This species is threatened by over-collection for traditional Chinese medicine (as a substitute of Batrachuperus pinchonii) and for the pet trade (IUCN, 2010). It is listed as Near Threatened.
This species is entirely black, with edges of paratoids, toe tips, cloaca and underside of tail red-orange. Dorsolateral glandular ridges inconspicuous.
Mitochondrial DNA sequence data are available from Weisrock et al. (2006).
This species looks superficially like Tylototriton asperrimus but differs from the latter species by its larger size, by the orange color at edges of the paratoid gland and indistinct dorsolateral ridges.
Long-tailed, robust salamander; the largest species of Tylototriton. Head flat and longer than wide. Cranial ridges less prominent than in other Tylototriton species. Paratoids distinct. Entire head, body and tail covered with small tubercles, rough when living on land and smoother in water, during the breeding season. Dorsal ridge distinct. Dorsolateral warts indistinct and somewhat rectangular. Forelimb long, the tip of the longest finger reaching beyond the snout. When limbs are adpressed, digits overlap. Tail compressed laterally, with well-developed fin fold, a little longer than snout-vent length. Color uniform black, a little lighter on belly. Edges of paratoids red-orange. Cloaca, ventral margin of tail, first part of digits orange. Cloaca in female pointed cone shaped, in male half cone shaped. On inner side of forelimb the male has an oval, orange spot, which becomes more prominent during the breeding season (Kabisch et al., 1994; Fleck, 1997).
All measurements are from Fei et al. (2006).
Male (10 specimens). Total length: 186–220 mm; snout-vent length: 87–98.5 mm; head length: 18.5–21 mm; head width: 18–19.4 mm.
Female (10 specimens). Total length: 194–230 mm; snout-vent length: 93–111 mm; head length: 19.6–22.7 mm; head width: 18.7–20.8 mm.
Tylototriton taliangensis forms a well-supported clade with T. shanjing, T. verrucosus and T. kweichowensis in mitochondrial phylogeny (Weisrock et al., 2006). It is the sister species of the latter three species.
Southern Sichuan, in Hanyuan, Mianning, Shimian, Meigu, Zhaojue, E’bianand Mabian.
Densely vegetated forested valleys, where it occurs in grass near ponds or in ponds, in the mountains at elevations of 1,390 to 3,000 m (Fei & Ye, 2001). At the highest elevations the habitat may consist of ponds in grassland plateaus (Kabisch et al., 1994).
Breeding season from June to August (Xie, 1999). For breeding, newts assemble in the ponds. Courtship behavior was observed in captive animals. First the male makes tail fanning movements in the direction of the female. Then the male moves under the female and grasps her forelimbs with his forelimbs from behind, swimming around with the female on his back. During this amplexus the male may deposit several spermatophores on the floor. While maintaining amplexus, the male moves his hind body sideward from under the female resulting in the female hitting a spermatophore with her cloaca and picking it up (Fleck, 1997; Kühnel et al., 1999). Ye et al. (1993) observed that the same amplexus also took place on land.
Eggs are deposited singly on water plants in water. Diameter 2–2.2 mm. Clutch size 250–280 (Fei & Ye, 2001). Larva has broad head, rounded snout and long gills. Color brown, mottled with dark markings, extending onto fins. Dorsal tail fin low, beginning on first quarter of the back. Dorsal and ventral tail fins almost running parallel; tail tip blunt and rounded. Larvae overwinter and metamorphose the following year at a size between 59 and 72 mm (Kühnel et al., 1999).