Ichthyosaura glory.

Azhael

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I´ve only had this species for two years and although i enjoyed every second of watching them grow, become mature, their first eggs, etc, it´s not until now that i have witnessed utter perfection. This year, the first male to mature has gone all out in display. Don´t you all just love this species? They are so bloody pretty they hurt my eyes.

They received just two weeks of real cooling this year while i was at my parent´s for the holidays. At that time, the three males started to develop the pretty colours and a swollen cloaca (picture 1). Now, at 13ºC the most precocious male is just looking awesome. The tail is really broad and translucent and the colours are at their best. I´m in love.
Curiously enough, the other two males, while very much in the mood for breeding, have underdeveloped colours and tails, which makes me think this may be part of the famous inhibition phenomenon in Ichthyosaura? While being roughly the same size, last year, only one male was ready to breed (though not looking as fine as this year), the other two showed no signs of being ready.

I know this is a very easy species, just old alpine newts...but personally i´m having a smashing time with this species and their full spectacle of glorious coloration. My eyes are not worthy!!

Ichthyosaura alpestris apuanus courting. - YouTube

PS: Excuse the quality of the pictures... i know talking about the glory of this species and only having crappy bad light pìctures is sad, but it´s how things are :p
 

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evut

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They are wonderful. I think it's one of the prettiest species of newts.
It's a little bit disturbing though how you're so smitten with the boys and don't even mention the lady/ladies...the one in the photo is also pretty....I mean pretty chubby...:D Hope you get eggs!
 

Mark

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Aawww... I can remember when they were little embryos and now look at them, all grown up and frisky.

I think they are super little newts too.
 

Azhael

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No discrimination intended here. I like both :p
However, as beautiful as the females are, it´s difficult to ignore the blue flashes, purple backs, crazy flanks and checkered crest of the males... I´m sorry ladies, but the males win the beauty pageant.

And making embryos of their own, Mark :D

I spent well over an hour yesterday just watching them. All the males are fanning, but the alpha is on a rampage. It even fanned my finger when i placed it on the glass.
Such a fantastic species....and so easy to care for it´s almost suspicious.
 

Niels D

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Too bad we're not allowed to keep indigenous animals here, because it's one of the most beautiful newts. I see them sometimes during my fieldtrips though, so I can enjoy them as well if only just a little. :(
 

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I've got a group of 6. I got them as juveniles in December last year. They came as smallish juveniles and are now fairly big adults. 2 are HUGE compared to the others. They are all looking rounded now despite not being over fed. Is there a difference size wise between the genders?
 

Molch

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awesome! Mine are in the same state of tail-fanning hysteria. I have 3 pairs , and some days I can see all 3 of them fanning away busily at the ladies. Their colors are amazing. They live in a cavernous 40 ga breeder tank in my bedroom, and I could watch them all day long.

An interesting note: In the first pic, it shows that your tank bottom is very light colored. Mine used to be as well, and the newts were more light-colored then like yours are. Since I put a black foam pad under the tank, their colors have all darkened and deepened, and they look, in my opinion, even more spectacular than they did when my tank bottom was light colored.
 

Neil C

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Newts always amaze me when it come to the breeding season. Most of the year they just amble around, generally bumping into things and the only thing that seems to arouses any reaction is food. Yet come courtship time BAM! This secret, complex program gets activated and all of a sudden your bumbling newt has been replaced by a highly trained and flamboyant ladies man! The focus and desire are unstoppable and any series of extravagant manoeuvres seem to be accomplished with ease. Fast foward a month or two and Mr Magoo is back in his tank.........



Regards Neil
 

Azhael

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Ah, Neil, the power of hormones... Funnily enough they seem to work in exactly the opposite way in humans.
As active as the alpestris males are right now, they don´t hold a candle to the pyrrhogaster....now that´s hysteria. They dart around the tank as if missing one second of tail fanning a female would cause the fabric of the universe to collapse.
"Spring" time is such a wonderful time :p

Neils, that sucks, but at least you can keep dobrogicus which are not short in glorious beauty :D You must upload pictures of that male, by the way, it looks good!

Molch, i confess i liked them better when they were all light coloured :p They looked like a radioactive conglomerate of different chewing gums. Argh.....they are just too pretty.

As i finish writting this, the alpha male is getting some of his medicine as the female he is courting is courting him back o_O
 

Azhael

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Some better pictures.
I am oh so happy with my lovely little apuanus :D
 

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Mark

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Is there a difference size wise between the genders?
Not really, they're both roughly the same size. Females tend to be bulkier around the abdomen, especially before egg laying, but otherwise they are the same.
 

Molch

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Not really, they're both roughly the same size. Females tend to be bulkier around the abdomen, especially before egg laying, but otherwise they are the same.

huh...from my roamings and newt catchings as a kid I remember that the males routinely were smaller than the females; that's true of my 6 captive ones as well....
 

obicat

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Hmm, I'm fairly sure they are too young to be laying eggs, but the 2 biggest ones are definitely much bigger round the abdomen. Whats the youngest they would lay eggs :confused:
 

Mark

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huh...from my roamings and newt catchings as a kid I remember that the males routinely were smaller than the females; that's true of my 6 captive ones as well....
There does appear to be a disparity in growth rates between the sexes. Males are generally slower to reach their full adult size, although they become sexually mature quickly. I noticed this too in my group, but after 4-5 years they've pretty much caught the females up.
 

Molch

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There does appear to be a disparity in growth rates between the sexes. Males are generally slower to reach their full adult size, although they become sexually mature quickly. I noticed this too in my group, but after 4-5 years they've pretty much caught the females up.

interesting. I've noticed that some of my apuanus babies are getting bigger faster than others, although all are good eaters. The smaller ones are also darker in most cases - I wonder if the big ones will be the girls then.

That makes me also wonder if alpine newts you encounter in the wild aren't very old, usually. I hardly remember ever finding males that looked as large as females.
 

Azhael

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When Mark sent me this group, three were smaller and darker and he said his money was on them being males. Turns out the prediction was spot on.
My females are slightly longer than the males, but the difference is less than you can see in other species. However, it seems that in high altitude populations, females can get to large sizes that no male would achieve.

Obicat, i only have experience with my group so far, but they laid fertile eggs last year around this time and i had only had them for a year, so i believe they were around a year and a half. They can mature younger than that, though, specially males.
 
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caleb

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My alpine males are a bit shorter than the females. Age range of my adults is 6-23 years old, and no male is longer than any female.

I was under the impression that this was normal in the wild as well, I'm sure I've read a few papers that suggest this.
 
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