Welcome to Salamanders of China



Welcome to the World of Chinese Salamanders

This Scratchpad serves the purpose of introducing salamanders that are endemic to or have their distributions in People's Republic of China. The content will be useful for professional researchers as well as amateurish hobbyists, because we just love salamanders!

The Chinese have recognized salamanders for more than 2500 years. Those animals were depicted as fishes without scales but having four legs. Shan Hai Jing mentioned that the giant salamanders live in rivers and montane streams and cry like a child.

At this time there are three families, 14 genera and 58 species of Chinese salamanders. Cryptobranchidae, the giant salamanders, hold the record of the biggest extant amphibian with specimens reaching over 2 meters. They mainly distribute in the drainage areas of the Yangtze River, Yellow River and Pearl River. Hynobiidae, also called Asiatic salamanders, are the old world counterpart of the lungless salamanders from America. They occur in most provinces of China. Hynobiidae forms the sister clade to Cryptobranchidae and both families are at the basal position of the tree of life of living salamanders. The third family is Salamandridae, a more derived group that is found common in southern China. Many Chinese species in this family are popular as pets, such as the crocodile newts (Tylototriton), warty newts (Paramesotriton), stout or paddle-tailed newts (Pachytriton) and fire-bellied newts (Cynops).

This website will provide detailed information on taxonomy, morphology, geographic distribution and life history of Chinese salamanders along with high-quality images. All content on the Taxon Page is shared with Salamanders of the Old World (http://science.naturalis.nl/salamanders) and will eventually also be shared with the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) and AmphibiaWeb. If you are interested in sharing images of Chinese salamanders or find something incorrect or unclear, please leave your comments, or join us by creating a New Account or emailing the administrator/owner, Yunke Wu (yw578@cornell.edu).

To Max Sparreboom
(18.01.1951 – 30.08.2016)
It’s with an intense sadness I present our best salamanders and newts specialist from Holland who has passed away at the age of 65 years old on 30.08.2016: Max Sparreboom.

Max Sparreboom has lived with passion since his childhood with salamanders and newts. He studied ecology in China and especially courtship behaviour of many species around the world. He wrote many papers and books to show the beautiful world we share and we protect. His magnum opus is his great book: “salamanders of the old world (the salamanders of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa)” which appeared in 2014. I remember my last long meeting with him this year, He told me to continue with passion and He was one of my best supporter in my fieldwork in Asia: He follows my recent work on my book : “Crocodile Newts: The Primitive Salamandridae from Asia (Chimaira edition; 2016) with a great enthusiasm and bright interest until He left us. My work and all of our work would be never the same without his point of view and his knowledge. I would like to express my sincerely condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

We lost a friendly and kind specialist, an excellent urodelan ecologist, author, keeper and breeder of salamanders and above all a friend.

Pr. Axel Hernandez

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