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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Species Fact Profile: Mandarin Newt (Tylotriton shanjing)

Mandarin Newt (Emperor Newt)
Tylotriton shanjing

Range: China (Yunnan Province)
Habitat: Mountain Forests and Wetlands
Diet: Invertebrates
Social Grouping: Solitary
Reproduction: Breed May-August, deposit 80-240 eggs on rocks and plants in standing water.  Eggs are laid either singly or in strings.  They hatch after 15-40 days, undergo metamorphosis at 60 days, and are sexually mature at 3-4 years old.
Conservation Status: IUCN Near Threatened

  • Body length 14-20 centimeters, males are smaller than females
  • Sexes look alike.  Dark brown or black background color with vivid red, yellow, or orange striped, crests, and lateral warts (bumps on the side of the body)
  • Outside of breeding season it is completely terrestrial.  Enter the water to reproduce
  • Courtship displays involve moving in dance-like circular motions
  • Warts on the back are poison glands; when seized, the poison will be squeezed out onto predators 
  • Species name comes from the Mandarin words shan for mountain and jing, for spirit or demon
  • Popular in the pet trade due to bright coloration; sometimes caught and dried for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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