Chinese Giant Salamander - Andrias davidianus


Chinese Giant Salamanders grow up to 59 inches (150 cm) in length, but individuals just reaching sexual maturity may be as small as 14 inches (35 cm). A. davidianus bodies are flattened without external gills but typical lateral skinfolds for improved oxygen absorption. The appearance of A. davidianus differs only subtly from their Japanese cousins - the eyes of A. davidianus stand out a little bit more. Normally, Chinese Giant Salamanders are of a mottled dark brown color. A completely pink color variant was discovered in the Hupingshan Reserve of Hunan Province where it was bred by a local farmer.


Chinese Giant Salamander   "Pink", a color variation


The breeding behavior of Chinese Giant Salamanders is rather unique and peculiar: During spawning season a male will occupy a den site an establish himself as "den master". He will then allow multiple females but also other males in for the spawning. As far as it is known the den master will not take part in the reproduction itself but "oversees" the spawning and will later guard the den and protect the eggs. The reason for this behavior is not yet known. The eggs will develop into larvae and eventually into adults.

Chinese Giant Salamander larvae on a dinner plate




Chinese Giant Salamanders inhabit clear, oxygen-rich mountain streams and the presence of den sites - caves and moulds in the rock.


Habitat of A. davidianus   Den site


Conservation Issues

Like with the other Cryptobranchid species, conservation needs to focus on preserving the habitat of A. davidianus. River dams and pollution are the main causes for habitat loss. Poaching and illegal hunting are another major thread to the salamander populations.


Population surveys