The Kaiser's Spotted Newt
The emperor spotted newt, Luristan newt
Zagros Molch (German)
Species: Neurergus Kaiseri
The Kaiser’s spotted newt is endemic to the southern Zagros mountains in Iran where it dwells in several streams only. Today this species is considered to be critically endangered.
An adult newt reaches the length of 10-17 cm (tail included).
This newt has black back with numerous white spots that consolidate into long stripes and with a long narrow orange or yellow stripe that goes along the newt’s back from its head to the base of the tail. The belly is whitish or orange with occasional black spots. Behind the eyes there are two orange or yellow spots.
Kaiser’s spotted newts are hardy animals and perfect pets for beginners. They can get tame and can be handled.
Kaiser’s spotted newts need a horizontal aquatic tank without extra heating. The tank for 1-2 specimens should be at least 40x25x20 cm (20 liters). The water in the tank has to be 12-15 cm deep. The ambient temperature should be around 16-22 degrees. High temperature (from 25 degrees or more) leads to a bad stress in newts and can even be lethal. Newts can be kept in a group.
In captivity the newts eat bloodworm, sludge worm, earthworm, crickets, cockroaches, pinky mice, pieces of lean meat and fish.
Kaiser's spotted newts are stream-breeders, as are the other species in the genus. It is found more frequently in the quieter sections and pools of the stream.
Courtship takes place on land close to the water, with females entering the water to deposit eggs. The male approaches the female slowly and positions himself in front of the female, approximately facing her. He begins tail-fanning in short bouts. When the female signals receptivity by moving towards him, the male steps backward and then turns so that he is creeping ahead of the female, quivering his tail-base rapidly and undulating his tail in agitated movements. The female follows quite closely, touching the male's tail periodically. She may undulate or slowly fan her own tail while following the male. The male will stop moving and undulating but will resume when the female touches his tail. After a number of tail-touches, the male deposits a spermatophore, with his tail slightly raised and slowly undulating in a horizontal plane. He creeps forward more slowly, with the female following and keeping her snout against the lower part of his tail. The male then folds his slowly moving tail against one side of his body, waving the tail-tip occasionally over his back, and slowly turns to a right-angle with the female. He then stops, which brakes the female at about one body-length past the spermatophore, so that her cloaca is situated approximately above where the spermatophore was deposited.
The female deposits eggs in the water, on rough surfaces such as stones, away from the light but not always on the underside. Egg deposition has also been reported to occur in small clumps as well as singly on aquatic vegetation or rocks. Larvae metamorphose in about two months in the wild.