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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am planning on trying a new techique for breeding various species of salamander and newt. Particularly hoping to breed Ambystomids. I have outlined a plan... LOL! I am not only looking for feedback, but also curious if anyone else has tried this before, and if it was successful. Thanks so much!

Here is "The Plan"!

Ambystoma Breeding Theory

Required items:

1. 2 Children's/Wading Pools
2. Dirt/Moss/Plants/Logs/Leaves/Rocks
3. Screening/Plexiglass Section To Cover Top
4. Turtle Filter And/Or Spongefilter(s)
5. Large Strip Light
6. A Basement Or Garage

Step 1: Set standard sized children's/wading pools in the spot you will want your Winter Tub, and Breeding Tub.

Step 2: Fill 1 with a dirt/moss/and dead leaf mixture until even the step(If your pool has this) is covered by a sufficient layer. You may want to lay screening down halfway through the mixture to keep the Ambystomids from going too deep. In the Breeding Tub, set up an large island where dirt and mosses can be applied above the water. Add a gentle, but good, turtle/spongefilter to the water section. Add plants and cover to the water portion. Add 1:1 spring water and pond water. Add oak leaves and egg laying materials in water portion. Plug in the filter.

Step 3: Add plants, and places to hide under/in/etc. to the dirt floor of the Winter Tub.

Step 4: In Sep-Oct add your chosen species to the Winter Tub. Feed liberally, and seed the entire tub with as many isopods as possible. Add worms to the soil, and also begin a real photo period of day/night mimicking outside. Allow them to sustain themselves with no additional feedings during the winter months. Do not probe for them at all. After the harshest part of winter, and before the sals become active, add a large water bowl(tupperware, etc with oak leaves and some sticks, etc.) for the males to find.

Step 5: Depending on species, you may see activity as early as late Jan, but more probable Feb-March. At this time set up the strip light over the Breeding Tub. Males will be active first, and will wander to the water basin in which to submerse and look for a female. After you have seen the males, remove them to the Breeding Tub. Remove turtle/sponge filter at this time. As you see females at the surface, add them as well to the Breeding Tub. When introducing them to the Breeding Tub, put them on the land mass and allow them to naturally look for water.

Step 6: Feed/mist heavily, and observe nightly. You may want to add some sponge filters at this time, but if you have included live plants in the water it should be not needed. When/if eggs are laid, you may want to collect some for seperate rearing. This will give you an understanding of growth rates under different circumstances, etc.

Step 7: After the season, and before the real heat of summer, transfer them all back the the Winter Tub. this will serve as a Summer Tub as well. The soil with be deep enough to protect them from the heat of day.

Step 8: Repeat cycling, and enjoy CB Ambystomids.

This is a theory, I am looking forward to testing it. I think the smaller Ambystomids are best suited for this study, excluding A. opacum, which would require a variation of technique.

Written By: Justin Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I KNOW for a fact this will work for many species... I am hoping the technique will work with Ambystomids. I think the key is water used and egg laying choices. Also the volume of water that can be provided.

Any thoughts?

JBear
 

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Hi Jbear,

I think the breeding set-up is dependent on the species of Ambystoma that you might want to breed. For example, around here A. maculatum wakes up in early Spring to lay its eggs in the water (so they can be stored in a cold garage). A. opacum lays its eggs in shallows near water in the Fall and the Spring rains flood the laid eggs (so their storage would be different than Spring-laying species).

If all your species are Spring-laying, than your system sounds good. You may also want to post this proposal on Caudata.org, where I'm sure you'll find a lot more informed salamander guys and girls.

Good luck! Richard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You may also want to post this proposal on Caudata.org, where I'm sure you'll find a lot more informed salamander guys and girls.

Good luck! Richard.
I have posted it on Welcome to salamandridae ... LMAO!

Thanks Richard! I had said this would not be a suitable regimen for Opacum in the original post. Have you ever tried anything like this?

JBear
 

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The best I have ever accomplished is in collecting larvae from the wild and raising them up to adulthood. The A. maculatum around here grow really fast, so they were out and onto small earthworms pretty quickly.

If you could get down to the breeding pond very early in the Spring and find two of your study salamanders laying a clutch, might it be possible to collect the two salamanders and the clutch? Then you would have data to collect on the parents (and them as live vouchers) and the egg-clutch to raise-up inside.

Otherwise, I think the idea of the baby pools would work (though I have read that a lot of the salamander guys keep their adults in a refrigerator over Winter).

Just a thought, Richard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The best I have ever accomplished is in collecting larvae from the wild and raising them up to adulthood. The A. maculatum around here grow really fast, so they were out and onto small earthworms pretty quickly.

If you could get down to the breeding pond very early in the Spring and find two of your study salamanders laying a clutch, might it be possible to collect the two salamanders and the clutch? Then you would have data to collect on the parents (and them as live vouchers) and the egg-clutch to raise-up inside.

Otherwise, I think the idea of the baby pools would work (though I have read that a lot of the salamander guys keep their adults in a refrigerator over Winter).

Just a thought, Richard.
I have no idea why I never got back to answer this... Sorry, Richard!

You have a great idea of potential data that can be collected by capturing a breeding pair, but the problem is this... The vernal pool floor is covered in spermatophores before the females even enter the water in many cases. Even if I found a male courting a female, there is a chance the sperm packet she picks up is not deposited by the male that is actively courting. I would think it would be best attempted to find a female actively laying eggs, and use them as a study.

I am going to start the Baby pool study soon. I think, being that the pools will be kept in the garage and temps get almost identical to outside, the refridgeration is not needed. What species would you suggest? I was considering maculatum or texanum.

All my thanks for the replies,

JBear
 

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How deep is your frost line? In a pool even set into the ground the salamanders maybe unable to avoid freezing as they won't have the option to descend further down the refuge to avoid freezing temperatures.

There are a number of reports of people collecting adults and getting oviposition but this isn't true captive breeding as the adults do not breed in subsequent years. Typically success has occured when eggs and/or newly hatched larval are collected. In most ambystomids sexual maturity can be reached in the first year by males and in the second year by females with good feeding.

I was able to breed A. opacum a number of times in captivity using this method and a temperature controlled room.

Ed
 

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Not to push toward caudata.org again but I seem to remember reading posts on the website of someone having good success with breeding opacum and also maculatus. They were obviously two different methods but it is worth looking into.
Logan
 

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Not to push toward caudata.org again but I seem to remember reading posts on the website of someone having good success with breeding opacum and also maculatus. They were obviously two different methods but it is worth looking into.
Logan

I'll have to look but that used to be the article I wrote on breeding opacum....
 

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It probably is Ed I just remember reading about success with them. It would be nice if more people were breeding these animals but it seems mostly like its more trouble than your average keeper wants to deal with. Glad to see there is interest though.
Logan
 
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