One Hundred and Fifty One Episodes!! I finally reached the milestone I wanted to reach, and as such feel like I should take the time to say thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blogs, it has been an honour writing for you thus far. Last week we looked at the primeval Trilobite Beetle and a plethora of odd insects. This week issue has an Imperial theme, hope you guys enjoy.
Issue #151 – Emperor Newt
Kingdom – Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Amphibia
Order – Caudata
Family – Salamandridae
Genus – Tylototriton
Species – shanjing
Related Species – The Emperor Newt is one of 74 species found within the family Salamandridae.(1)
Range – Emperor Newts are only found in the montane province of Yunnan in China.
The Mountain Emperor
Emperor Newts are large newts that reach a length of twenty centimetres when fully grown. Despite most newts being largely aquatic as adults, the Emperor Newt is primarily terrestrial, partially due to the ambient dampness of its habitat. The species can be easily distinguished from most related species by the orange dorsal stripe that runs from the animal’s head to the tip of the tail, not to mention the rows of pores arranged along the newt’s flanks, with both male and female animals being brightly coloured. In addition to the colouration, the species also has a pair of reinforced bone ridges running along the head which resembles a crown, thus giving rise to the animal’s colloquial name.
Like all amphibians the Emperor Newt is a carnivore and preys on terrestrial invertebrates that cross its path while foraging. Emperor Newts are potential prey themselves for a range of predators, although actual predation is limited, in part due to the animal’s colouration warning attackers of its toxicity, with a single newt containing enough poison to kill 7500 mice (2), and due to the largely nocturnal nature of this species. Despite these defences, some species of birds and a number water snakes from the genus Natrix are able to feed on this species of newt with no ill effects.
Emperor Newts breed shortly after they wake from hibernation in Late March, with males and females heading to pool and rice paddies in preparation for egg laying. Upon discovering a female, the male newt will push her into the water using his snout and a pair of hooks on his forelimbs (3), before producing and then dragging the female over three cone shaped packages of spermatophores. About a month later the female Emperor Newt lays her eggs in clumps, with the tadpoles hatching a fortnight later. These larval newts then spend the next five months as tadpoles, before eventually leaving the water as immature adults.
Introduction to Spotlight
Over the last two, almost three years I have been very lucky to have, not only shared my interests, but also met people who were genuinely interested in what I was positioning. And while I now I mentioned it earlier, I want to thank you once again for reading this blog and any others you may have stumbled upon.
But I heard you say, what is Spotlight? About two months ago I had an idea, one I toyed with bringing to this blog much earlier but didn’t know how to introduce to you, the readers. In a nutshell, Spotlight was conceived as a way for other people on ComicVine to share their knowledge with the various readers here without having to write an entire blog series themselves. Say if UserX wanted to inform people about Mantis Kung-Fu, then all they would have to do is inform me, and instead of endangered species, toxic beasties or five fun facts in the second slot of my blogs, their work would be there instead.
Everyone is an expert in something, and I feel as someone who is enjoying moderate success on the Off-Topic board, I should help the next generation of IGTAesque titles to come to fruition. If you are interested send me a PM titled ‘Spotlight’ and we can whip something up together as long as it is factual and doesn’t break ComicVine’s regulations on racism, homophobia, sexism etc.
And for those worrying that is the end, they are correct. This is the End of the Beginning, because if you keep reading them, I’ll keep writing em.
2 - http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/toxin2.shtml
3 - http://www.waza.org/en/zoo/choose-a-species/amphibians/salamanders-and-newts/tylototriton-shanjing
1 - http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3523/3497/1600/medium.0.jpg
2 - http://cdn1.arkive.org/media/62/626E47EC-50F4-4080-8385-DD24A24C4422/Presentation.Large/Emperor-newt-head-detail.jpg
3 - http://cdn2.arkive.org/media/FF/FF8B087D-F659-43F5-BD15-4D20ED6CD2E9/Presentation.Large/Emperor-newt-tadpole.jpg
4 - http://www.caracal.ch/images/photos/Caracal-Reading.png
Spotlight looks like it could be fun, I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. Speaking of what’s coming up, well we have a double species issue as we enter the seasonal deep freeze, but until then make sure to critic, comment and suggest future issues as well as making sure you check past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.
Many Thanks (Again)