Raising metamorphs aquatic is the new way :P

Azhael

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This season i decided i would raise my H.orientalis and C.pyrrhogaster juveniles aquatic from the very beginning, with no terrestrial period, and already i´m very pleased with the decission. After reading about Tudor´s experience doing this i was confident it could work but i was still rather afraid to try it because of past experiences.
Now, it must be said that my experience so far only includes one individual :D I have several larvae of each species that to my unending delight are growing big and juvenile-like despite not showing signs of inmediate metamorphosis. Funnily enough, the one metamorphosed juvenile from this season that i have so far morphed tiny and underdeveloped (its larvals siblings are substantially bigger and bulkier). Despite this, it only tried to climb the walls and avoid the water for about a week, then on its own accord started to submerge and hunt for food underwater. For the last three weeks or so it´s been spending a lot of time walking along the bottom then resting near the surface for a while. I haven´t had to tweezer feed it since that first week. Right now it´s exactly 3cm long, and it morphed at only 2,5 cm.
I did not expect such a tiny little metamorph to adapt so well, and i´m really chuffed with the results. I´m confident the rest of the larvae will do just as well after they morph.
If things continue to go well i´m going to need to update the CC article xD

I´ll leave you with a bad picture of the little fella hunting enchytraeus underwater. I love you little, independent newt!
 

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Molch

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this is fascinating. I have a number of pyrrh larvae on the way and I think I will try to raise at least some aquatic this year.

Also, since I turned my youngest vulgaris morphs aquatic, they are growing faster and look more vigorous. I even had one that looked like she was gonna die, but after going aquatic she recovered beautifully. I found they adjust well as long as they have plants at the surface where they can rest and keep their head above water, but no bark or rocks where they can climb out completely. In that case, they'd just sit on the rock and look peeved. So there it is...
 

Niels D

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I'm raising my noto's aquatic and they're growing fast. Will keep my H.orientalis aquatic as well. Did you use a little bit of corkbark or didn't they have any "land" to rest on? I'm keeping H.orientalis in a container filled with moss and I'm hoping that this will be enough.
 

morg

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I have raised orientalis aquaticaly without a terrestrial phase in the past.
They grew much more quickly than ones raised having a terrestrial phase.

They always had floating elodea so that they could get heads above water level if needed, and after first metamorphosing some would climb the glass, but as soon as they realised that food items were below water level they would adapt to a completely aquatic lifestyle very quickly

Years ago as well, I had an ensicauda popei juvenile that managed to hide well in the heavily planted adults tank, and by the time I found it, it had gone through metamorphosis and was living happily aquatically.
Although it was then offered cork bark to climb onto if needed I dont think I ever saw it being used
 

evut

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I successfully tried this method (no land just plants) to make slightly older terrestrial pyrrhogaster juveniles aquatic - the immediate transformation from shy land creatures into greedy and outgoing water piggies was amazing. I hope you have success with the rest of the brood, Rodrigo!
 

Azhael

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I´m very glad to hear this method works well consistently, Morg. It eases my mind, and believe me, it´s generally troubled. As far as i could remember, Tudor´s experience was the only documented case of success i knew of.
The widespread and steadfast idea that many if not most species have strictly terrestrial metamorphs/juveniles has definitely been challenged. Even with notos, as you can attest, Niels!

I didn´t offer any terrestrial possibilities except the glass of the tank, just large amounts of plants (as is the ONLY way :p).

Like you, Eva, i had had great results keeping relatively older juveniles aquatic, but i was rather afraid of trying it with fresh metamorphs. Not afraid anymore! And i´m never going back!

It´s very interesting that a growing number of us has gone through the very similar experience of first raising juveniles fully terrestrial on dirt, then moving to moist paper towels perhaps, then semi-aquatic and finally fully aquatic.
 

Alex Tsukanov

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The Russian caudata-community doesn't advise to raise Cynops ensicauda popei aquaticaly without a terrestrial phase!

Our generally accepted opinion says that the gilded spottiness of skin depends on a duration of life of young newt in terrestrial phase (dryness of air).

The newts C.e.popei raised aquaticaly (without a terrestrial phase) have really accelerated maturation but they resemble Cynops ensicauda ensicauda: the gilded spottiness is minimal (in fact, total lack of spots!)

Are we right, Morg?
 

Jaku

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Interesting discussion,

Gracias Rodrigo! and also Tudor; yours posts are impressive.

Also Alex Tsukanov post is very interesting for me as C.ensicauda popei are one of my favourites newts, and if this lack of popei colour is due to the aquatic rasing of the juveniles... can it would have some other effects in the cynops family? would like to hear more about it.

Thank you guys, keep it coming.
 

Azhael

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Alex, that is very interesting. I have no experience with C.ensicauda so i can´t contribute anything, but i´d be very interested to see that hypothesis tested.
Spotless individuals of the subspecies C.e.popei also appear in animals raised terrestrial (there is great variation) so it could be a weird coincidence, but it´s definitely and interesting thought.

It´s true that it´s the general position, and in the past i have personally adviced against forcing metamorphs to be aquatic, but i have definitely changed my mind. The key is having large amounts of plants, though. Without them the risk of drowning is a very serious thing.

I have another metamorph, this time a pyrrho. We´ll see how it goes :)
 

AngieD

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I might try this with the next batch, I daren't try it with my current juvenile, as he's the first one I've raised, and he does tend to freak out if try putting him in water - he even sometimes climbs the sides of his tub if the paper towels are too wet.
 

EasternNewtLove

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So did you just have the larvae stay in a tank filled with water with no possible land? So they were forced to stay aquatic essentially? Sorry, Im a little uninformed. But I want to try this with my Noto larvae.
 

Azhael

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Yes, the larvae and the morphs are kept together in the same conditions. They can scape the water for the first few days by climbing the glass, which is something they tend to do regardless, even when kept semi-aquatic or terrestrial on paper towels like Angie described.
I must emphasize once more that the key to the success of this method is having ridiculous amounts of plants. Basically a green wall of stuff with some water between the spaces xD Young juveniles will spend lots of time at the surface with their heads poking out, and make incursions under water every now and then. Eventually they become just as aquatic as adults are and by the time they gain sufficient size, the tails broaden and they become much more effective swimmers, at which point the very dense vegetation is no longer necessary (although it´s still advisable).
 

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What is your water depth, Rodrigo? Or do you think depth doesn't matter because of all the plants? I certainly am going to try this with my juvies this year.
Heather
 

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I had success with orientalis juveniles for 10 months after metamorphosis (I just had to give them away) in an aquatic setup. I used one of the large exo-terra faunariums, so water depth was 7-8 inches. However, the tank was so full of Fontinalis and java moss that when i took the tank apart, the weed had formed intp a sort of mould of the tank! The juvies spent the first few months just in the top layer, however, before starting to use more and more water depth. They hada piece of cork, but never used it (a small bit that just broke the surface and was always damp). I suspect that with fewer plants, a few cm of water wou;d be best to start, slowly increasing it as they adapt.

I did remove a few stubborn animals to a normal terrestrial setup as they weren't so happy about beng aquatic. These were the first to morph - the later they morphed (irrespecitve of size) the more readily they stayed in the tank.

The water temp never really got higher than 15C, but I don't know if that is a contributive factor.

Aquatic animals also developed a lovely red belly very easily; to get this in the terrestrials was a pain as they never ate in front of me. The aquatic tank had a population of hog lice (Asellus and Gammarus, which the juvies fed on.

Compared to other species, the orientalis were still very shy in the water and I very rarely saw them eat.

C
 

Azhael

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I hope you are not mad with me, but i didn´t include your experience as i thought the term semi-aquatic fit it better! However, if the cork bark was never used, then it´s basically the same experience.

I expected my young morph to remain in the top layer, and while it spends a substantial part of its time there, the incursions underwater are long and comfortable. Just one week after morphing, it had mastered the art of sinking xD

That´s the one thing i´m failing at...getting them to develop a nice red belly. If the Daphnia culture that has taken me so long to get going, survives until i get back to Salamanca (i´m at my parent´s for the holidays), then i´ll have a chance. I had to re-start the colony from a single surviving individual, twice..and now i had to leave it behind....bloody typical....
 

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Although i haven't had much experience raising the cynops juves this way,i have done it with verrucosus,alpestris and cristatus,I do wonder how much stress it may put a juvenile under though!,If i get the opportunity of some ommatotriton eggs ,it would be great to see if they can be raised this way! Although they do climb the glass really well ,like spiderman infact
 

Azhael

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There are plenty of species (and sometimes specific subspecies) that we are used to raising fully aquatic with no terrestrial phase at all. P.waltl, I.a.apuanus, any species of the "cristatus complex", occassionally T.verrucosus, etc. Even species like L.boscai or L.italicus which although very rarely bred at all (and traditionally with strictly terrestrial juveniles), are almost always raised aquatic.
None of those species provide any reasons for concern, and i think Hypselotriton and Cynops won´t either.
Come to think of it, it´s actually rather unusual that the general view is that this kind of thing is not acceptable or advisable for these genera and many others. I was one of the people that used to find it almost blasphemous xDD I don´t mean to say it was bad advice (the risk of drowning is very real in open water), but it´s been made clear that the terrestrial phase of newts is no dogma.
 

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Rodrigo - How could I stay mad at you ?! (not that I was mad to start with) - I think previous explanations made my setup seem semiaquatic, but it was essentially aquatic. The cork bark piece was a thin sliver of bark that always had mm or so of water on top of it. The newts really liked hiding underneath it, though. I think providing cover (it could be some large-leafed plants or dead leaves or whatever) made them feel secure at the urface of the water, so they didn't try to climb out or drown by tryng to submerge. Duckweed or floating ferns would probably do the same, but it gets in the way of trying to feed the animals.

The other advantage to the aquatic method is that the newts will eat frozen foods, so they will readily eat defrosted Daphnia and Atremia etc, which give the carotenoids necessary for red bellies. They take a while to figure out what smells so delicious at first, but once they get the idea they feed well, particularly if you wiggle the food with forceps at first.

This does seem to work well as long as the few individuals that really don't adapt are allowed to go terrestrial, otherwise one can lose them. I wonder how rearing this way over many generation will affect adaptation to captivity... (not that any long-term CB populations stay the same as wild animals anyway).

C
 

morg

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The newts C.e.popei raised aquaticaly (without a terrestrial phase) have really accelerated maturation but they resemble Cynops ensicauda ensicauda: the gilded spottiness is minimal (in fact, total lack of spots!)

Are we right, Morg?[/QUOTE]

I have only ever raised the 1 ensicauda popei aquaticaly and I never kept it to see it mature so cannot say if it had less spottiness than terrestrial raised juveniles?

I have raised many newt species aquaticaly through the years, and it seems that no matter which species Ive tried it with, the young seem to only take a short while trying to leave the water, but then seem to lose the instinct to come onto land and will then stay aquatic or will live in a semi aquatic set up but use land section rarely
 
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