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Warty Newts (Paramesotriton & Laotriton) & Paddletail Newts (Pachytriton Often sold incorrectly as Japanese fire-bellied newts, these territorial newts are distinct from other genera and very interesting in their own right.

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Old 3rd January 2011   #1
Rob M.
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Default Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

After attempting to help a new member with a problem with his P.hongkongensis yesterday, I was shocked to see there wasn't a care sheet for the species. So seeing as I have had a lot of time to waste the last two days, I thought it would not only be educational for me to start one, but also perhaps a way I could contribute more to caudata.org. I do not yet know whether that this caresheet will be accepted by the administration, however even if it is not, I hope it can be used to help create a caresheet by someone else.

Although I only consider it a start and am continuing working on it, I am posting what I have done so far in hope that keepers of this species could help me extend it. I would appreciate if anyone who has experience with this species could help. Is there any special requirements you give/have given when keeping them? Any differing behaviour in captivity? Basically anything interesting that you think should go into the caresheet.

**NOTE: IF YOU ARE READING THIS LOOKING FOR A CARESHEET FOR THIS SPECIES PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS CARESHEET IS INCOMPLETE, IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A COMPLETE VERSION PLEASE CHECK: Caudata Culture Species Entry - Paramesotriton hongkongensis

Description

Paramesotriton hongkongensis is a robust, largely aquatic species found near the coastal Guangdong and Hong Kong, Chinese regions. Adults normally reach lengths of 14-16cm and have a smooth olive to dark brown body. Colouration can largely vary from area of origin with some showing a variable vertebral orange ridge.

Sometimes confused with P.chinensis, P.hongkongensis is less warty and has a more pronounced cranial and back ridge, which makes it appear more pentagonal in shape. This species is typically stocky and tends to display large irregular orange to red spots on its underside, with colouration running down the length of the underside of the tail.

Natural Range and Habitat

Despite being protected by local legislation and its main distributed range falling within protected areas, this species biggest threat is still the pet trade.

Populations mainly converge in slow flowing stream pools after rain periods in summer. Pools can be approximately 10-50cm deep filled with floating leaves, tree roots, stones and gravel which make it a popular choice as they offer a suitable and protective habitat for newts and pray.

Despite living a largely aquatic life, adults have been observed walking on land specifically during heavy rains in an attempt to possibly avoid flood waves or find new bodies of water.

Behaviour and history in captivity

The species has been breed in captivity numerous times and has proven to be a hardy species. Adults may stay aquatic year round and do not require a hibernation period.

Housing

Paramesotriton hongkongensis do well in richly planted aquatic setups at temperatures between 18-22°c. Moving water is not essential but slight movement and aeration of the water may be preferred.

A 15 gallon aquarium is suitable for an adult pair and although a large quantity of land is not required for adults, at a minimum a floating cork island is recommended.

Males can be territorial and sometimes aggressive, but less so than P.guangxiensis, P.fuzhongensis and P.chinensis. If keeping males together, a larger aquarium is suggested with plenty of cover and hiding places.

Like a lot of species P.hongkongensis can be shy, liking hiding places provided by rocks and plants, with over hanging vegetation imitating their natural habitat. De-clorinated or spring water with a depth of around a depth of 20cm (8in) is ideal, with normal aquarium water quality measures carried out (Caudata Culture Articles - Water Quality). Substrate such as gravel and sand can be used, but should also be cleaned regularly too.

Feeding

Adults should be fed every 2-3 days with a mixture of earthworms, slugs, wax worms, maggots and tubifex worms. Small crustaceans, fish fry and insect larvae can also be a option for aquatic feeding.

Juveniles should be fed every 1-2 days with suitably sized food such as bloodworm, tubifex, whie worm, chopped earthworms, dusted pin head crickets.

Breeding

Sexing outside the breeding season can be difficult with both male and female cloaca looking almost identical. It may be possible to identify females by observing whether they are bigger or that their tails are longer than their bodies; however this may not be an effective measure.

During breeding males will display a blue to white stripe along their tails and have an enlarged cloaca. Whereas females will display a more volcano shaped cloaca and may be plumper.

Although a winter cooling period may not be necessary some breeders recommend a winter latency period with temperatures of 8-10°c for a few weeks to encourage breeding.

Reproductive behaviour normally starts with the male gently nudging the female’s body. Next the male will dash in front of the female and start tail fanning. If the female gently starts nudging the male back, the male will immediately turn away from the female, typically with his tail in an S shape. If the female continues to gently nudge the male, the male will walk forward and deposit a spermatophore. If receptive, the female will then walk forward and collect the spermatophore with her cloaca.

Care of Eggs, Larvae, and Juveniles

Eggs are normally laid singularly on plants at numbers that tend to be much lower than regular explosive breeders such as Triturus, Cynops and Mesotritons. However despite this it is possible a female could lay up to 115 eggs.

Eggs are larger than a lot of salamander species, with the egg capsule measuring 4.5-6mm. Larvae hatch between 3-4 weeks at around 10-14mm in length. Both eggs and larvae can be raised much the same as other salamander species, please see Caudata Culture Articles - Raising Newts and Salamanders from Eggs for more detail.

Larvae tend to be apathetic but can move briskly when disturbed. Young can be fed on a mixture of baby brine shrimp, daphnia, white worms, tubifex, bloodworms and gammarus pulex.

Most larvae will reach metamorphosis before the next winter at a length of around 40-44mm. When moving to a terrestrial juvenile stage, young should be kept on medium dry earth substance, covered in dead leaves. Access to water will help to encourage juveniles to re-enter the water as adults when they are ready.

P.hongkongensis normally experience slow growth and may take 3-5 years to reach sexual maturity.

References

IUCN species database: Paramesotriton hongkongensis (Hong Kong Warty Newt)
Jean Raffaëlli account on amphibiaweb:AmphibiaWeb - Paramesotriton hongkongensis
Andrew Tilson-Wilis caresheet on pollywog.co.uk: Hong Kong Warty Newt (Paramesotriton hongkongensis)
MarkusA herping account: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...tml#post204019
Ian Choi herping accounts: http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...9-january.html
http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...hong-kong.html
Science.naturalis article:science . naturalis - hongkongensis
Various articles from members of caudata.org: Caudata Culture Articles - Sexing
Caudata Culture Articles - Raising Newts and Salamanders from Eggs
Caudata Culture Articles - Water Quality



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Old 3rd January 2011   #2
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

A few things I am unsure of and would appreciate help on:

Typically what age do juveniles head back to water?

If anyone could help me with these dates I would appreciate it:

“Eggs are laid in February-March... (Romer, 1951)”
“After the end of the wet season around October, the newts move into the stream pools. After breeding, they will eventually leave the pools around December, but the information on where they go is limited (Leung Sze Lun, 2002). The main reproductive season is from November to April. “
science . naturalis - hongkongensis

“ I learned from Kadoorie guys (thanks to P. Crow) that newts are concentrated in stream pools after rain period in summer and reproduce from October to January.”
http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...tml#post204019

“the field guides suggested that the newts breed during the winter from September to March”
http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-a...9-january.html

Start and end dates are a little scattered, should I assume breeding activity occurs from around September to January and egg laying from January to April? That is quite a long period in all, that’s like 8 out of 12 months.



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Old 4th January 2011   #3
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Umm, wow. Yes, we really need a Paramesotriton caresheet. There was a team working on one (I think it may even be near completion), but it hasn't materialized in a final form. Let me bug the primary author again about it.



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Old 4th January 2011   #4
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Haha typical! I knew I should have gone for Tylototriton kweichowensis!



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Old 6th January 2011   #5
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

So no-one has any information they would like to share?



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Old 7th January 2011   #6
Janusz Wierzbicki
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

I don't see any mistakes in the text, it looks good. Only thing "not working" would be to say they have smooth bodies- i don't think so, they're chunky animals.



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Old 7th January 2011   #7
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahilles View Post
I don't see any mistakes in the text, it looks good. Only thing "not working" would be to say they have smooth bodies- i don't think so, they're chunky animals.
"smooth olive to dark brown body" <- relates to the texture of the skin, like the bumpiness/how warty it is.

"This species is typically stocky" <- This part mentions that they are chunky/solid



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Old 8th January 2011   #8
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Hi,
I bred paramesotriton hongkongensis and this is what i noticed:

"When moving to a terrestrial juvenile stage, young should be kept on medium dry earth substance, covered in dead leaves. Access to water will help to encourage juveniles to re-enter the water as adults when they are ready. "

I had good results raising the juveniles semi-aquatic. Not on earth but on gravel. When they where old enough they re-entered the water. The first ones when they were nearly two years old. At the same moment some of the males are showing the silver stripe on the tail and formed a couple with the female.


"Colouration can largely vary from area of origin with some showing a variable vertebral orange ridge."

Colouration even vary in a group juveniles from the same parents. From darkbrown to olive. Maybe one of the parents is from another area?

"Males can be territorial and sometimes aggressive, but less so than P.guangxiensis, P.fuzhongensis and P.chinensis. If keeping males together, a larger aquarium is suggested with plenty of cover and hiding places."

I noticed that particulary the females can behave aggressive when they are aquatic again. Mainly because of food!



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Old 8th January 2011   #9
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Thank you Monique for your informative reply!

Quote:
Originally Posted by monique View Post
I had good results raising the juveniles semi-aquatic. Not on earth but on gravel. When they where old enough they re-entered the water. The first ones when they were nearly two years old. At the same moment some of the males are showing the silver stripe on the tail and formed a couple with the female.
I suspected this might be the case, however I only came across very limited information about raising juveniles. I shall extend this section, thank you :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by monique View Post
"Colouration can largely vary from area of origin with some showing a variable vertebral orange ridge."

Colouration even vary in a group juveniles from the same parents. From darkbrown to olive. Maybe one of the parents is from another area?
The reports for this mainly related to the the habitat etc, so I do not know this information. I didn't get the impression that it was the skin colour that was related to the area of origin, but the orange ridge that was more of an area thing. Rather than the skin colour, do you know if the orange ridge is more heredity/based on area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by monique View Post
I noticed that particulary the females can behave aggressive when they are aquatic again. Mainly because of food!
This is very interesting. I wonder whether this is a behaviour largely developed in the confinement found in captivity rather than the wild :-/



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Old 14th January 2011   #10
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

Quote:
Originally Posted by monique View Post
Hi,
I bred paramesotriton hongkongensis and this is what i noticed:

"When moving to a terrestrial juvenile stage, young should be kept on medium dry earth substance, covered in dead leaves. Access to water will help to encourage juveniles to re-enter the water as adults when they are ready. "

I had good results raising the juveniles semi-aquatic. Not on earth but on gravel. When they where old enough they re-entered the water. The first ones when they were nearly two years old. At the same moment some of the males are showing the silver stripe on the tail and formed a couple with the female.


"Colouration can largely vary from area of origin with some showing a variable vertebral orange ridge."

Colouration even vary in a group juveniles from the same parents. From darkbrown to olive. Maybe one of the parents is from another area?

"Males can be territorial and sometimes aggressive, but less so than P.guangxiensis, P.fuzhongensis and P.chinensis. If keeping males together, a larger aquarium is suggested with plenty of cover and hiding places."

I noticed that particulary the females can behave aggressive when they are aquatic again. Mainly because of food!
Monique, you have some quoted passages here. Can you tell us where these quotes came from?

The previous author who was working on a Paramesotriton caresheet for Caudata Culture has declined to finish the job. I am now in the process of rounding up references (including primary literature) and writers. Thank you to Rob for jump-starting the effort.



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Old 16th January 2011   #11
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

No problem Jen.
You have probably noticed, but encase you haven't, some of my references quote some primary literatures in their own reference sections.



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Old 18th January 2011   #12
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Default Re: Paramesotriton hongkongensis Caresheet

I'm sorry? I quoted Rob his post. Maybe not "officially" with quotes if that is the problem?



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