Japanese Firebelly Newt. Cynops pyrrhogaster

Japanese Firebelly Newt Cynops pyrrhogaster

Scientific Name: Cynops pyrrhogaster

Total Length: 3.5 – 5 inches

Range: Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyusho

Habitat: They may be found in stagnant or slow moving water such as ponds, lagoons, streams, and ditches. During the warmer months, they will leave these bodies of water and live on moist land.

Sex Determination: Males have more of a square-shaped body, while the females are more round. During the breeding season the males’ tail become a purplish color and it develops a thread-like object at the tip of it. The females will become swollen with eggs at this time.

Reproduction: The mating season is from April to June. Once a male finds a female, he will vibrate his tail and deposit a spermatophore. The female’s cloaca picks this up and then lays up to 200 eggs. They are laid individually and are attached to floating plants at the water’s surface or some sort of wet substrate above the water’s surface.

Depending on the temperature, the young will hatch in 2-4 weeks. It takes 90-120 days for them to complete metamorphosis.

The larvae are carnivorous and will eat almost any animal life available including smaller salamanders. They will eat mosquitos, fairy shrimp, worms, and other small invertebrates.
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Care In Captivity:

  • Tank Size: A maximum of four newts in a 10 gallon tank would be alright.
  • Substrate: We suggest that you use a half land and half water set up (an aqua-terrarium). We did this by separating the land from the water with a piece of plexi-glass. We also used a commercial aqua-terrarium set up called the Viquarium. We set it up on April 3, 1997 and so far it is working great. The substrate that you can have on the land side is gravel or soil. On the water side you can have gravel or no substrate like us. Having no substrate makes the water side much easier to clean. You may just put them in a damp terrarium which can have a substrate of gravel or rocks. But in the spring they’ll have to be put in the aqua-terrarium set up.
  • Decorations: You can have a log, bark, sticks, rocks, sphagnum moss, and fake plants in the tank. You can use live plants if you like, but you will have to replace them when they die. The water should include something for them to climb out like cork bark or a big fake plant.
  • Water: The water should definately have a filter. Depending on the size of the tank will decide on which filter you should use. A bottom filter would probably be best to use but if you have yours in a large tank, a power filter may be better. You should also have a water thermometer.
  • Tank Lid: You can have a flip top lid, a screen, or any other type of lid on the tank. There should be good ventilation.
  • Heating: You can use a heat rock, a heating pad, or an electric blanket to heat the tank.
  • Lighting: No additional lighting is needed but you may use a bulb with ultraviolet radiation if you want.
  • Temperature/Humidity: The air temperature should be 55-72 degrees F. In the winter, two months at 37-39 degrees F will stimulate hibernation. Doing this makes them healthier and encourages them to breed. If you decide to do this, then take care of them properly or they may refuse to eat and go back in water next spring. You should have an air thermometer in the tank. They don’t need much humidity. You may use a humidity gauge which will show you how much humidity is in the tank.
  • Feeding: The diet should have variety. Feed them tubifex worms, earthworms, slugs, spiders, and other small invertebrates.
  • Maintenance: Keep the tank clean and change the filter fiber and ammo-carb in the filter when needed (about every 1.5 months).

Other Information: These newts are pretty easy to care for. They are active during the day, eat well, and very hardy. They’re not shy and in no time they’ll start eating from your hand.
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