Kunming Lake Newt, Yunnan Lake Newt
|Taxonomic Notes: This presumably extinct species long was placed in monotypic Hypselotriton, and this taxonomy is used by Fei, Ye & Jiang 2012 Colored atlas of Chinese amphibians place this species Yaotriton. Dubois & Raffaelli 1009, 2012 Alytes, recognize Hypselotriton and include all Chinese species of Cynops in it.|
© 2001 Arie van der Meijden (1 of 2)
Limbs are slender, the forelimbs have four digits and the hindlimbs have five. The digits do not have claws and are not webbed. The skin is smooth, but rougher than for instance in C. orientalis.
Colour is black on the back, with a distinct orange-coloured vertebral ridge extending onto the tail. Occasionally orange spots on head and sides of the body. Colour of ventral side red or orange with irregular dark spots, sometimes forming longitudinal rows (Chang 1936),(Thorn 1969). A noticeable orange-red spot behind the eye, at the corner of the mouth. This characteristic, along with an arched back, inconspicuous parotid glands and the colour of the tail in the male, led Zhao & Hu (1988) to place this species close to C. cyanurus. The male has a deep blue tail in the breeding season (Zhao 1998). The male cloaca is rounded but not very prominent, the female cloaca is a short fold.
Many mature specimens have gill vestiges of various lengths. One of the type specimens has gills and contains ripe ova (Pope & Boring 1940). This species shows a strong tendency toward neoteny. Eggs and larvae are not described. A good illustration is published with the original description (Boulenger, 1905, plate 17; copied in smaller format in Wolterstorff, 1926). Photos of preserved specimens in Wolterstorff (1934 plate 1), who remarked that this newt had a fish-like appearance, adapted to an entirely aquatic life.
In the genus Cynops at least seven species are currently recognized (C. pyrrhogaster and C. ensicauda in Japan, C. orientalis, C. cyanurus, C. chenggongensis, C. wolterstorffi and C. orphicus in China, and possibly another taxon in the Hong Kong area). In a number of species, subspecies are recognized. C. wolterstorffi was long placed in a separate genus Hypselotriton on the basis of studies in skull morphology (Herre, 1939; Pope & Boring, 1940; Thorn, 1969). The genus Cynops is characterized by a combination of a number of features: Long nasal process of the premaxilla; complete and large bony fronto-squamosal arch; small or non-existant internasal cavity. Well-developed paroccipital corners. Vomero-palatal teeth as in Triturus. No crest, but a more or less prominent vertebral ridge. Tail compressed laterally. Reproduction as in Triturus (Thorn 1969): courtship consisting of tail-fanning by the male; eggs deposited singly on water plants.
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Boulenger, G.A (1905). ''Description of a new newt from Yunnan.'' Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1905, 277-278.
Chang, M. L. Y. (1936). Contribution à l'étude morphologique, biologique et systématique des amphibiens urodèles de la Chine. Librairie Picart, Paris.
Fei, L. (1999). Atlas of Amphibians of China. Henan Publishing House of Science and Technology, Zhengzhou.
Herre, W. (1939). ''Studien an asiatischen und nordamerikanischen Salamandriden.'' Abhandlungen und Berichte des Museums für Naturkunde, Magdeburg, 7(1), 79-98.
Pope, C.H. and Boring, A.M. (1940). ''A survey of Chinese Amphibia.'' Peking Natural History Bulletin, 15(1), 13-86.
Thorn, R. (1969). Les Salamandres d'Europe, d'Asie, et d'Afrique du Nord. Lechevalier, Paris, France.
Wolterstorff, W. (1926). ''Ostasiatische Tritonen.'' Blätter für Aquarien und Terrarienkunde, 37(15), 372-375.
Wolterstorff, W. (1934). ''Über die Gattung Hypselotriton.'' Zoologischer Anzeiger, 108, 257-263.
Zhao, E. (ed.) (1998). China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals. Amphibia and Reptilia. Science Press, Beijing, China.
Zhao, E. and Hu, Q. (1988). ''Studies on Chinese tailed amphibians.'' Studies on Chinese Salamanders. E. Zhao, Q. Hu, Y. Jiang and Y. Yang, eds., Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 1-44.
Written by Max Sparreboom (m.c.sparreboom AT hetnet.nl), Foundation Praemium Erasmianum, Amsterdam
First submitted 2000-02-09
Edited by Arie van der Meijden (2001-07-16)
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