The Paddle-Tail Newt
Spotless stout newt
Der Chinesischer Kurzfuβmolch (German)
El tritón chino de cola de paleta, tritón cola de remo (Spanish)
Species: pachytriton labiatus
These newts are endemic to southern China, where they can be found in such provinces as Hubei, Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Yunnan etc. It is a completely aquatic species that lives in slow flowing rivers and streams.
Adult newts reach the length of 14-18 cm; head-to-tail length can be up to 21 cm.
These newts have wide and flat head with a short snout. The eyes are relatively small. The parotoid glands are quite large. The long tail has no ridge, it is round at the base and flattened at the end. The skin is smooth, with vertical wrinkles at the flanks. Paddle-tail newts are usually light brown with small black spots. The belly is brighter with numerous red, pink and whitish spots.
Males and females have similar size and coloration with the only difference that females’ bellies and tails are not as brightly colored as males’. Also, adult males have more slender bodies and longer limbs.
It is not recommended to keep several newts in a small tank. If the tank is large enough, both sexes get on fairly well together. They shouldn’t be kept together with fish: newts will eat smaller fish, and aggressive big fish can injure the newts.
Paddle-tail newts need a horizontal aquatic tank from 30 liter in size for 1 specimen. It should have a small land area.
If the tank is kept under room temperature, you won’t need extra heating. The water temperature has to be 21-24 degrees. The tank should be equipped with an external cascade filter or an internal pump filter.
You can put on the bottom of the tank under the water sand or gravel. For substrate on land area you can use gravel or coconut husks covered with damp sphagnum. You can put on the water pieces of bark or wood for the newt to climb on.
You can have aquatic plants in the tank. You will have to put in the water some shelters: rock caves, pieces of ceramic pots etc. You can keep newts in a harem: 1 male and 2-3 females.
In the wild paddle-tail newts eat various invertebrates, small fish, tadpoles and amphibians’ larvae. Cannibalism occurs too.
In captivity newts are usually fed with bloodworms, earthworms, sludge worms, crickets, cockroaches, pinky mice, pieces of lean meat and fish. Young newts eat mainly bloodworm and sludge worm. Tadpoles eat daphnia and special commercial food.
Tadpoles and young newts should be fed daily. Adult newt should be fed every second day.2-3 times a week you should dust the food in vitamin or calcium powder.
Paddle-tail newts rarely ever get ill. In captivity they live up to 8 years.
The newts become sexually mature at the age of 1-2 years old, once they have reached the size of adult specimens. In the wild they breed when the water temperature reaches 15 degrees.
In order to stimulate breeding in captivity, you will need to decrease the temperature first and then increase it up to 24 degrees and turn on an aerator. When a male has found a female, he produces a spermatophore. The female gets it into her cloacae. 4-6 days later the female lays 20-80 eggs on the plants. After that adult newts have to separated, otherwise they will eat the eggs. Tadpoles hatch after 15-25 days and start eating at once. Metamorphosis occur 65-150 days later. The ideal temperature for metamorphosis is 20-22 degrees; constant water aeration is also necessary.