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Ambystoma maculatum ( Breeding and Larval Development)

Bellabelloo

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Here are some of last years juveniles looking all shiny and clean :D
 

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Bellabelloo

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Here's a couple of photo's of a newly morphed juvenile from this years breeding, and some of last years.
 

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Tengu

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Very cool journal. I've raised ss from morphs years ago and it was a very rewarding experience. I still visit the vernal pool 20 years later
 

Bellabelloo

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Mum and some of last years juveniles ( the flash makes her a very odd colour)
 

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Bellabelloo

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I found one of the adults lurking around the water bowl today, there where signs that there had been some activity in the water....So it looks like I will be hooking up the aquatic tub.
 

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Bellabelloo

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I've been slowly moving tanks and tubs and various inhabitants around my shed. As I now have space next to these, I have placed their aquatic tub at the bottom end of their terrestrial tub. Previous years the aquatic tub was beside it and it tended to get in the way a lot.
The terrestrial section used to have a water bowl ( which I would use as an indicator that they may be ready to breed), this has now been taken out. The two sections are now connected so that they can access the water when ever they want.
 

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Bellabelloo

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This years eggs have been laid :) Slightly later than the previous times.
For the first time she decided to attach them to the moss like plant, rather than her usual plastic plant. She also produced two masses,
 

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Bellabelloo

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I checked on the maculatum a few weekends ago to see how they where and if all where present and correct :)

I needed to replace their water section as it had sprung a leak. They had used this one for the last three years. I transferred the remaining cm of water and muck etc into the new one, hopefully they will be happy to use this.
 

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Bellabelloo

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Over the last few weeks, during the evening, the males have been venturing into water..one likes to lurk in the connecting tube. The last photo is of one of the juveniles that is patiently waiting to go to its new home :)
 

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Bellabelloo

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This years eggs have arrived. I didn't think I'd find any this year as we hadn't had a nice long cold spell. Spermataphore was spotted Monday evening. The males where in and out of the water over the last few weeks.. the female was hiding. Wednesday evening she was aquatic and had left again Friday.
It was only as I was adding the date to my shed calendar that I found she had produced them on the same day as last year :) . Now I am left wondering what is triggering her to breed.
 

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Bellabelloo

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After last years eggs where laid, I found one of the adults had died. I have no idea why as they all appeared to be in good condition. The body also looked as well as a dead salamander could look. As there where still two in the water, I suspect that this was my only female. I'll be holding back the last group of juveniles now to see if there is a female.

Over the last month or so, the maculatum tend to be more visible. I put it down to the seasonal change and the need to maybe eat more in preparation for winter. About two years ago, I put a slow developer in with the three adults. It was one of the last to metamorphose and it proceeded to do very little. I thought little about it, and to be honest had assumed it had died.
As the animals where out, I decided to do a closer check, I fished out the two adults and was shocked to note that one was much smaller and slimmer than it should have been. I was puzzled and beginning to worry. As I gazed down into their tub and began to move the leaves and bark around, there was plenty of woodlice and earthworms ......and another maculatum :happy:.
Once I put them together I realised what was going on. The smaller one was the juvenile that hatched 2015. Not sure of it's sex yet, but suspect it'll be another male.
Reading my last few posts, I realised I hadn't updated this for a while. This years eggs where very slow to develop and grow. They possibly had more variety of live food offered than any other year, but I didn't separate the larva into a couple of different tubs, they all stayed in the one. Normally I would remove the newly hatched larva into a nursery tub. The size difference between larva was vast. I don't think this is unusual as the egg mass has larvae hatching for maybe a month, I had expected the newly hatched larva would be predated, maybe some where. I still have a couple still left to go, the rest have gone onto land.




Edit .. Caudata seems to be playing up and I'm unable to add some photo's. I'll try again later.

Thanks to the magical powers of John, I can now add the pictures.
 

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Bellabelloo

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We've had a bit of a cold snap here in the UK, I had thought I'd protected all the animals well. I was mistaken, and had forgotten about this little larva being in such a small container.
I got up early Friday and checked on the animals and came across this little guy frozen into the ice. I was horrified, but was sure that I saw a slight movement when I lifted up the container to get a better view. I brought the tub into my kitchen and placed it on a cooling rack ( to allow air circulation) to slowly defrost. Maybe 5 or so hours later the larva was released from the ice and slowly moving around. By evening it had eaten. It'll be staying indoors now until the temperatures rise now.
I strongly advise against freezing larva, or aquatic animals.


The first two photo's are annoyingly upside down.
 

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Counting

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Hi, a couple of quick questions!

After developing all 4 limbs how long did it take on average to go terrestrial/morph?

How big were they on average at morph, and what did you feed them with on land?

This is such a lovely thread. Thank you for it!
 

Bellabelloo

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I ve not had eggs for a few years now. Yesterday I spotted two small groups of eggs.I'd not expected any as I thought the female was still to young- seems I was wrong.. It's interesting as they were laid close to when they use to be laid.
 

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