environment and not one that can easily be recreated by adding water to organic matter in a small container. You are more likely to end up with a stagnant, mouldy mess which will be bad news for a sensitive salamander. A regularly misted forest floor setup with soil, bark, chippings and moss is a much safer option.



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Old 18th December 2015   #3
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

However, four-toed salamanders are specialized bog-dwellers, being found mainly under and in Sphagnum in boggy areas. The best plan might be for gravel, open water, and lots of Sphagnum over a bed of woody debris.



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Old 18th December 2015   #4
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

Yes, this species prefers sphagnum moss bogs and wetlands in the wild. They are often only found in that type of habitat, and prefer it more than any other type of habitat. They won't be on the surface that often, and I reccomend feeding it small or chopped night-crawlers



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Old 18th December 2015   #5
Andrew Diaz
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

Hi guys, have had this guy for 5 or so years. THey only thing I feed is fruit flies, but there are so many worms living in the enclosure now that I know that is his main diet.
Thanks for the advice against the bog habitat. I'll have think harder now.



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Old 21st December 2015   #6
taherman
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

You can create a simple enclosure for Hemidactylium over a bed of coarse gravel. Slope it up from one end, and add water until it forms a shallow pool at the low end (no more than ~1/4 of the enclosure with exposed standing water). Cover the high end with pine bark nuggets, oak leaves, etc. and place a band of sphagnum or other moss across the transition. Hemidactylium do spend most of their time in terrestrial forest habitats, not deep in wet Sphagnum. Sphagnum is the preferred nesting habitat in some populations, and this is when the species can most easily be found. However in my experience I believe this has biased the scientific literature and general understanding of this species' life history.

The species actually uses other moss genera throughout much of its range, and again I think early publications on NY and MI populations have biased the general consensus and understanding of the habits of Hemidactylium.

Maybe it is the perspective of the photo, but that image makes your salamander look rather oddly proportioned and very small for a 5 year old Hemidactylium. I have not known them to consume earthworms, aside from extremely small ones the size of white worms. It may only be feeding on the flies and other arthropods and be lacking somewhat in nutrition.

Hemidactylium are not exclusively nocturnal and I regularly see them active during daylight hours. I have kept and bred them in captivity for the past 10 years or so.

Hopefully this information is helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Tim



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Old 23rd December 2015   #7
Andrew Diaz
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

Thanks for the information. Are there any stats on what a 5 year old should look like size wise. This is actually the only member of this species I have ever seen. I have no frame of reference with which to compare him/her to. THanks!



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Old 24th December 2015   #8
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

In MO, I've found them under rotten logs several feet away from a cold water creek, though they do lay in mosses along the creek.



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Old 29th December 2015   #9
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Default Re: Hemidactylium scutatum

This is the reference you should check. I can't find a pdf of it right now, I think I have it printed out somewhere:

Blanchard, Frank N., & Frieda C. Blanchard. 1931. Size groups and their characteristics in the salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum (Schlegel). Amer. Nat., 65:149-154.

Also check out the new Amphibians of Ohio book published by the Ohio Biological Survey. Chapter 17 is one of the most thorough reviews of Hemidactylium that has been published


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Originally Posted by tindomul1of9 View Post
Thanks for the information. Are there any stats on what a 5 year old should look like size wise. This is actually the only member of this species I have ever seen. I have no frame of reference with which to compare him/her to. THanks!



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