Batrachuperus pinchonii males measure 181-204 mm in total length, females 150-186 mm. Head is flat, and longer than wide. Snout rounded and short. Adult has no or trace remnant of gills. Vomerine teeth short, 4-6 teeth on each side in the shape of / , with a gap between the two sides. Body cylindrical, covered with smooth skin. Just behind the eyes and outside of the apparent jugular fold, there is a groove going towards the ventral side. Around 12 costal grooves are present. Tips of forelimb and hindlimb toes overlap at the tip when adpressed, or are separated by 1-2 costal grooves in length. There are four unwebbed toes on each forelimb and four unwebbed toes on each hindlimb. Tail comprises half of the salamander's total length or longer, with a cylindrical base but flattening out towards the tip. Tail fin fold obvious, rounded at the tip (Fei and Ye 2001).
Body color varies geographically. Batrachuperus pinchonii is generally brown, olive, or pastel yellow in color, with variable patterning as well. Some specimens have gray cloud-like patterns that run along the dorsum to the side of the tail (Fei and Ye 2001).
Batrachuperus pinchonii larvae have a pair of tri-forked featherlike gills, and a larger tail fin fold. When the total length reaches 80 mm, the gills will disappear (Fei and Ye 2001).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China
This species is found in China, within the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhong (though it has not been reported from Guizhong province for about sixty years; IUCN 2008). It occurs near rivers and creeks of mountains, at elevations from 1500-3900m asl. It spends most of its time near water and hiding under cover of rocks and rotting wood (Fei and Ye 2001).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Oviposition occurs from May to July. The female lays a pair of egg sacs, attaching one end onto rocks, with 5-23 eggs in each egg sac, and 10-45 eggs in total for the pair. Egg sacs are spiral or C-shaped, and range from 65-96 mm in length, and 12-19 mm in diameter. Eggs themselves are oval and 3.7 mm in diameter (Fei and Ye 2001).
Trends and Threats
Threatened by intense collection for food and medicine (Fei and Ye 2001), although most of the range occurs in protected areas (IUCN 2008). Disease and mining are also reported as threats to the species (IUCN 2008).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Dams changing river flow and/or covering habitat
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)
The chromosome number for this species is 2n=66 (Kuro-o et al. 1998).
Fei, L. and Ye, C. (2001). The Colour Handbook of the Amphibians of Sichuan. Chinese Forestry Publishing House, Beijing.
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. (2008). Global Amphibian Assessment: Batrachuperus pinchonii. www.globalamphibians.org. Accessed on 6 November 2008.
Kuro-o, M., Ikebe, C., Tamamoto, H., Wu, G., Zeng, X., and Kohno, S. (1998). ''Cytogenetic studies of Hynobiidae (Urodela). XIV. Analysis of the chromosome of a Chinese salamander, Batrachuperus pinchonii.'' Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 54, 152-157.
Written by Michael Li (mzl AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2008-10-28
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2008-11-06)
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