Tylototriton anguliceps
Angular-headed newt
Subgenus: Tylototriton
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Pleurodelinae
Species Description: Le DT, Nguyen TT, Nishikawa K, Nguyen SLH, Pham AV, Matsui M, Bernardes M, Nguyen TQ. 2015 A new species of Tylototriton Anderson, 1871 (Amphibia: Salamandridae) from Northern Indochina. Current Herpetology 34: 38-50.

© 2019 Axel Hernandez (1 of 8)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
CITES Appendix II
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

bookcover Account written by Axel Hernandez, author of Crocodile Newts: The Primitive Salamandridae of Asia (Genera Echinotriton and Tylototriton), 2016 Edition Chimaira and may contain excerpts from here. More on the author and book.   

Author: Axel Hernandez

Angular-headed crocodile newt

Diagnosis and taxonomy

The holotype (HNUE A.I.1.109) was collected in the Muong Nhe Nature Reserve, Muong Nhe District, Dien Bien Province, Vietnam (22° 18.580′N, 102° 11.026′E, elevation 1,704 m a.s.l.). This species is the sister taxon of T. uyenoi, with which it forms a separate clade according to LE et al. (2015), PHIMMACHAK et al. (2015), and KHATIWADA et al. (2015), but this result was not supported in our phylogeny and deserves more in-depth analysis. It is in any case clustered with T. uyenoi. The etymology of the specific epithet highlights the most obvious morphological characteristic – the angular shape of the head. It is a moderately large species of 15.8 cm at maximum in TL that resembles T. shanjing closely morphologically, but differs notably by its narrow lateral bony edges of the head and more contrast between the dark background color and the yellow-orange markings on the edges and 15 - 16 dorsolateral glandular warts. The muzzle is truncated and the vertebral ridge prominent and slightly segmented. Females have a dilated abdomen and a relatively shorter tail than males. This species has more prominent dorsal granules than both T. shanjing and T. uyenoi and is less colorful than these.

No subspecies are recognized at this point of time, but the status of T. cf. anguliceps Doi Lahnga/Doi Wiang Pha from northern Thailand (in Chiang Rai Province at 1,300-1,800 m a.s.l.) is questionable and needs further genetic study because of its morphological variation observed (HERNANDEZ 2016b). Specimens from these two localities are smaller and their morphology is superficially reminiscent of T. shanjing, but they differ by wider and more protuberant parotoid glands, brighter orange yellow to reddish markings on the cephalic edges, costal warts, vertebral segments, tail and ventral parts; its dorsal ground color is dark brown to black. The few known specimens of this form measured 14.5 cm on average in TL while the same value for specimens of T. anguliceps from Vietnam is 15.8 cm.

This taxon was referred to as T. verrucosus Lao Cai/Lao Chau in the past (ORLOV et al. 2002)


Aside from at type locality in the Muong Nhe Nature Reserve, this species is known to occur in northern Indochina in Thuan Chau; Song Ma, Son La Province in northwestern Vietnam, in Chiang Rai Province, northern Thailand (not far from the range of T. uyenoi), and in Viengphoukha, Louang Namtha, northwestern Laos. Its actual distribution range could be greater and might actually extend from adjacent Myanmar to southern China (Yunnan).

Habitat, ethology and ecology

This species has been encountered under decaying tree trunks, bark and in leaf litter on the ground near streams, under stones, or on the ground after rain in Vietnam, and near small ponds in Thailand. The air temperature was 21.2 °C, that of the water 21.4 °C, and humidity 79% at the site in Thailand when these newts were spotted moving about in ponds at 1,443 m a.s.l. at Doi Lahnga in May. This species is mainly terrestrial and moves about on the forest floor during heavy rains.


The reproductive biology of T. anguliceps is similar to that of T. shanjing. Eggs measure 2 to 2.7 mm in diameter. Two clutches of four eggs each were observed in the forest at the village of Nong Vai (Son La), Vietnam, on 19 June 2013, and a larva measuring 37.5 mm was caught at 8:30 p.m. in a slow-flowing stream of 20 cm deep in a secondary forest nearby on 2 August 2013 by PHAM VAN ANH (pers. comm.).

Captive husbandry

No information on the husbandry requirements of this species exists, however they may be supposed to be similar to those of T. shanjing (see account).

Status, threats and conservation

The population status of this species is unknown at present. It is protected in Thailand, though. The destruction of forests and pet trade factors could become a serious threat in the future (see T. panhai).

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 Oct 2020.

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