Other Amphibian of the Week

Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

photo by photo by V31S70

Common Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: Japan
Size: 11.8 inches – 4.9 feet (30 – 150 cm)

The Japanese Giant Salamander is the 2nd largest salamander in the world. It can reach around 5 feet long and can reach over 50 pounds. The salamander can live a long time, over 50 years! Their native habitat is cold, streams. They are completely aquatic and breath through their skin and gills. They have wrinkly skin that helps them absorb oxygen from the water. Interestingly, the salamanders only have one lung that they use for buoyancy control, kinda like a swim bladder in a fish. The Japanese Giant Salamander defends itself from predators by releasing sticky, white mucus that is toxic.

photo by Oilstreet

They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The habitat of the Japanese Giant Salamander is threatened by dams and other projects so their numbers are dropping. Better protections are needed for the salamander for them to survive.

Spawning for the salamanders takes place during late August to early September. It can take 10 years for salamanders to reach reproductive maturity. Male Japanese Giant Salamanders try to find the best nesting sites and then will sit and protect them from other males. Females select the best nesting sites for their eggs and lay them there. The females can lay between 400 to 600 eggs at a time. The male then protects the eggs for up to 7 months.

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