Spotted Paddle-Tail Newt

Spotted Paddle-Tail Newt

Taxobox
name = Spotted Paddle-Tail Newt
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Amphibia
ordo = Caudata
familia = Salamandridae
genus = "Pachytriton"
species = "P. brevipes"
binomial = "Pachytriton brevipes"

The Spotted Paddle-tail Newt ("Pachytriton brevipes") is an amphibian native to southeastern China and was named in 1876. A member of the family Salamandridae, it is closely related to the spotless paddle-tail newt ("Pachytriton labiatus"). The spotted paddle-tail newt lives in streams and is characterized by its long, paddle-shaped tail used for propulsion.

Description

Pachytritons are stout-bodied, smooth-skinned aquatic newts. Their heads are large and flattened, have conspicuous labial folds, short stubby legs and toes. They breathe through both lungs and skin.

There are two Pachytriton species: "Pachytriton brevipes" and "Pachytriton labiatus". Average adult length (nose to tail) for both species is 6-7 inches (15-18 cm). "P. brevipes" is the larger of the two, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5 inches as an adult. It also has more prominent labial folds and longer digits than those of "P. labiata". Both species have smooth skin, which differs from the tuberculate skin typical of newts.

The most striking difference between the two species is color. The head, back, and tail of "P. brevipes" range in color from light brown to a dark chocolate brown and are covered in dark spots. The underbelly color varies considerably, from a very light brown to a solid black. Breeding males may develop bluish-white spots on the tail.

Behavior

Species of "Pachytriton" are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior. This behavior is seen mainly in males, but occasionally in females as well.

"P. brevipes" is an aggressive hunter and feeder. It is carnivorous and will eat worms, insects, and small fish.

The breeding behavior of "P. brevipes" is unknown.

Ecology

"P. brevipes" is native to the freshwater streams of southeastern China, and it thrives in cool, clean water high in oxygen. Current distribution is shrinking, most likely due to pollution and to human encroachment on habitat. "P. brevipes" is almost exclusively aquatic, though it will leave the water if bullied by a more aggressive individual.

"P. brevipes" in captivity

There are several forms of "Pachytriton" circulating as pets. These do not easily fit the description of "P. brevipes" or "P. labiatus", and they are either new species or hybrid species.

References

* [http://www.caudata.org/cc/species/Pachytriton/Pachytriton.shtml Caudata article and pictures on Pachytritons]


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