Lissotriton v. ampelensis breeding

otolith

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Just thought I'd share my experience breeding Lissotriton v. ampelensis this year. I acquired a group of 6 juveniles in August of 2011. They were kept terrestrial all winter and spring, fed a diet of small earthworms, white worms, flightless fruitflies, isopods and springtails. Several started showing signs of maturity in April. The group was moved to an aquatic setup where one male started cresting up, and the one mature female laid 100 or so eggs that failed to develop. The weather warmed up pretty quickly and water temps were consistently over 70F/20C so the group was moved to a refrigerated terrestrial setup for the summer. I found a used wine fridge with a thermostat that works very well for this. I was able to keep all of my newts at 52F all summer despite several weeks of 100+ degree days. Most wine coolers seem to have a temp range of 36-60F which seems just about perfect for most species.

In early November two males started developing crests and the very fat mature female were moved to a heavily planted 10 gallon tank. The other three newts in the group are still terrestrial and show no interest in becoming aquatic.The males crested up almost immediately and tail fanning began within the first few days. Water temp has fluctuated from 55-60F. Newts have been fed a mix of live daphnia, gammarus, frozen blood worm, and small earthworms/nightcrawlers.

The first eggs were laid on Nov 30th. The lone female has laid nearly 90 eggs so far and shows no signs of stopping. The first larvae slipped this morning! I am going to leave half of the eggs in with the parents and raise the other half in a planted 5 gallon tank seeded with daphnia, cyclops, gammarus and infusoria. I will post pictures of their setups and the their development if anyone is interested.
 

Willlis

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Using a wine cooler was a nice idea. Looking forward to seeing pictures of the set ups.
 

otolith

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Just thought I'd post an update about how this is going. Out of the 100+/- eggs about a third were sent to another member, one third was moved to a separate tank and the remaining eggs were left in with the adults. All of the larvae that have hatched in the adults tank have "gone missing"; I suspect one of the parents has been snacking. The larvae that were separated were all doing well, most had developed front legs and were eating well and then I experienced small die offs each day. The larvae would be fine one day and the next have a small dot of fungus and slight kink in the tail and die the next day. I'm not sure what the culprit is. Water parameters are all good, small daily water changes are done with aged water from the parents tank and temperatures are stable at 58-60F. I have since moved the remaining 10 larvae into a large tub and put them in the fridge where they can be kept a bit cooler.

Has anyone else experienced this with Lissotriton or have any ideas on what I could be doing wrong? The adult female continues to lay eggs, looks like there are about 15 more. I'd like to have even a modest success with them this year. Any help would be much appreciated.
 

caleb

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Lissotriton larvae are very delicate when they're small, random deaths are not unusual.

I don't think your daily water changes are helping. I get best results with zero water changes from hatching to back leg growth (or even to metamorphosis).

There was some discussion about this 'dirty water' method in this thread:
http://www.caudata.org/forum/f1173-...lotriton-euproctus/83058-delicate-dobros.html

They also need an awful lot of tiny food when they start eating (I use Moina, 'seed shrimp', and hatchling Daphnia)- there should be food available as often as possible.
 

otolith

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Figured I'd post a bit of an update. At the advice of the board I stopped all water changes and the random deaths pretty much stopped. There are now three larvae that are around 1" eating chopped blackworms, a dozen tiny larvae and another 30 eggs that should be hatching any day now. Unfortunately it has started to snow and the lakes I was getting microfoods from are now frozen over so it has been difficult getting enough food for the smallest larvae. My infusoria cultures didn't work out either, any lettuces/vegetables that seem to work best for these?

I was also wondering if it would be possible to move the larger larvae to a separate set up but don't want to risk anything if they are still too fragile. Can anyone weigh in on this?
 

Tony G Indy

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I have no experience with lissotriton but your posts sound exactly like what I went through with my alpestris apaunus last year. I am relatively new to working with newts, but I would agree with the others about limiting water changes. Once they get 3/4" or larger I don't think water changes were an issue as long as the water had no contaminates, etc. So I wouldn't worry as much about the larger larvae.

If you need small food and are in a pinch try aquaculturestore.com in FL. They sell a lot of freshwater invertebrates of many sizes, and will do a mixed bag that can be easily sustained for many months. It's pricey only because of the shipping, but well worth it if you have larvae ready to feed.

About the wine coolers. They are my best investment. I do not have a basement and have no way of getting temperatures lower than 68 F without them. You can find them on craigslist for cheap. It is easy to run a small fluorescent light in through the door.

Best of luck!

Tony
 

Jake

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I raise a few large groups of L.v.ampelensis a few years ago and had very good luck keeping the larvae in with the adults. I'm sure the adults ate a few, but in a 40 gallon tank with 6 adults I still pulled out 60+ larger larvae and metamorphs. I agree with Caleb about the minimal water changes. The "pond tank" method worked great for all of the Lissotriton, Triturus, Cynops (I don't care what they're called now), Ichthyosaura and Pleurodeles larvae I have raised. Water changes are stressful for some species' larvae and some simply won't tolerate more than a small change. In an "aged" tank full of live plants many microfoods will grow naturally without any extra effort on the keeper's behalf.

What do you mean by "larger larvae"? What size are they? Have they changed color to look like metamorphs with gills yet? If you plan to move them to a new set up you should do it very gradually, if possible use mostly water from the old set up.
 

Molch

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I raised my L. vulgaris vulgaris in planted tanks that were older and had plenty of "mulm" at the bottom. There was enough micro-life in there to get them started, then I just added Daphnia and blackworms as they grew older. I never changed any water, just topped off evaporation.

After metamorphosis, I kept them in densely planted tanks and took away any islands or land parts, just floating plants at surface. They were very obliging to stay aquatic, and grew quite well that way.
 

otolith

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It warmed up a bit here and microfoods are no longer a problem which is a relief. All larvae are doing well and more hatch every few days. The female seems to have got a second wind and has been laying several eggs a night. Hoping I can do better with this next batch. Largest larvae are now taking chopped earthworms and are looking much more newt-like.

Again thanks so much to everyone for the help!
 

Sawyer

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Good luck, bud. Hope you can raise the rest of your group successfully.
 

otolith

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The oldest larvae morphed out this morning! The little guy is way bigger than I was expecting and is almost the size of my M.a. apuanas morphs from last year. He's now living in a terrestrial setup and hopefully chowing down on isopods and springtails. Hoping the remaining ~30 larvae do as well as this little guy :).
 

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froggy

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That's a fantastic size for a vulgaris morph, well done! Hope they do well for you. It's strange, but after seeing people in the States keeping vulgaris, I have become much more attuned to how lovely they are!
 

otolith

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Figured I'd update on these guys. Ended up with ~30 morphs (i should have kept track of each one that left the water). Several have already found new homes and I will be keeping a handful to raise up. Most of them ended up morphing out pretty big. I rarely see them but they have been going through nearly 1500 pinheads a week. Here's a picture of the parents and some of the morphs. I felt bad disturbing the little guys but sometimes you've just go to make sure they're still there. I learned a lot raising these up this year, hope to do even better next season. Anyone else raising any Lissotriton species?
 

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otolith

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A bit of an update on this group. Ended up keeping 3 of this years morphs, moved across the country and am back in northern California. Lost two of my terrestrial adults, one to MBD and the other escaped. Only a week after arrival I transitioned the remaining 3 adults and the largest morph from terrestrial to aquatic and they have started laying again. This years morph is doing the majority of the egg laying too, did not expect such a young animal to mature so quickly. She is only about a cm smaller than the 3 year old female too.

Very excited! I was not thinking they would be ready to breed for at least another 4 or 5 months. Most of the eggs are developing well, looks like the winter season is off to a good start.
 

otolith

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The Lissotriton are still in full breeding mode. I lost one of my adult females (the one that laid all the eggs last year) and one more of last years morphs. They were both in bad shape from the move and would not put on weight. The second remaining female finally decided she likes the water and has been laying eggs every day. This is her first breeding season, she is CB from 2011, same as the two males. I am down to a 2.2 group.

I currently have around 40 very tiny larvae happily chowing down on cyclops and moina. I am hopeful that I can replicate last years success and maybe even expand upon it. I will not make the mistake of selling all of the offspring again and will keep most or all of this years morphs. I have been trying to find other keepers of L. v. ampelensis to try and expand my adult group but have not had any luck so far.

Here are a few terrible pictures of the adults, you can see eggs folded in the leaves if you look carefully. The larvae are too small to get any decent pictures of so those will have to wait until they put on some size.
 

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