Blue-tailed Fire-bellied Newt
|Geographical Range||Southwestern China|
|Habitat||Forests, agricultural fields; breeds in ponds and rice paddies|
|Scientific Name||Cynops cyanurus|
This is one of the "fire belly" newts (genus Cynops) found inJapan and China. Like the name implies, all of these crittershave bright yellow, orange, or red bellies. So, it stands toreason that the "blue tailed" species would have a blue tail,right? Well, not always. Only adult males have bluishtails, and then only during the breeding season.
In general,adult blue-tailed fire-bellied newts have a dark back offset by thefiery belly. They grow up to about four-and-a-half inches inlength, with females being somewhat larger than the males.
Newtsin general spend more time in the water than other salamanders. Some, such as the alligator newt, spend a long breeding season in thewater but otherwise live on land. The blue-tailed fire-belliednewt, on the other hand, spends much of the year in the water. Here the newt feasts on a variety of small invertebrate prey, such asaquatic insects and frog tadpoles.
Breeding takes placein rice paddies, forest ponds, and other still waters. The femaleattaches her eggs onto floating plants or other wet surfaces. Intwo to four weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae, which develop in thewater over the next 90 to 120 days. Like most amphibians, the larvae transform into adults through the process of metamorphosis.
The blue-tailed fire-bellied newt is considered common in the wild by IUCN, an organization that tracks species' conservation status. However, most experts agree that the species is facing a number ofthreats: habitat loss, water pollution, and (to a lesser extent)harvesting for the pet trade. These threats could have a seriousimpact on the species in the future; already some other Cynops species are considered to be extinct or very rare.
Did You Know?
This species is also called the Chuxiong fire-bellied newt, named after one area in China where it's found.