At least six local races of the Japanese fire-bellied newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster, have been reported (Atsumi, Hiroshima, Kanto, Sasayama, Tohoku, and Intermediate) on the bases of morphological and ethological traits. We observed mating behaviors of male newts collected from Gifu and Aichi Prefectures, Central Japan, in the range of the Intermediate race. Under captive conditions, almost all males put their hindlimbs on the scapular regions of their mates during courting by waving their tail. This behavior has been thought to be restricted to the Sasayama race from Kinki and Eastern Chugoku regions and the Atsumi race, presumably endemic to the Atsumi Peninsula of the Chubu region, but is now believed to be extinct. Our observations suggest that the Intermediate race occurring between the Sasayama and the Atsumi races also shares the same mating behavior characteristics. This observation concurs with the reported results of genetic analyses, which indicated the presence of little genetic isolation between the Sasayama and the Intermediate races.
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Vol. 34 • No. 1