Ambystoma maculatum eggs

Jake Hutton

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I have had a big male A. maculatum for about three years and have gone out every late January and all of February to try and find a female. I have only found males, never a female. But this year I finally found one and a few days later she laid some eggs.

So hopefully I'll get some good ones and maybe get her to breed with my male either next year or the year after. We'll see, I'm just very excited to finally have a pair. Here are a few pictures of the eggs.

Anyone have any advice on keeping the eggs and larvae?

Thanks!
 

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Ominojacu

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What state are you in, I was hoping to get out looking for some this weekend. Its been so cold I had hoped their breeding time would be delayed.
 

Jake Hutton

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In Georgia, just north of Atlanta. Our weather has been fluctuating, but the last two weekends have been pretty warm. I have seen a few masses and other breeding from some other species, but I think the breeding for maculatum is almost done down here. Maybe another week or two. Not sure about up in Maryland though.
 

Ominojacu

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We still have snow on the ground, but I am hoping this weekend will be good.
 

frogman

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There is also a good chance she was fertilized in the wild and just laid eggs once you put her in the tank. None the less, congrats on the eggs!

Evan
 

Ominojacu

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Sorry I did not give advice in the previous post, but they look fertile to me, their eggs are sensitive to PH, so maybe there was a problem with your water conditions?
 

bellabelloo

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Don't give up on them Jake. The eggs that were laid last year caused more angst than any other eggs I have come across. I was convinced they were all duds, but eventually realised I had some developing. This year I am going to try not to egg watch so much, though I have to say mine have done very little over their first week.
 

Jake Hutton

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What temperature did you incubate your eggs and in what conditions (container, water, etc.)? What was your incubation time? Also what did you begin feeding the larvae? Thanks for the help in advance.

I collected two other small masses in the wild and they have already begun to hatch, whereas the eggs my female laid have no noticeable development so far.

Here are some picture comparisons.
 

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Jake Hutton

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The eggs my female laid were all bad.

But the other masses I found all hatched. Here are some bad pictures.
 

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bellabelloo

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Hi , sorry I didn't see your previous post.

Last year I moved the eggs out of their tank and put them in a smaller tank. This was brought indoors, and this is where I think I went wrong. The water temperatures where maybe to high. I also recently read this article, which makes me think the water I used was not suitable :- http://www.academia.edu/1415741/197...reproductive_success_of_Ambystoma_salamanders

This year I left the egg mass in situ, the adults were all removed to a terrestrial set up ( and promptly hid ) . The tub has been left with the leaves etc in place. Over the last 5 weeks the water temperature has risen from approx 5 degrees to 11 degrees ( They are in my shed) and the development has been as I expected. I believe my first eggs will start to hatch this week. ( week 6)
The water is full of daphnia, copepods and Gammarus ... plus a few unidentified mystery insects. I am hoping to be able to keep all the larvae in the tub, but I may yet separate some to keep a closer eye on.
 
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Jake Hutton

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Update, I only have about 10 larvae left from both masses I collected. I have just gone through and started sorting them by size because some tails and feet have been nipped at.

I am currently offering chopped, thawed blood worms, chopped live earth worms, and occasionally aphids (very low stock). They are set up in 10 gallon tanks and 58 qt containers with an oxidizer running to each.
 

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Jake Hutton

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I just had this guy come out of the water today and another one should be out in a day or two.
 

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Jake Hutton

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The second metamorph came out today. I still have four more in the water, one is pretty close to morphing. The other three are still pretty small, comparatively.
 

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Snakes0415

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That's weird when mine came out of the water that had absolutely no color. But when they were in the water I could faintly see yellow spots…
 

Jake Hutton

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How long did it take for them to metamorphose?

All six are now out of the water and are actively feeding on springtails and D. melanogaster.

The one in the last picture was the last out of the water and still does not have obvious spots.
 

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zomper

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Hi there! Just saw your post and think I have a spotted salamander larvae as well. We collected her while dipping for wood frog tadpoles. My question is how long it took your larvae from growing the first leg to metamorphosis? Ours is almost 3 inches long now after two and a half months and still has large gills. She is a little darker, but no dramatic change in color. She has been gulping air at the top of the water recently though which is new. I want to make sure I have the setup ready for when she changes. Do you have any tips for preparing the enclosure for metamorphosis as well? Currently I have plants half in and out of the water to provide hiding spots and places to climb out. Sorry for the questions as this is the first one I have tried to raise from larvae. Thanks!
 

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Jake Hutton

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It was about 5 months but it all mainly depends on diet, how much you feed, water temperature, and water level. Slowly lowering the water level might cause a faster time to metamorphosis. I had a long period due to a lower frequency of feeding, so yours looks like it with morph out much sooner.

As it gets closer to morphing place objects in the water that allow the metamorph to move onto land. I moved them to a smaller container that had shallow water and some wood that was sloped onto sphagnum moss. The metamorph can be kept on sphagnum or loose soil with plenty of cover objects and leaf litter.
 

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Can this species be neotenic? Other ambystomids can be, so does that mean that this species can?
 

Jake Hutton

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As far as the literature is aware (there is quite a bit of it too..) A. maculatum does not exhibit neoteny, its probably since they preferably breed in temporary wetlands that are likely to dry out over long periods of time, unlike some of the other species that breed in stream-fed and fishless ponds that provide the opportunity for paedomorphic individuals to exist, such as in A. talpoideum.

In some populations of A. maculatum however, some individuals are known to overwinter and metamorphose the following spring. This can offer many advantages to the larvae such as a larger size at metamorphosis, less competition/more resources, and a higher chance of survival and reproduction (granted the pond does not dry up too quickly).
 
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