Ensatus larva crawling on to land

bewilderbeast

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So my 4 inch (3 snout to vent) long D. tenebrosus is displaying some strange behavior. I will walk in the room and he will be crawling around in the minimal planted section of his vivarium. another time I saw him with most of his body out of the water hauled out on a rock with just his head under. I'm not sure if he is just looking for food or what, he doesn't seem to be underfed. He usually returns to the water when I come in the room and starts to beg (nothing strange there). I feel he is far too small yet to be metamorphosing (about the size of your average Ensatina)...

I know that most of you guys keep Dicamp larva in a fully aquatic set up...
here's mine...
file_2446.jpg

I have pulled out a lot of the smaller pebbles and reduced the land area by half since this photo was taken so that I could increase the water level.

I know this is a kind of remote corner of the forum, but any thoughts?
 
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pete

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That's quite interesting. I have noticed one of my guys behaving differently lately, too. Prior it was hiding mostly under the rocks. Now it is moving around the java moss and hanging out in the filter outflow. This is more how the other one was behaving before it had it's growth spurt (which I think it is now an adult neotene, due to pattern, proportional, behavioral changes). I have no idea why he's more active and exposed. I have noticed that this ones gills have been growing, which is what I first noticed in the other salamander before it's growth spurt and changes. Perhaps it is has to do with morphing. Another thing that I was thinking was maybe it has to do with the weather/season/humidity levels. Last weekend, I was out in some Dicamptodon habitat, and the water in the creeks was quite rough, and it was quite humid. Keep us posted. If it is morphing it could be interesting, because maybe if mine could crawl out they'd go terrestrial in stead of staying gilled?
 

fishkeeper

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Interesting observations. I wonder if fooling around with the humidity, current, or temperature would reveal anything.

pete: I you implying the possibility of Dicamptodon larvae crawling up under streamside cover to avoid strong snowmelt currents? Indeed most areas where they are found are moderate to fast flowing streams.
 

pete

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pete: I you implying the possibility of Dicamptodon larvae crawling up under streamside cover to avoid strong snowmelt currents? Indeed most areas where they are found are moderate to fast flowing streams.

Sure, with all the rain we've been having this year the streams are quite impressive at the moment. At the place where I was at, there was no moderate just fast-flowing.... I couldn't even find a calm pool to look though. During that soggy visit, I appreciated of some of the extremes Dicamptodons must be equipped to survive, and pondering how they deal with it.
 

rust

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I had a few morph at ~4-5in, but it's a slow process. They did the same thing, they started roaming more and more out of the water. But don't change their set-up until they have been morphed for about 6 months. I found they still went back to the water to feed, and a couple that I removed to a complete terrestrial set-up early on died. The ones left in the split set-up did fine.
 

bewilderbeast

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oops... wrote the wrong species name in the header... oh well.

I am actually thinking of setting this guy up in an all aquatic tank, the one he's in now is very nice but a little large for the amount of space that is usable to the animal.
 

bewilderbeast

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I had a few morph at ~4-5in, but it's a slow process. They did the same thing, they started roaming more and more out of the water. But don't change their set-up until they have been morphed for about 6 months. I found they still went back to the water to feed, and a couple that I removed to a complete terrestrial set-up early on died. The ones left in the split set-up did fine.


Didn't know you'd kept Dicamps Russ, could you tell me at what size you started to notice patterning emerge on your young Dicamps? as large larva or after morph? ... i am curious to see how my little guy is going to look... hoping he's a stunner as an adult.

I posted this question in another thread but didn't get much response, not many people morph em from pups I guess...
 

pete

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I am actually thinking of setting this guy up in an all aquatic tank, the one he's in now is very nice but a little large for the amount of space that is usable to the animal.

I guess given Russ' post you may not be able to change his environment too much without harming him until he finishes. If he is morphing... perhaps you could keep a "photographic-journal" of sorts. It might be nice to have on the website, since so little is known about them and maybe you'll answer your own patterning question with it. Whatever, keep us updated on it's progress, please.
 

calinewt

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Mine morphed fairly recently, and I had noticed the same behavior as mentioned above...I switched the tank from a full aquatic set up to a half water, half substrate setup, and lowered the flow from the filter to decrease the water movement (less water, I didn't want tidal waves! :) ). Soon after that, I'd say within a month, I noticed a lot more coloration on him--going from gray to a gray with brown patterns--also his gills became smaller and smaller. by the end of that month, he spent all of his time on land. In the transition period, his behavior and appetite didn't change, if anything, his appetite increased! Of course once he was done morphing, he burrowed into the substrate and is hiding there now...once the weather changes, I'm pretty sure he'll come out to visit...we'll see.
I hope that gave you a little insight--I'm pretty new to these guys, so I'm sorry I can't give you any concrete info!
 
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