AmphibiaWeb - Pachytriton granulosus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Pachytriton granulosus Chang, 1933
Northeastern Paddle-Tailed Newt, Pingchi’s Newt, Spotless Stout Newt, Pachytriton de Zhejiang
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Pleurodelinae
genus: Pachytriton
Species Description: Nishikawa K, Jiang J-P, Matsui M, Mo Y-M 2011 Unmasking Pachytriton labiatus (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae), with description of a new species of Pachytriton from Guangxi, China. Zool Sci 28:453-461.
Taxonomic Notes: The genera Pachytriton and Paramesotriton have had a confused taxonomic history, complicated by the fact that a number of these salamanders have long been in the pet trade, identified as Paddletailed and Warty Newts, respectively. In 1985 Frost (Amphibian Species of the World) recognized only one Pachytriton, P. brevipes, and 5 Paramesotriton. At present 8 species of Pachytriton and 13 species of Paramesotriton are recognized. The pet trade long identified the following biological entities: Phenotypes Pachytriton A, B, C and D, none of them assignable to P. brevipes. Eventually Pachytriton labiatus was associated with phenotype A, but the other phenotypes were of uncertain taxonomy. In 2011 Nishikawa et al. discovered that the nomen labiatus belongs to a biological entity that had been recently named Paramesotriton ermizhaoi, and Phenotype A was assigned to Pachytriton granulosus (which had been in the synonymy of other taxa). Raffaelli (Les Urodeles de Monde, 2nd Ed 2013) thinks that Phenotypes A are taxonomically heterogenous, and include in addition to Pachytriton granulosus, Pachytriton feii, Pachytriton moi and Pachytriton inexpectatus; Phenotype B is thought to be Pachytriton changi (and we think also Pachytriton xanthospilos); Phenotype C is thought to be Paramesotriton labiatus; Phenotype D is thought to be Paramesotriton archospotus. No members of the genus Paramesotriton (Warty Newts) should be called Paddletailed newts; that name should refer only to Pachytriton (which are also known as Stout Newts). For formal taxonomic history see Amphibian Species of the World website.

AmphibiaChina 中国两栖类.

Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Pachytriton granulosus, or the Pingchi’s Newt, is a medium-sized rough-skinned salamander. The adult male snout-vent length range is 59.0 - 78.9 mm, whereas the adult female range is 59.9 - 81.6 mm (Nishikawa et al. 2011).

This species tends to have a longer body morphology compared to the species it previously was mistaken for Paramesotriton labiatus, along with orange dots on the side, which are not present in Paramesotriton labiatus. Another distinguishing feature between these two species is the presence of a shiny, silver-like color on the tail of P. granulosus adult males (Nishikawa et al. 2009, 2011). Pachytriton granulosus is larger than Cynops orientalis. A distinct dorsal ridge differentiates P. granulosus from Paramesotriton chinensis. Additionally, Paramesotriton chinensis has isolated reddish orange spots on the ventrum and a small yellowish spot at the base of the limbs on the dorsum. Black spots on the dorsum of Pachytriton brevipes differentiate it from P. granulosus (Nishikawa et al. 2009). A larger, more robust body and wider head differentiates Pachytrition inexpectatus from the similar P. granulosus. Additionally, they are separated by a large geographic distance (Nishikawa et al. 2011). Geographic range also separates P. granulosa from other similar species, Pachytrition archospotus, Pachytrition brevipes, Pachytrition feii and Pachytrition xanthospilos (Wu et al. 2013).

In life, these salamanders have dark coloration with orange spots on their sides. Their ventral surfaces are bright orange along with a few darker speckles all around (Nishikawa et al. 2009).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
Pachytrition granulosus is distributed within the mountain streams of the Zhejiang and Fujian regions of China where water is cold and highly oxygenated. They are restricted to montane habitats at high elevations and their distribution is small but continuous. Their elevational range reaches up to 2000 m above sea level (Wu et al. 2013).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Pachytrition granulosus was thought to be a junior synonym of Paramesotriton labiatus (Nishikawa et al. 2011). As a result, literature on both species prior to 2011 is suspect and needs to be verified.

Trends and Threats
Pachytrition granulosus is threatened by the exploitation of their habitats and excessive pet trading. Establishing legal protections on their habitats and regulations on pet trading have been suggested for their conservation (Nishikawa et al. 2011). Additionally, P. granulosus is adapted to colder climates and its distribution has a narrow temperature range, which suggests that this species could potentially be threatened by global warming (Wu et al. 2013).

Relation to Humans
This species is kept as a pet and regularly traded in the domestic and international markets (Nishikawa et al. 2011).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Prolonged drought
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.


The phylogeny of the Pachytriton clade has been problematic. Pachytriton granulosus was originally misidentified as Paramesotriton labiatus, due to their shared trait of granular textured skin. Pachytriton granulosus have also been mistaken for several other species (Nishiwaka et al. 2009, 2011). However, based on Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses on both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, P. granulosus is the sister taxon to the clade composed of P. brevipes, P. feii, and P. xanthospilos. The next most closely related species is P. archospotus, then P. inexpectatus (Wu et al. 2013).

The original specimen that was used to describe this species was originally lost during WWII, which has caused confusion in the determination of P. granulosus as a species (Nishiwaka et al. 2009).

The species epithet, “granulosa” is likely a reference to the granular skin texture.


Nishikawa K, Jiang J-P, Matsui M, Mo Y-M (2011). "Unmasking Pachytriton labiatus (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae), with Description of a New Species of Pachytriton from Guangxi, China." Zoological Science, 28(6), 453-461. [link]

Nishikawa K, Jiang J.P., Matsui M., Chen, C.S. (2009). "Morphological variation in Pachytriton labiatus and a re-assessment of the taxonomic status of P. granulosus (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae)." Current Herpetology, 28, 49-64. [link]

Wu, Y., Wang, Y., Jiang, K., Hanken, J. (2013). “Significance of pre-Quaternary climate change for montane species diversity: Insights from Asian salamanders (Salamandridae: Pachytriton)”, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 66(1), 380-390. [link]

Originally submitted by: Taylor Lewis, Jennifer Paez Garcia, Aimee Aceves Dominguez (2022-06-06)
Trends and threats by: Taylor Lewis, Jennifer Paez Garcia, Aimee Aceves Dominguez (updated 2022-06-06)
Relation to humans by: Taylor Lewis, Jennifer Paez Garcia, Aimee Aceves Dominguez (updated 2022-06-06)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang, Michelle S. Koo (2023-03-13)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Pachytriton granulosus: Northeastern Paddle-Tailed Newt <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 28, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 28 May 2023.

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