Hemidactylium scutatum embryonic development

johnskillcorn

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Having been encouraged by the responses of one or two readers of my comments and picture concerning the breeding of Hemidactylium scutatum (Four toed salamander), I would like to offer this series of pictures showing the development of this North American amphibian from egg to metamorphosis. Unfortunately I was not able to include all the pictures in the series I'd selected (14 altogether) but I think you'll get the idea from these.
The larvae are extremely tiny and need to be fed with suitably sized aquatic micro-organisms at first, gradually moving on to small mosquito larvae and such-like. Growth and development are not rapid processes.
Once on land, they will feed on springtails and any other leaf-litter animals as long as they can be swallowed. I kept the environment cool and very wet, always with Sphagnum moss as the main vegetation.

John Skillcorn
001 Four toed salamander with eggs 21st May 2008.jpg 002 21st May 2008.jpg 003 24th May 2008.JPG 004 Female with eggs (head protruding from moss).jpg 005 30th May 2008.JPG 006 5th June 2008.jpg
011 Newly hatched 25th June 2008.jpg 012 23rd August 2008.jpg
 

Azhael

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Very nice, it´s always a pleassure to see plethodontids being captive bred. What size were the morphs? And how long, roughly, from hatching to metamorphosis?
 

taherman

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Growth and development are not rapid processes.
This is curious to me...Hemidactylium has the shortest larval period of any plethodontid, with estimates in wild populations from 21 to 42 days. I've raised a few clutches and I don't think any have taken more than 2 months to morph. If yours are taking longer you might consider starting some growout tanks. Get some ostracods, copepods, daphnia or similar going gangbusters in a decent sized tank with some oak leaves, branches, java moss, and duckweed and raise your larvae right in this culture tank. Providing them with an abundance of food like this will really shorten the larval period.

I got some F2 larvae this year from 2008 offspring, so apparently sexual maturity can be reached in 2 years.
 

Jennewt

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Great photos, thanks for posting!
 
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