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Description

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This rough-skinned newt has distinct bony ridges on the sides of the top of the head. The body is a dark brownish-black color with orange or yellow pigment on the head (including parotoid glands), vertebral ridge, and dorso-lateral body warts. Most of the venter, tail, and limbs is also orange-yellow in color.

The etymology of the name is derived from the Mandarin "shan" (mountain) and "jing" (spirit or demon). This species was described and removed from T. verrucosus (the Burmese Newt) (Nussbaum et al. 1995). Tylototriton verrucosus has protected status but T. shanjing does not, though it has been proposed by Zhao (1998).

The taxonomic status of Tylototriton shanjing has recently been disputed. Zhang et al. (2007) recommended that T. shanjing be considered a synonym of T. verrucosus, on the basis of similarity in Cyt b. However, only a single sample of T. verrucosus was analyzed, from China; no samples were included from other parts of the range (India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Burma, Viet Nam, and probably Laos and Bhutan). In addition, Ziegler et al (2008) report that T. shanjing breeds true in captivity. Until a more thorough analysis of T. verrucosus is undertaken, the systematic decision to remove shanjing must be considered premature. (For an English translation of Zhang et al., e-mail Jennifer Macke, jpmackeATcomcast.net)

References

  • Zhang, M., Rao, D., Yu, G., and Yang, J. (). ''The validity of Red Knobby Newt (Tylototriton shanjing) species status based on mitochondrial Cyt b gene.'' Zoological Research, (), -.
  • Ziegler, T., Hartmann, T., Van der Straeten, K., Karbe, D., and Böhme, W. (). ''Captive breeding and larval morphology of Tylototriton shanjing Nussbaum, Brodie and Yang, , with an updated key of the genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Salamandridae).'' Der Zoologische Garten, , -.

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Distribution and Habitat

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This newt is known only from the western Yunnan province in the People's Republic of China in the mountains along the Nu, Lancang, and Yuan rivers (Zhao 1998; Nussbaum et al. 1995).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

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Breeding occurs between May and August, and the eggs are deposited singly or in strings on aquatic plants in ponds or pools (Zhao 1998). This newt is completely terrestrial in the non-breeding season (Zhao 1998).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

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Newt populations are often threatened by human consumption (see "Relation to Humans" section), but are also increasingly threatened by the habitat destruction inflicted by growing human populations (Zhao 1998).

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Relation to Humans

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Tylototriton shanjing has a close associations with humans. It is regularly caught and dried for medicinal usage, and because of its beautiful coloration patterns, it is commonly sold in the pet trade industry.

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Tylototriton shanjing

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Tylototriton shanjing, the emperor newt, Mandarin newt or Mandarin salamander, is a highly toxic newt native to China.

Description

Tylototriton shanjing can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) long. It has a ridged orange head from which a single orange ridge runs along its back. This ridge is lined with two parallel rows of orange bumps on a black background. The tail and legs are entirely orange. The shade of the orange can be variable.[2]

Defense

Tylototriton shanjing might seem like easy prey because of its bright coloration, however, it is generally nocturnal, and the top of its vertebrae and skull have especially thick bone.[2] Additionally, the orange warts on its back are poison glands, and when the newt is grabbed, the tips of the ribs will squeeze out poison from the glands. Emperor newts have enough toxin to kill approximately 7,500 mice.[3][4] Although poisonous, these newts are generally safe for human handling provided that they are handled carefully and gently.

Range and habitat

Emperor newts live in central, western, and southern Yunnan, China, between 1000 to 2500 metres above sea level.[5]

They inhabit pools and slow-moving streams in subtropical forests.[6]

Diet

The emperor newt usually eats small invertebrates in its environment, such as crickets and worms. Emperor newts in captivity are typically given wax worms, crickets, and earth worms.

Taxonomy

For a long time, emperor newts were classified together with the Himalayan newt (T. verrucosus).

References

  1. ^ IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2020). "Tylototriton shanjing". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2020: e.T59485A63871498. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b torontozoo.com ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-09-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)); accessed 9/18/06
  3. ^ detroitzoo.com (http://www.detroitzoo.org/Attractions/Amphibiville/Animals); accessed 9/18/06
  4. ^ Caudata.org (http://www.caudata.org/cc/articles/toxin2.shtml) Accessed 1/10/07
  5. ^ livingunderworld.com (http://www.livingunderworld.org/caudata/database/salamandridae/tylototriton/shanjiing); Accessed 11/4/06
  6. ^ tylototriton.org ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)); Accessed 2/7/07

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Tylototriton shanjing: Brief Summary

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Tylototriton shanjing, the emperor newt, Mandarin newt or Mandarin salamander, is a highly toxic newt native to China.

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