Chinese Newts


The Asian Salamandridae

Warty Newts, Paramesotriton
The warty newts are mountain stream dwellers, sometimes also found on land, found at low to moderate elevation in mountain stream pools of eastern and southern China. At present, P.caudopunctatus, P.chinensis, P.deloustali, P.fuzhongensis, P.guangxiensis, and P.hongkongensis are recognized. An additional giant species has been reported, and P.fuzhongensis has two main variants, possibly species or subspecies. P.fuzhongensis has been considered a variant or subspecies of P.chinensis, and P.guangxiensis of P.deloustali. The most recent discovery is the very striking and highly aquatic P.laoensis, from three localities in Laos, a considerable range extension for both the genus, and for Asian salamanders. Both this species and P.caudopunctatus have similarities with Pachytriton, and a separate genus or subgenus, Allomesotriton has been suggested for the latter. While the one Vietnamese species is protected and the Laos species only recently found, all others are at least occasionally available through the pet trade. There are reportedly three salamanders from Vietnam awaiting description, presumably at least one a Paramesotriton, and the others Tylototriton/Echinotriton.
Torrent Newts, Pachytriton
Until recently, only a single species of Chinese torrent newt was recognized, P.brevipes. It was discovered that two distinct species were involved, the second being the smaller P.labiatus(now suspected to be a complex of more than one species). Additionally, no less than four unknown species have appeared in the pet trade. Three have been designated sp.A, B and C. The third, with rough skin, may be identical to Pachytriton granulosus, also called Pingia granulosa. I briefly kept some of these rough-skinned specimens, which resembled Paramesotriton caudopunctatus. The young are also strikingly similar to young Paramesotriton. Little data are available, but apparently all are designed for life in rocky mountain torrents at mid to high altitude, where they feed on invertebrates and stream dwelling tadpoles.
Crocodile Salamanders, Tylototriton
Crocodile salamanders are tropical evergreen and deciduous forest dwellers, but details on their various habits and habitats are needed, since they have abroad distribution across the east Asian mountains. Other than T.taliangensis, each is likely to consist of more than one species. The present taxa are T.kweichowensis, T.shanjing, T.taliangensis, T.verrucosus, T.asperrimus, T.wenxianensis, and T.hainanensis. T.asperrimus (formerly including T.hainanensis and T.wenxianensis) occurs in Guangdong, Guangxi, and Guizhou China, and northern Vietnam, T.wenxianensis in southern Gansu and northwestern Sichuan China, and T.hainanensis in Hainan (all sometimes treated as Tylototriton asperrimus). Echinotriton is often placed as a subgenus of Tylototriton, often including the last three species above.
Spiny Crocodile Salamanders, Echinotriton
Spiny Crocodile salamanders are known from Taiwan, Ryukyu Islands of Japan, and extreme eastern China. As their names suggest, they are spiky, warty versions of Tylototriton, dwelling in dry tropical forests. E.chinhaiensis is known from eastern China, E.andersoni from the Ryukyus with two regional variants, and rare specimens also from northern Taiwan. Taiwan and Hainan seem to be home to distinct populations or species related to others found on mainland China or in the Ryukyus, or in northern Vietnam. A nice example of this is the leopard geckos Goniurosaurus, with five species through the Ryukyus, three split between Vietnam and Guangxi, and three more in Hainan.
Firebelly Newts, Cynops
           Firebelly newts are pond, paddy and lake dwellers, some spending a great deal of time on land. Chinese
           species may warrant placement in a separate genus, Hypselotriton, from Japanese species, and perhaps an
           additional genus besides. The east Chinese species include C.orientalis and C.orphicus, the west Chinese
           C.(Hypselotriton) wolterstorffi, C.(H.) cyanurus cyanurus, C.(H.) cyanurus chuxiongensis, C.(H.) cyanurus
           yunnanensis, and C.(H.) chenggongensis. The Japanese species include C.(Cynops) ensicauda ensicauda,
          C.(C.) ensicauda popei, C.(C.) pyrrhogaster pyrrhogaster, C.(C.) pyrrhogaster 'Tohoku', C.(C.) sasayamae,
          C.(C.) 'Atsumi', and C.(C.) 'Kanto'.
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Paramesotriton caudopunctatus

Paramesotriton chinensis

Paramesotriton deloustali

Paramesotriton fuzhongensis

Paramesotriton guangxiensis

Paramesotriton hongkongensis


Paramesotriton laoensis



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Contact Information

Andrew Clark
2739 Conrad Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2L-1B3
Ph/Fax 403-210-1042
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Copyright Andrew Clark.
Last revised: December 05, 2001.