Mountain Spiny Crocodile Newt; Gao Shan Ji Yuan (Chinese)
Species Description: Hou M, Wu Y, Yang K, Zheng S, Yuan Z, Li P 2014 A missing geographic link in the distribution of the genus Echinotriton (Caudata: Salamandridae) with decription of a new species from southern China. Zootaxa 3895: 89-102.
© 2020 Axel Hernandez (1 of 6)
Echinotriton maxiquadratus is generally distinguished from closely related species by a trapezoid-shaped projection posterior to the mouth representing the quadrate spines. In other species of Echinotriton, the projection is triangular. Echinotriton maxiquadratus can be further distinguished from E. andersoni by having only single lines of warts on either side of the body and a normal 5th toe rather than 1-3 rows found and rudimentary toe in E. andersoni, and from E. chinhaiensis by having its longest finger extend past the rostrum when the limb is extended toward the head and by having conical skin tubercles (Hou et al. 2014).
Echinotriton maxiquadratus is primarily black in life with some orange and yellow features. Its 2nd and 7th lateral warts are a mix of gray and yellow. The tip of the quadrate projection, digits, carpal and tarsal tubercles, cloaca, and ventral ridge of the tail are yellow-orange (Hou et al. 2014).
Only one holotype of the species has been discovered (Hou et al. 2014).
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
Echinotriton maxiquadratus is a new species within the genus Echinotriton, the sister taxon to Tylototriton. Echinotriton and Tylototriton are known as the “primitive newts” within the family Salamandridae. Nuclear and mitochondrial data conflict over the specific placement of E. maxiquadratus within the genus Echinotriton (Hou et al. 2014).
The species epithet, maxiquadratus combines maximus, or “greatest,” and quadrate. The quadrate bone has large spines in this species (Hou et al. 2014).
Echinotriton maxiquadratus fills a gap in the geographic distribution of the genus Echinotriton. The other two species in the genus, E andersoni and E. chinhaiensis, are found in Japan and eastern Zhejian province in China, respectively. It has been hypothesized that a land bridge used to connect the Japanese archipelago, Taiwan, and China. The locality of E. maxiquadratus in Southern China fits between the disjunct distributions of E andersoni and E. chinhaiensis, supporting a dispersal route for Echinotriton from China up into the Japanese archipelago (Hou et al. 2014).
Hou, M., Wu, Y., Yang, K., Zheng, S., Yuan, Z., Li, P. (2014). ''A missing geographic link in the distribution of the genus Echinotriton (Caudata: Salamandridae) with description of a new species from southern China.'' Zootaxa, 3895(1), 89-102.
Written by Joshua Ho (Joshuaho AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2015-05-31
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2015 Echinotriton maxiquadratus: Mountain Spiny Crocodile Newt; Gao Shan Ji Yuan (Chinese) <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/8273> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 19, 2020.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2020. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Sep 2020.
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