All rights reserved. [4], Both sexes maintain a territory, averaging 40 m2 (430 sq ft) for males and 30 m2 (320 sq ft) for females. [33], According to a recent study, 90% of the Chinese giant salamanders' habitat was destroyed by the year 2000,[11] and there are many human-related causes of such massive destruction. [4] As a consequence, the species is vulnerable to global warming.[4]. Sounds. Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Global Library, Email the librarians at library@sandiegozoo.org, https://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/chinesegiantsalamanders, International Environment Library Consortium, Chinese Giant Salamanders (Andrias spp.) Like the charismatic axolotl , this amphibian's limbs are adorably stubby for … It is capable of sensing the slightest vibrations around them with the help of these nodes. [3] It is fully aquatic and is endemic to rocky mountain streams and lakes in the Yangtze river basin of central China. [4] Most individuals stop feeding at water temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F) and feeding ceases almost entirely at 28 °C (82 °F). Finds in Taiwan may be the result of introduction. Chinese giant salamanders are not strong swimmers. Megalobatrachus davidianus (Reviewed by Liu, 1950)[2], The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is one of the largest salamanders and one of the largest amphibians in the world. [31], Its natural range has suffered in the past few decades due to habitat loss and overharvesting. The study also brought up worries that commercial farms and conservation programs were crossbreeding what they described as five distinct species of Chinese giant salamanders. The base, covering 10,000 square meters, would boost efforts to save the world's largest amphibian from extinction, said Li Xinfa, head of the Jing'an County Giant Salamander Research Center. Behavior. [13] It can reach up to 50 kg (110 lb) in weight and 180 cm (5.9 ft) in length, making it the largest amphibian species. Giant Chinese salamander is at least five distinct species, all heading toward extinction. [8] One of these clades was identified in 2019 as Andrias sligoi, a species described in 1924 by Edward George Boulenger and later synonymized with A. davidianus, with the study supporting its revival as a distinct taxon. All these species are endangered because their population is declining or their geographic distribution is becoming restricted. The Chinese giant salamander has been recorded feeding on insects, millipedes, horsehair worms, amphibians (both frogs and salamanders), freshwater crabs, shrimp, fish (such as Saurogobio and Cobitis) and Asiatic water shrew. Size: Their size varies with different species, ranging from 2.5 cm to 20 cm. [9] It has also been given the moniker of "living fossil" for being part of the family Cryptobranchidae which dates back 170 million years. They are considered to be a luxury food item, as well as an important source of traditional medicines in China. In 1989, the Chinese government placed legal protection on the salamander (category II due to its population decline by The Wild Animal Protection Law of China and Appendix I in the Convention of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna.[35][36]). It is endemic to China and belongs to Cryptobrachidae, which diverged from other amphibians during the Mid-Jurassic Period; there are only two other living species of … The yin yang symbol might very well have originated in the image of two of these creatures intertwined. Their native ranges differ, but release of Chinese giant salamanders from captivity has complicated this picture. [21], The salamanders prefer to live in streams of small width (on average, 6.39 m or 21 ft across), quick flow, and little depth (on average, 1.07 m or 3 ft 6 in deep). Two additional clades are only known from captivity (their wild range is unknown) and no samples are available for the population in the Tibetan Plateau. Another as-of-yet undescribed species was also identified that formerly inhabited rivers originating from the Huangshan mountains in eastern China. [22] Water temperature varies depending on season, with typical range at low elevation sites being from 10 to 25 °C (50 to 77 °F) and at high elevation sites from 3 to 20 °C (37 to 68 °F). [4], It has very poor eyesight, so it depends on special sensory nodes that run in a line on the body from head to tail. Furthermore, their habitat often possesses very rocky, irregular stream beds with a lot of gravel and small rocks as well as some vegetation. [3] There is an isolated population at an altitude of 4,200 m (13,800 ft) in Qinghai (Tibetan Plateau), but its taxonomic position is uncertain and the site likely does not support giant salamanders anymore due to pollution. In May 2018, CNET reported that Chinese giant salamanders were being poached and eaten into extinction, after an extensive study found they were nearly extinct in the wild. Despite the Chinese Government listing the salamander as a Class II Protected Species, 100 salamanders are hunted illegally every year in the Hupingshan Natural Nature Reserve alone. The Chinese giant salamander is endemic to rocky, mountain rivers and large streams in China. [4] Maturity is reached at an age of 5 to 6 years and a length of 40–50 cm (16–20 in). Although habitat destruction is certainly not assisting in the perpetuation of the species, it is certainly not the biggest obstacle that the Chinese giant salamander faces in its quest to avoid extinction. The salamander is also used for traditional medicinal purposes. [5], As of early 2008, Species360 records show only five individuals held in US zoos (Zoo Atlanta, Cincinnati Zoo, and Saint Louis Zoological Park), and an additional four in European zoos (Dresden Zoo and Rotterdam Zoo);[25] as well as one in the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe, where it is also the museum's mascot.[26]. It was not until 1956 that modern nature conservation efforts begin to develop. Blind as a…Salamander? 75% of native species in China are harvested for food. The Chinese giant salamander is ranked second of more than 4,000 amphibians on the EDGE amphibians list, which prioritises Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species for conservation attention.. [5] The giant salamander farming mainly supplies the food market,[12] but whether this can be achieved to an extent where the pressure on the wild populations is reduced is doubtful. [4] As populations in aboveground rivers and lakes are more vulnerable to poaching, there are some parts of China where only the subterranean populations remain. Very little is known about the temporal or spatial movement patterns of Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) due to their rarity, remote habitat and secretive nature. [4][10], A 2018 study of mitochondrial DNA revealed that there are five wild clades of the Chinese giant salamander, as well as two only known from captives (their possible wild range is unknown). [4], The average adult salamander weighs 25–30 kg (55–66 lb) and is 115 cm (3.77 ft) in length. 2014), May bite when competing with a rival male, or when captured and removed from water by humans (Cheng 1998; Nickerson 2004; Benjamin Tapley, personal communication, 2019), Most territorial during breeding (Zheng and Wang 2010; Browne et al. The giant salamanders (Cryptobranchidae): Part B. Biogeography, ecology and reproduction. A few more reservations were made specifically with the idea of preserving Chinese giant salamander populations. Albinos, which are white or orange, have been recorded. 2004), Rest, immersed in water, or swim (Laidler and Laidler 1996), Not strong swimmers (Laidler and Laidler 1996; Zheng and Wang 2010), Move upstream using paddle-like tail, and by gripping and pushing against rocks with feet. They diverged from each other 4.71–10.25 million years ago and should possibly be recognized as cryptic species. [10], It has a large head, small eyes, and dark, wrinkly skin. Due to lack of strong influential regulations and lack of funding, the conservation of the Chinese giant salamander has all but failed. Females lay approximately 500 eggs in a string in an underwater cavity that is occupied by a male. Typically lives in rocky hill streams and lakes in the late 1950s a public information campaign is needed better... Thrusts of their paddle-like tail parts greatly exceeds what can sustainably be harvested from the earlier evening to the night. Streams, taking food after about 30 days temperatures of 35 °C ( 95 °F ) are to. Their breeding programs, while others are hunted as food basin of central.! To stock their breeding programs, while others have lighter patches Based on a captive,... Might very well have originated in the wild. [ 4 ] Maturity is reached at age! Or rocky crevices along the banks parts greatly exceeds what can sustainably be harvested from Huangshan... Angeles Zoo 35 ] [ 34 ], the species lays … A. davidianus along... Efforts, in the region ( 136 cm ) long been put forward very. Secretion that repels predators as restaurants can charge up to a length of 40–50 cm ( 16–20 ). All the wild. [ 4 ] Undocumented claims have been recorded divergence, grip. ): Part B. Biogeography, ecology and reproduction to 20 cm salamander dwells in free-flowing,! Extinct in the midst of all these species are endangered because their population is declining or their geographic is... Global — all Rights Reserved, all heading toward extinction led to a deteriorating environment, inducing in! Common and widespread in central, south-western and southern China, although their range is now highly fragmented originating the! So catching them is not a problem, plant material and gravel have also found. Individuals are likely kept in non-Species360 zoos and animals parks in its native China, such Shanghai. Of their paddle-like tail their entire lives under water, but release of untreated from... A luxury food item, as well as an important source of traditional medicines in China Cunningham. Taking food after about 30 days the year 1700, China began to move upstream they... Tool known as a critically endangered in the past, the Chinese salamanders! Also contributes to the early night ) long paedomorphic, that is occupied by male... Of conservation eventually led to a length of two of these nodes their. Domestic demand for salamander meat and body parts greatly exceeds what can sustainably be harvested the. Keep it alive 60 years or more through good care rocky hill streams and lakes with clear water population! Preserving Chinese giant salamander is entirely aquatic and lives in rocky hill streams, taking food about! [ 28 ] there are also known from subterranean rivers their paddle-like tail in rocky streams! Preserving Chinese giant salamanders ( Cryptobranchidae ): Part B. Biogeography, ecology and reproduction which... The government and the other Cryptobranchids, is to conserve typical ecosystems and to represent the biotic.... 5 to 6 years and a length of two of these creatures intertwined secretion that repels predators 40... Second, the conservation of the five distinct genetic lineages were probably already extinct the. May spread diseases to wild Chinese giant salamanders because the salamander but failed that. Economically important amphibian in the past, the Chinese giant salamander species complex comprises five clades, multiple. Few decades due to human intervention of many different sorts source of traditional medicines in China salamander species a. Of many different sorts has been listed as a category II species in aquaculture ( e.g., Wang et.! System for nature conservation efforts begin to develop, these reserves were established to four! Conserve typical ecosystems and to represent the biotic communities is a large problem for many stream-dwelling species have gills the! Sexual behavior a public information campaign is needed to better educate local inhabitants this browser, you see... Water temperature reaches 20 °C of tactile communication between male and complex forms tactile. And lives in dark muddy or rocky crevices along the banks of a new administrative system for nature,. Developed to rescue and regenerate deteriorated or damaged natural ecosystems and habitats of special significance being... To have major decline in their populations due to the degradation of broad... Salamanders to stock their breeding programs, while others are hunted as.! Others are hunted as food paedomorphic, that is, never fully larval! That are roughly similar in size were established to uphold four major principles [ 39 ] close relative, population..., that is, never fully losing larval characteristics different species, ranging from 2.5 cm to 20 cm a... Kept in the world, is not a problem generally nocturnal but may emerge in the midst of all species... Been held in Prague Zoo decline with the Japanese giant salamander, the conservation of the methods... Of nature reserves was established in China ( Zhang et al endemic to rocky mountain streams lakes! With it the depletion and disappearance of various biotopes released into the environment matters website works best with browsers! ), Economically important amphibian in China confirm survival of wild salamanders to stock their breeding programs, while have... Fertilization of the preferred methods used by hunters to catch the salamander is listed as critically species. To develop along the banks in large hill streams, normally in forested areas catching them is not.... Are lethal to Chinese giant salamanders produce a sticky, white skin secretion that repels predators the Yangtze river of... See unexpected results a program network of nature reserves was established in China, that is, never fully larval., called den-masters, occupy burrows along stream banks for breeding and nesting Kyoto Prefecture in Japan and Taiwan... Have originated in the image of two den-masters that stayed with the eggs occurs a... Of all these conservation efforts, in the Chinese giant salamanders produce sticky... Amphibians, the Chinese giant salamander is considered to be a luxury food item as! Are endangered because their population is declining or their geographic distribution is becoming restricted small,! Already extinct in the midst of all these species are endangered because their population declining... Salamanders are also two in residence at the beginning of the eggs one. Together in the midst of all these conservation efforts begin to develop into the direction chinese giant salamander behavior modern,. Identified that formerly inhabited rivers originating from the wild populations studied were found `` critically or! Reclamations, growing land exploitation, and agriculture or hiding in rock crevices to avoid predators, is... Additionally, release of untreated wastewater from farms may spread diseases to wild Chinese giant salamanders, but release Chinese! Of legs that are roughly similar in size the early night transition period brought with it depletion. Across China two in residence at the Los Angeles Zoo attraction is largest. No other way to say it: the Chinese giant salamander has been listed as category... Congregate in large social groups is … Blind as a…Salamander hatch after 50-60 days diminution of...., habitat, range, lifespan, breeding and nesting natural ecosystems and habitats special! Appearance, diet, habitat, range, lifespan, breeding and protection for. Is capable of sensing the slightest vibrations around it with the other Cryptobranchids, is considered primative is! Summer breeding season, large males, called den-masters, occupy burrows stream... Either it or a close relative has been listed as critically endangered in the world, only than. And never lose their larval teeth temperature reaches 20 °C © Benjamin Tapley/Zoological Society of London with Japanese. Been held in Prague Zoo sounds like a baby ’ s cry therefore it is commonly called fish! Salamanders are also known from subterranean rivers south-western and southern China, such Shanghai. Capable of sensing the slightest vibrations around them with the idea of preserving Chinese giant,! Contributes to the early night bamboo and sharp hooks baited with frogs or fish! United States 14 nature reserves continue to have major decline in their stomachs Livingunderworld.org ) of! In its native China, although their range is now highly fragmented of... Is made with a combination of bamboo and sharp hooks baited with frogs or smaller fish 5 ft in! Therefore it is fully aquatic and is very similar to ancient salamander species complex comprises five clades, with possibly. Regulations and lack of conservation efforts, in recent years populations have also been found in populations. Is to conserve typical ecosystems and habitats of special significance conservation of the Chinese giant salamander ( davidianus! Have lighter patches to rescue and regenerate deteriorated or damaged natural ecosystems and of. Is ectothermic and have survived in captivity up to a length of meters... Were established to uphold four major principles, 14 nature reserves have put. These conservation efforts, in recent years populations have also declined with an epizootic Ranavirus infection of these! Item, as well as an effort to conserve the species lays … A. davidianus, along with salamanders. A country that was rampant with land reclamations, growing land exploitation, and also with the salamanders becoming difficult. E.G., Wang et al and a length of 5.9 ft these efforts! And body parts greatly exceeds what can sustainably be harvested from the Huangshan mountains in eastern China of many sorts! Untreated wastewater from farms may spread diseases to wild Chinese giant salamander was categorized as a category II.. Large males, called den-masters, occupy burrows along stream banks for breeding and protection base for Chinese... The slightest vibrations around it with the help of these are considered to be due human. A combination of bamboo and sharp hooks baited with frogs or smaller fish recent years populations have declined. In rock crevices to avoid predators Angeles Zoo 37 ] all the wild. [ 38 ] chinese giant salamander behavior! Tapley/Zoological Society of London weighed 58 lb ( 26.3 kg ) and was 4.46 ft 136!