Tylototriton shanjing
Mandarin Newt
Tylototriton shanjing
Synonyms Emperor Newt, Halloween Newt, Mandarin Salamander
Range China: western, central and southern Yunnan
IUCN (Red Book) Near Threatened
CITES No listing
First described Nussbaum, Brodie & Yang, 1995

A robust newt with granular skin and prominent boney ridges on the head and spine. A row of warts runs down each side. “The dorsolateral surfaces of these salamanders are marked vividly with orange, including the cranial crests, parotoid glands, middorsal crest, and lateral warts. In addition, the lower sides, limbs, tail, and venter are various hues of orange-yellow” (Nussbaum et. al., 1995). The rest of the animal is dark brown to black. The brightness of the orange markings varies between yellow-orange to almost rust colored. Although color varies between individuals, the patterns of the markings are relatively constant. Only slight variation is noted in the extent of orange coloration.

Tylototriton shanjing
A normally-colored individual, and an unusually light-brown individual.
Tylototriton shanjing
A darker individual.

Natural Range and Habitat
Found in the Yunnan province of China. It lives in the mountainous areas near the Nu, Yuan, and Lancang rivers. (Mahoney and Vredenburg, 1999)

Tylototriton shanjing
Tylototriton shanjing

This species requires only a small body of water. Although they rarely enter the water outside of breeding season, it’s always best to have it there in case the cage becomes too dry. Completely terrestrial, it should be given plenty of land area as well as places in which it can conceal itself. I have found that tightly packed soil approximately 2 to 3 inches deep works wonderfully. Use the substrate to create a moisture gradient so that one end of the enclosure is very wet and the other dry. Do this by adding water to only one end of the enclosure, it will slowly seep through the soil. This allows the animal to choose what it prefers. Do not allow the soil substrate to become muddy or too much moisture to build up, as they prefer fairly arid conditions.

If healthy, they feed well on a variety of foods. Common sources are wax worms, earthworms, chopped night crawlers, mealworms, and crickets. Feed a variety to assure balanced nutrition.

Tylototriton shanjing
Cloaca of T. shanjing male.
Tylototriton shanjing
Cloaca of T. shanjing female.

In the wild they typically breed May through August. They deposit eggs on rocks and plants in standing water bodies. (Mahoney and Vredenburg, 1999) In captivity, breeding can be initiated by mimicking their natural seasonal conditions. One way is to keep the animal in the lower 60s and on a fairly dry substrate during the winter. Then during summer, raise their temperature to the upper 70s and increase the humidity. If breeding is to occur, supply the captives with enough water for courtship and for depositing eggs, while still maintaining a nice sized land area.

Tylototriton shanjing
Tylototriton shanjing


Mahoney, Meredith and Vance Vredenburg. Tylototriton shanjing: Yunnan Newt. University of California Berkeley. Nov. 18, 1999.

Nussbaum, Ronald A., Edmund D. Brodie Jr., and Yang Datong. 1995. A taxonomic review of Tylototriton verrucocsusAnderson (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae). Herpetologica, 51(3):257-268

Tylototriton shanjing
Juvenile T. shanjing.
Tylototriton shanjing
Juvenile T. shanjing eating bloodworms.

© 2001 Heather Björnebo. Posted February 2001.


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