Cynops fudingensis Wu, Wang, Jiang and Hanken, 2010

Management: 

Given this species’ isolated occurrence, it is probably vulnerable to habitat destruction associated with tourism and introduction of invasive predators such as American bullfrogs, red-eared slider turtles and domestic fowl (Wu et al., 2010). Hobbyists are known to take some newts from the wild (Wu Y. personal comm.).

Diagnostic description: 

Vertebral ridge conspicuous; venter and chin bright orange without dark blotches, but a few small black dots may be present; transverse black gular stripe absent (bright ventral orange continuous from chin to venter); irregular black spots on tail.

Genetics: 

Mitochondrial DNA data are available in Wu et al. (2010).

Look alikes: 

Similar to C. orientalis and C. orphicus but differs both genetically and morphologically from these species. Cynops fudingensis and C. orphicus share a finely granulated skin, a conspicuous vertebral ridge, and black spots on the tail. C. orientalis lacks a conspicuous vertebral ridge. Cynops fudingensis differs from the other two species by lacking large black blotches on the bright venter and chin. It also lacks a transverse black gular stripe presence in the other species.

Morphology: 

Summarized from Wu et al. (2010). Head shape oval in dorsal view. Snout truncate, projects slightly beyond mandible. Nostril on snout tip; eye large. Labial fold well developed. Skull relatively narrow. Paratoid gland poorly developed. Gular fold usually absent. Skin finely granulated, venter and underside of limbs smooth. Vertebral ridge elevated and conspicuous. Four fingers and five toes, no webbing. Tail laterally compressed, tapers posteriorly; caudal fin distinct; tail tip bluntly pointed in female, rounded in male. Male smaller than female, especially the tail is shorter in the male than in the female. In the reproductive season, males have a wider and more swollen cloaca. Color is dark-brown to lighter brown above; obscure black flecks on head and back. Vertebral ridge dark orange. Ventral color ranges from yellowish orange to reddish orange, without large black blotches that are commonly seen in other Cynops. The bright color is continuous from chin to venter. Some specimens have black dots on the chin. Base of first digits of forelimbs and hind limbs light orange. Orange red on cloaca, continuing to underside of tail. Posterior limit of cloaca may be black.

Size: 

All measurements are from Wu et al. (2010).

Male (4 specimens). Total length: 71.8–76.9 mm; snout-vent length: 39.1–40.3 mm; head length: 12–13.2 mm; head width: 8.1–9 mm; forelimb length: 13.3–15 mm; hind-limb length: 13.9–15.6 mm.

Female (6 specimens). Total length: 79.7–94.9 mm; snout-vent length: 40.1–48.2 mm; head length: 12.9–15.2 mm; head width: 8.3–9.8 mm; forelimb length: 14.2–15.7 mm; hind-limb length: 14.9–16.1 mm.

Evolution: 

Cynops fudingensis is the sister species of C. orientalis. The two species together form the sister clade to C. orphicus (Wu et al., 2010). This result is consistent with the three species’ distribution pattern: C. orientalis in the north, C. fudingensis in the middle and C. orphicus in the south.

Distribution: 

Cynops fudingensis is thus far only known from the Mt. Taimu region in Fuding, a coastal mountain in northeastern Fujian Province, China (Wu et al., 2010). The range of this species is situated between the southernmost occurrences of C. orientalis and the northernmost locality of C. orphicus.

Habitat: 

The habitat at the type locality is described as small, still-water puddles and ditches of a deserted agricultural field on a hillside. The water is shallow and clear, with abundant aquatic plants and arthropods. The aquatic substrate is composed of soft earth and decomposing vegetation. Weeds grow densely in the field. The newts are active during daytime.

Reproduction: 

Newts collected in late March start to lay eggs in April. Eggs are wrapped singly in leaves of water plants (Jiang K. personal comm.). This species only reproduces when present in large numbers (10–20 animals).

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith