Anhui Knobby Newt
Species Description: Qian L, Sun X, Li J, Guo W, Pan T, Kang X, Wang H, Jiang J, Wu J, Zhang B. 2017. A new species of the genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae) from the Southern Dabie Mountains in Anhui Province. Asian Herpetological Research 8: 151–164.
The skin is rough, with tubercles and warts all around the body. Only the labial margin, distal limbs, ventral limbs, and the ventral edge of the tail are smooth. From the neck to the base of the tail, a dorsal ridge runs along the middle of the dorsum. It is rough, narrow, and smaller than the diameter of the eye. The anterior width of the dorsal ridge is close its posterior width. The lateral corners of the dorsal ridge are composed of a row of rough nodular tubercles. Tubercles and warts on the lateral dorsum are big and closely arranged into lines extending from the shoulder to tail base. On the other hand, tubercles and warts in the ventral region are fairly flat. Prominent tubercles are prevalent on the dorsal edge of the tail. Warts are present in the lateral tail and the peripheral area of the cloaca. The cloacal region becomes more bulbous as they proceed into the breeding season (Qian et al. 2017).
The four limbs are relatively slender, with longer hind limbs than forelimbs. The distal tips of the limbs overlap when the limbs are pressed towards each other along the body. Fingers and digits are compressed and not webbed. The relative finger lengths are 3 > 2 > 4 > 1. The relative toe lengths are 3 > 4 > 2 > 5 > 1 (Qian et al. 2017).
The tail is shorter than the snout-vent distance. The tail muscles are strong and compressed laterally. Tail height is usually greater than the width of the base. The distal tail end is obtuse and sharp. The thin, high dorsal fin starts at the tail base and the thick, short ventral tail fin extends to posterior margin of the cloacal. The cloacal is, long, narrow and the region slightly protrudes (Qian et al. 2017).
Larvae are slender-bodied and reached 44.8 mm in total length. The forelimbs and hindlimbs are weak. The eyes are large on the wide and flat head. The body is compressed laterally, with three pairs of obtuse external gills on the anterior ends. The skin is smooth and muscular costal grooves are visible. The dorsal fin fold is tall compared to the body, rising from the region posterior head and anterior body. The ventral fin fold is short and thick, extending from the cloaca to the end of the tail (Qian et al. 2017).
Tylototriton anhuiensis is similar to other species in the subgenus of Yaotriton by having an upside-down V-shape pattern in their vomerine teeth. Yaotriton is classified into two groups: the Tylototriton verucosus group and the T. asperrimus group. The first group contains T. anhuiensis and several others, including T. panhai, T. liuyangensis, T. wenxianensis, T. broadoridgus, and T. dabienicus. This group of Yaotriton tend to have dense tubercles forming continuous nodule-like warts on the lateral body. The T. asperrimus group, includes T. asperrimus, T. notialis, T. hainanensis, T. lizhenchangi, T. vietnamensis and T. ziegleri. This group is identified by their large tubercles among the nodule-like warts on the lateral dorsum. The warts are separated from one another by a gap in between (Qian et al. 2017).
Within the subgenus groups, T. anhuiensis differs morphologically from the other species. Tylototriton wenxianensis has a round head, while T. anhuiensis has a head that are more vertically compressed. In the cloaca area, T. wenxianensis are blackish brown color similar to the body, while T. anhuiensis has a bright orange region around the cloaca hole. The bony ridges in T. wenxianensis are also notable for not being necked in. Tylototriton broadoridgus differs from the T. anhuiensis by having shorter dorsal-ridge length than eye diameter and round heads similar to that of T. wenxianensis. Tylototriton dabienicus is the most similar to T. anhuiensis except for having typically shorter tails than T. anhuiensis (Qian et al. 2017).
The adults in life are mostly blackish-brown. The ventral area is lighter. The distal digit ends, and ventral digits are orange. The ventral edge of the tail and the cloaca peripherals are all orange. Preserved adults are still blackish-brown, however, the orange coloration in the different body parts fades to milk white colors (Qian et al. 2017).
Preserved larvae have white tails with few scatters of blackish-brown spots on the dorsal side (Qian et al. 2017).
Female Tylototriton anhuiensis have short clocas. Their inner cloacal walls also lack papilla. However, male T. anhuiensis cloacal orifices appears as a long slit do and they have papilla in their inner cloacal wall. During the breeding season, males have bright, obvious orange colors in the cloacal area, but females only have subtle orange dots in the around the cloaca (Qian et al. 2017).
Distribution and Habitat
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Adult salamanders dwell in land during non-breeding seasons, but are often found in nearby ponds, wet soils, rotting corn stalk heaps, and rice paddies during the breeding season. Tylototriton anhuiensis are inactive during the day. Mostly, they come out and feed in the evenings and becomes very active before storms. Their primary locomotion is provided by movements of the tail (Qian et al. 2017).
The species feeds on worms, insects, spiders, and their own larvae. When they feed, T. anhuiensis are mostly attracted to hummus at the bottoms of the ponds or damp spaces of rich soil (Qian et al. 2017).
Based on Bayesian inference from sequence data of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 (ND2) and Cytochrome b (CytB) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), T. anhuiensis is most closely related to the clade composed of T. dabienicus and T. broadoridgus, which diverged from their common ancestor 3.68 MA ago. The next most closely related species is T. wenxianensis. Tylototriton anhuiensis diverged from its common ancestor with T. wenxianensis around 4.68 MA ago (Qian et al. 2017).
This species is named after its current distribution in the southern Dabie Mountains of Anhui province, China. One suggested English name is the "Anhui Knobby Newt" (Qian et al. 2017).
Tylototriton anhuiensis was formerly thought to be a population of T. asperrimus and later T. wenxianeis. It was split from both of those species based on morphology and genetics (Qian et al. 2017).
Qian, L., Sun, C., Li, J., Guo, W., Pan, T., Kang, X., Wang, H., Jiang, J., Wu, J., Zhang, B. (2017). ''A new species of the genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae) from the southern Dabie Mountains in Anhui Province.'' , 8(3), 151-164.
Written by: Hanlu Chen (chenhanlu AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2018-10-22
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2018-10-23)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Tylototriton anhuiensis: Anhui Knobby Newt <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/8708> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Mar 6, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 6 Mar 2021.
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