Action: Amphibians: Provide artificial aquifers for species which breed in upwelling springs
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- One small study in the USA found that salamanders bred in an aquarium fitted with an artificial aquifer.
Some amphibian species appear to breed underground in places where water flows up through rock fragments to form springs (aquifers). In captivity, artificial systems can be designed to replicate these upflows and may improve breeding success for cave-dwelling species.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A small, before-and-after study in 1990–1994 in Dallas, USA found that Texas salamanders Eurycea neotenes bred more successfully in an aquarium with an artificial aquifer compared to without, although no statistical tests were carried out. With access to the aquifer one female deposited eggs in April 1993 (number not reported), a second female laid 40 eggs in May, and 50 in March 1994. Without access to the aquifer one female laid 19 eggs in February 1991 but no other breeding activity was observed. Prior to 1993, salamander pairs had been kept within one of three aquariums, one with gravel substrate, one heavily planted with aquatic plants, and one with partially buried rocks and rock shards. The only eggs laid were in the planted aquarium, fixed singly to live plants. In 1993, two pairs of salamanders were placed in an aquarium with a 1.2 m long acrylic tube filled with limestone shards attached to the bottom. Water was pumped up through this aquifer to replicate an upwelling spring.