Newts: Regenerate or Not

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Jan 18 15:46:49 EST 1995

In article <1995Jan18.143900.18297 at>,
madda at (Warren Lathe) wrote:

> In <D2HFx0.C2F at> dmccall at (David
Thomas Mccall) writes:
> >I have a pet newt and his name is Jeff.  I just got him today and once I
> >got him home I realized that his poor little newty leg is broken.  His
> >bone is broken.  The bone is exposed and the only reason that it is still
> >around is that it is hanging on by his little newt skin.  He is presently
> >resting, but I imagine he is in great pain.
> >My question is this:
> >Do newts regenerate parts like some other animals?
> If we are talking the Gingrich variety, lets hope not :-).  Otherwise, I think
> they do, at least tails and probably legs, though there might be another 
> biologist out there who is more confident in his info.

Yes, they can regrow their appendages - there has, in fact, been a lot of
research on this, because regeneration in a vertebrate is a trick we'd
dearly love to adapt for our own species.

> >Should I do anything myself or let nature take it's course?
> Tough choice.   Maybe a vet or petstore would have a better idea.

Hmm. I'm not so sure there really is anything you can do for him, and
honestly I doubt that if it's been broken for a long time that he's still
in pain. Were it my newt, I'd probably talk to the place I bought him and
say "I'll keep him and see if he makes it, but if he dies as a result of
this pre-purchase wound I'll expect reimbursement" - and then let nature
run its course.

> The juvenile seasquirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock
> or coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a
> rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it
> doesn't need its brain anymore so it eats it.It's rather like getting tenure.

Now *there's* a memorable quote.
Doug Yanega
Illinois Natural History Survey, Center for Biodiversity
607 E. Peabody Dr. Champaign, IL 61820  USA
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is
    the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick

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