Have you guys ever had/heard of neotenic Laotriton? Most of my larvae metamorphosed 2-3 months ago and this one is still living its best life aquatically. It’s also getting decently big at 2.5-3 inches (~6-7.5 cm), which is way bigger than the other larvae when they morphed.
I have no experience with this species, but in addition to the well know examples of neoteny/paedomorphosis in Ambystomatid salamanders (e.g., neotenic A. mexicanum, A. andersonii; paedomorphic A. tigrinum and A. talpoideum), some species/populations of Salamandrids (newts) have been shown to be capable of facultative paedomorphosis.
As with Ambystomatids (among which paedomorphosis is much more well studied), there are probably several environmental factors (such as readily available food, low density of conspecific individuals, water quality/chemistry etc) that provide developmental advantages to the larvae.. In turn, these can stimulate larvae to forego metamorphosis longer than normal.
Earlier this year I raised several tanks of emperor newts (Tylototriton shanjing) and 6-7 larvae had longer (~120-125 days) larval periods and were larger at metamorphosis than the rest (most of which metamorphosis in 85-95 days).
Nutshell is, since paedomorphosis is known in the family, it wouldn't be shocking in Laotriton, but since little is known about it, please share observations on these larvae as they develop.
This is a life history topic that has been studied in salamanders for a long time, but for which there is still quite a bit that can be learned (and something that caudate keepers could help shed light on).
I've bred Laotriton for a long time and never had a neotenic one. I've had some that take longer to metamorphose but not that got quite that big. It takes several years for Laotriton laoensis to be sexually mature. It would't be considered neotenic or paedomorphic before it became sexually mature.
Aah ok so probably not neotenic then; just thought it was neat seeing how long it’s taken so far. There was one surprise larvae that was living with the adults so maybe this is that one (hatched a bit later than every one else). Then again, none of the larvae got this size . I’ll post some updates if it stays in its larval form.