Other Amphibian of the Week

Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)

Chinese Giant Salamander by ZSL

Common Name: Chinese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias davidianus
Family: Cryptobranchidae– Giant Salamander family
Location: China
Introduced Locations: Taiwan and Japan
Size: 5.9 feet or 180 cm

The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest salamander and amphibian in the world. It is considered a living fossil and is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There are known records of the salamander living as long as 60 years but there are stories of them living over 200 years. They are primarily nocturnal but they are known to emerge during the day during breeding season.

A new study showed that the Chinese Giant Salamander is at least 5 different species and as many as 8.  Sadly, all of the new species are in bad shape conservation wise. Amphibiaweb and Amphibian Species of the World hasn’t recognized the distinct species so I’m not going to either until they have.

The breeding season for the salamanders is thought to be in August or September. For breeding, the female salamanders lays her eggs in an underwater cavity. The male salamander fertilizes the eggs and then guard the eggs until they hatch.  It takes the eggs almost two months to hatch. The new born salamanders take around 5 to 6 years to reach sexual maturity.

The Chinese Giant Salamander is moving fast to becoming extinct. Most of their habitat has been destroyed and they are illegally taken for medicine and food. The streams that they live in have also been polluted. They needs help before its too late.

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