<i>Hynobius nigrescens</i> (Japanese Black Salamander)

TJ

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TJ

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These were all photographed at a Tokyo shop. I kept one once for a few months before giving it away and it was indeed black as per the name. They vary in color and shade depending on locality. The one in the 1st pic is from Ishikawa Prefecture.
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The ones in the 3rd and 4th pics (and I think the 2nd too) are from Tochigi Prefecture.
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The colorful juvie is an Ishikawa one born at the shop. Not sure, but I'm guessing they lose their spots (or the spots fade somewhat) as they grow older.
 
Y

yago

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The juveniles look like an Ambystoma talpoideum. Very nice animal
Regards Tim
 
H

henk

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Hai Tim,

thanks foir the sharing of these fine shots. I have until now raised juvenile Hynobiu from various species and they all are shopwing some of these remarkable different colorations to the parental coloration. Indeed my H. lichenatus were also quite dark colored (like the one you shot). Currently they are 4 years of age and I do hope that I may breed them this year for the first time.

Anyway thanks for sharing these images with us.
 
H

henk

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Well well it seems that I made an error while inter^reting your images.. I hadf H. lichenatus , no nigrescens. Sorry for the misunderstanding
 

TJ

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Thanks guys. And good luck on your breeding, Henk.

H. lichenatus (Tohoku salamander) and H. nigrescens do actually overlap in eastern Japan, so maybe that is what had you confused. H. nigrescens is said to be more commonly found.

Also, that nigrescens juvie does indeed look very much like this lichenatus pictured in "A Photographic Guide: Amphibians and Reptiles in Japan":

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I was told that the shop-born nigrescens juvies showed a variety of patterns, and quite unlike their parents. Here's another pic of the same juvie in the water, which really brings out the blue.

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Compare this with a pic of a nigrescens larvae from another Japanese book (title is in Japanese so I won't mention it):

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Seems what distinguishes this Hybinobius species from others in Japan is:

* they are the only ones to lay milky egg sacs shaped like this:

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* they are found at altitudes as high as 2,000 meters

* they get as large as 18cm (20cm according to one book)

Anyway, without having seen the original egg sacs, I just have to take the shop's word for what that juvie is. For all I know, it could indeed be lichenatus
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TJ

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Sorry but meant to say "juvie" not "larvae" above the pic of the dark-colored juvie, and "Hynobius" not "Hybinobius" below the same pic.
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Finally, here are a couple pics to show how different the adults can look -- a brown one (from the Photographic Guide) and a black one (from the other book I mentioned).

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TJ

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And to exhaust my current info, here are a couple pics to further demonstrate the range of colors:

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(from the Mergus Terrerien Atlas)

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(from a Japanese nature book for children)]

And just to clarify something, the earlier pic of spotted juvie in the water is the same juvie as that seen in the shop, not the same individual as that shown in the pic above it.

Finally, silly question but can anyone tell me the difference between Hynobius, Hynobid and Hynobiidae? Is Hynobiidae simply the plural form and Hynobid the adjective form?
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H

henk.wallays

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Well Tim,

it seems that I have found my match when it comes to active people in the Hynobius corner, no ?

Anyway to make it all more confusing : I have already bred H. dunni, H. retardatus , H. okiensis (didn't succeeed raising them), H. nebulosus (*), H. leechii quelpartensis and H.
tokyoensis (*)

THe ones marked with (*) concern a first eggsac last year, but which didn't offer viable offspring (which is often the case for a first year).

Both in H. dunni and H. leechii quelpartensis I have had black juveniles. And I know that juveniles from H. chinensis are also very dark.
In dunni only some are quite dark, not all . In H. leechi they all are (stil have about 40 overhere).

Well I'm quite interest in H. nigrescens just because of that peticular shaped eggsac.
AS for now I hope for a good breeding year with quite some new facts to dicover.

For your question regarding Hynobius versus Hynobidae ; this concerns a different ranking in the taxonomy. Whereas Hynobius is the genus name of all Hynobius species, Hynobidae is the family name of several genera (correct spelling ?) incl. Hynobius, Salamandrella & among other Batrachuperus.

Personally I'm quite hooked on Hynobius of which I currently hold about 9 species. I miust agree that some species are looking awfully different through their ditribution area and that from what I have heard, several new species could get described after an extensive rdna excercise on some species (incl. nebulosu, tsuensis, boulengeri, ..)

Well I'll just have a glance on some of oyur images again. If my system works again properly I would be willng to share some of my shots.

For now I have put up quite some shots on the Amphibiaweb (type it in on the Yahoo.com and you'll find about 150 pictures I have entered among which some shots on Hynobius & even Cynops).

Thanks again for your effor}ts
 
A

aaron

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Tim, those terms all have to do with taxonomy. Hynobiidae is the family to which Batrachuperus, Hynobius, Onychodactylus, Pachyhynobius, Ranodon, and Salamandrella belong to.

Hynobius is the actual genus to which the animals belong.

Hynobid is simply a specimen belonging to hynobius.

Hope that makes sense.
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~Aaron
 

TJ

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Thanks for the clarifications guys!
Henk, I don't think you've met your match!
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It's just that I noticed the Hynobius discussion board was...well, practically dead...so thought I'd stir things up a bit. This can also be seen as a sign of sheer boredom as there ain't much to discuss these days on the Cynops front!

Also, I plan to get out in the spring to look for Cynops, so I imagine I'll be encountering Hynobius then as well, so best to bone up on the genus! I'll be attending a symposium in Tokyo early next month on local efforts to preserve H.tokoyoensis

By the way, I just heard from a local Hynobius expert who told me that "without doubt" the 9th pic, the one showing the juvie whose skin color has a tinge of brown, is actually a pic of H.retardatus, and that a mixup of juvenile "nigrescens" and "retardatus" pics has long occurred.

Re the subsequent two pics showing the brown and black adults, he identified the brown one as an aquatic-phase and the black one as a terrestrial-phase, saying the brown one may have been photographed at the end of the breeding season.

Here is a couple more good Japanese links regarding this species:

http://www.rieo.net/amph/saramand/sansyouo/kurosan.htm

http://www.geocities.co.jp/HeartLand/3108/herpetarium/captivity/capt-Hy-nigrescens.html
 
K

kai

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just nit-picking:

in English you can use Hynobiidae and hynobiids interchangeably (or use hynobiid as an adjective, e.g. hynobiid morphology).

Salamandridae -> salamandrids
Orchideaceae -> orchids
 
A

aaron

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Can't ever let me be right without those technical details, can you, Kai.
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~Aaron
 
H

henk.wallays

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Well Tim,

I know this might sound a bit like a 'too late to mention' syndrome. But yesterday I had indeed wondered about thazt brown lokking shot, espcially the ones with the brassy coloration...

Anyway I do have H; retradtus here and there is something quite odd about them. I have received juvenile animals at first which are entirely brown and NEVER showed this brassy coloration , even in the water. I think I have them for over 7 years now. I have bred them on 2 occasions (the last 2 years) and have distributed the juveniles to other members of the European Urodela group. These juveneles were never brassy colored.

Last year however I legeally imported some Hynobius myself (hoep to do this just once more) and got a second set of Hynobius retardatus which looked quite different (when it comes to colors) : they have these brassy green colorations (see the images at Amphibia web). Now that they are bigger they still have these brassy colors , be it that it is now more golden. So here I am with 2 Hynobius retardatus groups showing of other colors ... I have the area of distribution of the first one , but not of the second one. It is those brassy colored onces that do resemble your images.

Currently I have bought a digital camera and I ma in the process of macro-shooting now... We'll see if I get around it and then send some jpg's ...

Anyway could you inform me on the outcome of that
symposium ?? I currently have a group of 5 adults and 11 juvenile H. tokyoensis. I'll do my best out here to breed them ...but would love to hear about ANY ecological observations regarding ANY hynobius (if you have the time offcourse).
 

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Hi Henk,
Not knowing enough yet about hynobiids, I just have to go along with what the shopkeepers say they are when it comes to identification, though I'm always wary they may be something different. I don't keep any myself, though I might raise some location-known H.tokoyoensis larvae this year for release into the wild.

Saw your very nice pics at Amphibia Web and also noticed there are no photos there for several hynobiid species. I could easily fill in those blanks as I've seen them being sold at shops here -- but would prefer that any photos I post at that site are first authenticated with regard to what species they are. In the meantime, I'll try to post some more pics of other hynobiids here as I get them.
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By the way, regarding color variation, I've since heard the following from my Japanese "expert source" (not sure yet whether I can identify him here...and hopefully he'll eventually join the discussion in person!):

"Unlike lotic-breeding hynobiids (e.g., Hynobius kimurae, Onychodactylus japonicus), there are little geographic variations in the skin color in lentic-breeding hynobiids (e.g., H. nigrescens, H. lichenatus) because they have concealing coloration, though skin color variations are found in some species (e.g., H. nebulosus, Salamandrella keyserlingii)."

The symposium is this coming Saturday, after which I'll probably start a new thread for H.tokyoensis. There's a lot of info out there already on this species (sorry, almost all in Japanese!). In fact, I just printed out a 100+ page report the other day. Always thought it odd that there's so much on hynobiids but so little on C.pyrrhogaster, woefully neglected in most local amphibian surveys I've seen!
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H

henk.wallays

Guest
So if I understand you right , if I wanted to know more on hynobiids I should read Japanese ??
Well there I will need to decline unfortunatelly.

I have installed H.nebulosus, H. lichenatus & H. tokyoensis in new breeding tanks and hope they reproduce. At least I did my job, now it is up to them...
I might eventually fill in some blanks too in a few months (at least that's what I hope).

I would be interested to know what the current prices are out there for Hynobiids. If you want you can also contact me at my email adress
henk.wallays@skynet.be

Well I hope all goes well out there and enjoy your time shopping for Hynobiids. I knowsomebody overhere who would just love to be in your shoes... :))
 

TJ

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Hi Henk.
Well, I won't be shopping for them or keeping any adults, just taking pics and trying to observe them in the wild. And maybe also trying to raise some larvae.

But to give you some idea of prices, at one shop H.tsuensis is being sold now for 15,000 yen (US$125) per pair, H.nigrensis for 7,200 yen each (though I've seen them sold for half that), H.lichenatus for 3,000 yen each and H.takedai for 9,800 yen each. Another shop is selling H.tokyoensis for 2,000 yen each.

By the way, for anybody out there who may be tempted to ask, I should add here the usual disclaimer that I'm not a potential source for any newts/salamanders, be it trade or otherwise ;)

Henk-san, thanks for your mail address and good luck on your breeding efforts (as well as on your Japanese language studies!)
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H

henk

Guest
Ok Tim, thanks for the icea about the prices. And let it be sure my question was indeed meant to have an idea, since there is a chance that I may again try to import some and just wanted to have an idea about prices...
 
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