Monday, November 19, 2012

Hong Kong Newt

Paramesotriton hongkongensis
Hong Kong Newts are the only Salamanders found within the territory Hong Kong, though they can also be found in a few other parts of the surrounding area. They can be found in and around slow flowing streams and pools that have sufficient pebble coverage for hiding. Hong Kong Newts do not hibernate  and can be spotted year round.

You can identify these smallish Amphibains by their brown, warty bodies and vibrant orange-spotted undersides. Those bellies are used as a warning to drive predators away. They themselves feed on worms, crustaceans, tadpoles, insects, and small fish.

As with most Amphibians, Hong Kong Newts go through a metamorphosis as they grow. Their tadpole stage has black skin and pink gills, and they have spotted stomachs, but those are yellow instead of orange. The Larvae hatch at around 14mm, and reach their final transitional stage at around 40-44mm. It can take as long as 3 years to reach full sexual maturity.

The major threat facing the Hong Kong Newt is collection for the pet trade. The population is protected in Hong Kong, but is on the decline. Luckily they are able to be bred in captivity, so they aren't in major danger of going extinct just just. They do very well in captive environments, and are said to be quite hardy as adults.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : Hong Kong
Size : Body Length up to 15cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Lissamphibia -- Order : Caudata
Family : Salamandridae -- Genus : Paramesotriton -- Species : P. hongkongensis

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