This salamander has scent glands on the snout, a yellow stripe from the posterior of the eye to near the corner of the mouth, and paired, broken dorsolateral stripes on the dorsolateral ridges, differentiating it from the similar species P. chinensis. The skin is warty and glandular on most of the dorsal and ventral surfaces. This is a relatively large and robust species. The head is broad and longer than wide, with large round eyes and a short, truncate, projecting snout. Nares are located on the snout tip. The upper lip is thick and fleshy and overlaps the lower lip. Tiny maxillary and mandibular teeth are present, as well as vomerine teeth, with the latter forming an inverted "v" pattern. The tongue is elliptical and relatively small. Three tuberculate ridges (two dorsolateral and one midline) extend from the posterior of the head to the tail base. Toes lack webbing. Scent glands are present as tiny, scattered pits on the dorsum around the eyes, on both lips, the canthal ridge, along the paired dorsolateral ridges, and ventrally in two lines running from the chin to the cloaca. The tail is slender and laterally flattened, with a dorsal tail fin and somewhat indistinct ventral tail fin, and a rounded tail tip.
Most adults are neotenic, retaining vestigial gills and gill filaments. Neoteny has not previously been observed in the genus Paramesotriton.
The body is brown-black, with yellow mottling forming broken stripes along the three dorsal ridges. Large orange-red spots are present on the ventral surfaces. A yellow stripe runs from the posterior of the eye to the corner of the mouth.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China
Currently, this species is only known from the Shuangyan Pond (26°40’N 105°46’ E), 1310 m, Zhijin County, Guizhou Province, P. R. China (Zhao et al., 2008).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Most of the collected adult specimens of P. zhijinensis were neotenic, the first such report for this genus. This species inhabits a pool of 6700 square meters, which is fed by an underground spring. The water in the pond is clear and warm with a temperature of about 16°C year round, though also filled with algae. Fish are present in the pond.
The scent glands produce small quantities of white, foul-smelling secretions when touched. The odor decreased after animals had been fed and maintained in captivity for a short time.
Trends and Threats
The information regarding its population status is very incomplete. Due to limited field investigation, we do not know if this species occurs more widely. However, it appears that the main threats to this species include limited distribution, habitat loss, human activity, water pollution, and harvesting for the pet trade. Local economic development and construction present big challenges to this species, with a fountain in the pond having been set up for tourism. Furthermore, water pollution is also a big problem.
This is the first observation of the genus Paramesotriton in Zhijin County, Guizhou.
Zhao, H., Che, J., Zhou, W., Chen, Y., Zhao, H., and Zhang, Y.-P. (2008). ''A new species of Paramesotriton (Caudata: Salamandridae) from Guizhou Province, China.'' Zootaxa, 1775, 51-60.
Written by Jing Che (chej_car AT yahoo.com.cn), Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan
First submitted 2008-06-23
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2008-06-23)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Paramesotriton zhijinensis <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/7109> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 20, 2017.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 Oct 2017.
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