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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Emperor Newt

 Photo Credit: Erin Packard
The emperor newt is a highly toxic newt native to China. They are found in forests in mountain areas.

The emperor newt, also known as the Mandarin newt or Mandarin salamander, can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long. It has a ridged orange head from which a single orange ridge runs along its back. This ridge is lined with two parallel rows of orange bumps on a black background. The tail and legs are entirely orange. The shade of the orange can be variable.

The emperor newt usually eats small invertebrates in its environment, such as crickets and worms. Emperor newts in captivity are typically given wax worms, crickets, and earth worms.

While the background color of the emperor newt is a dark brownish-black, this species is easily identified by its bright yellow or orange markings, notably on its head, on the ridge along its spine ridge, and on the warts along its sides. Its tail and limbs are also a yellow-orange colour, and the markings are the same in both sexes.

In the wild they typically breed May through August. They deposit eggs singly or in clumps on rocks and plants in standing water bodies. In captivity, breeding may be initiated in many ways. One way is to maintain the animal at ambient temperatures in the lower 60s and on a fairly dry substrate during the winter. Then during summer, the ambient temperature is raised to the upper 70's and the humidity increased. If breeding is to occur, they must have enough water for courtship and for depositing eggs, as well as a nice-sized land area.

Did you know? 
  • Thick bones (particularly in the skull) serve as defense for the emperor newt. 
  • Those orange nodes on the newt's back are venom glands, which produce toxin that is highly lethal to small animals. 
  • These newts prey on worms and insects such as crickets. Some animals prey on emperor newts, though poisonous glands dissuade most potential predators.

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