Newt (Chinese Fire-bellied) / Cynops orientalis

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Local peasants in China believed they had the power to bring rain.

Skin excretions alone are unlikely to be harmful to humans unless the entire animal is swallowed.

The Chinese or Oriental fire bellied newt is a small black newt, with bright orange aposematic (warning) coloration on the underside.They feed on live small invertebrates such as bloodworms, earthworms, water fleas (Daphnia), adult brine shrimp, mosquito larvae etc.

Male Chinese fire-bellied Newts can be distinguished easily during the breeding season (March to July), as they develop a bluish sheen on their tails to attract a mate. At this time, females will also become swollen with eggs, so that identification of the female is also easily done.

Males release pheromones to attract the female and fertilization is internal.

Around 100 – 200 eggs will be spawned around the base of the aquatic plants. They will incubate for approximately 4-6 weeks before hatching.

The newly hatched larvae are fully aquatic and feed on tiny aquatic organisms until they metamorphose at around 4-6 months depending on the water temperature. Juvenile fire-bellied newts live terrestrially (on land) for 1-3 years until they mature, then will return to the water to continue an aquatic lifestyle

Chinese fire-bellied newts are mildly poisonous and excrete toxins through their skin. However as the toxins consist primarily of tetrodotoxins they could pose a significant threat if enough are consumed.