Axel Hernandez,
Mian Hou,

Reference to article

Hernandez A., Hou M. 2018. Natural history and biology of the Tiannan Crocodile Newt, Tylototriton yangi (Urodela: Salamandridae) at Gejiu, Yunnan province, China with its conservation implications. Nature Conservation Research 3(Suppl.1). DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2018.018

Section Resarch articles

The natural history of newly discovered species among the genus Tylototriton in South-Eastern Asia is poorly known to date, and most of the species are threatened by extinction. The description of their ecology is crucial to determine their survival status and successful reproduction for conservation purposes. In this study, we assessed the microhabitat preferences of Tylototriton yangi at the type locality, Gejiu, Yunnan province, China, with the Visual Encounter Survey method and by using new important materials. The main habitat is located within a humid subtropical climate and is composed of a large karstic mountain containing some patch of secondary mixed forests and plantations such as tomato fields, pepper and cabbage that are surrounded by scrubs, grasses and small ponds. We provided a complete diagnosis with new morphological data analysing ten adult individuals from the type series to establish a formal description which is absent from the first original description. We compared our results with other related taxa of the genus Tylototriton to updated key determinants between similar species. Thus, we analysed the population structure and the behaviour of T. yangi during a period of ten years, 2008–2017, to assess its survival status and to determine the main threat factors. A total of 186 specimens were found during the whole study predicting a small population inhabiting the type locality, Gejiu. Consequently, T. yangi is now regarded as a highly threatened species that need more attention of Chinese authorities and we suggest regarding it as Endangered due to its small distribution range, the low number of adult specimens observed and ongoing exploitation.


biology, China, conservation, ecology, Gejiu, microhabitat preferences, Tylototriton yangi, Yunnan province

Artice information

Received: 05.03.2018

The full text of the article

AmphibiaWeb. 2018. Amphibian Species of the World (ASW) version 5.6. Information on amphibian biology and conservation (web application). Berkeley. California. Available from: http://
Baker B., Diaz H., Hargrove W., Hoffman F. 2010. Use of the Köppen–Trewartha climate classification to evaluate climatic refugia in statistically derived ecoregions for the People's Republic of China. Climatic Change 98(1): 113–131. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-009-9622-2
Dasgupta R. 1987. The construction of pools in parks and their relation to the conservation of small vertebrates. Journal of the Bengal Natural History Society. New Series 6(2): 110–112.
Dasgupta R. 1990. Distribution and conservation problems of the Himalayan newt (Tylototriton verrucosus) in the Darjeeling Himalayas. Hamadryad 15: 13–15.
Dubois A., Raffaëlli J. 2009. A new ergotaxonomy of the family Salamandridae Goldfuss, 1820 (Amphibia, Urodela). Alytes 26(1–4): 1–85.
Dubois A., Raffaëlli J. 2012. A new ergotaxonomy of the order Urodela Duméril, 1805 (Amphibia, Batrachia). Alytes 28(3–4): 77–161.
Duellman W.E., Trueb L. 1986. Biology of amphibians. New York: McGraw-Hill. 670 p.
Fei L. 1996. Atlas of amphibians of China. Chengdu: Chengdu Institute of Biology. 432 p.
Fei L. 1999. Atlas of amphibians of China. Zhengzhao, China: Hunan Science and Technology Publishing House. 432 p.
Fei L., Ye C. 2016. Amphibians of China. Vol. 1. Beijing: Science Press Beijing. 1040 p. [In Chinese]
Fei L., Ye C.Y., Jiang J.P. 2012. Coloured Atlas of Chinese amphibians and Their Distributions. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology. 620 p. [In Chinese]
Fei L., Ye C.Y., Huan Y.Z., Jiang J.P., Xie F. 2006. An illustrated key to Chinese amphibians. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology. 340 p. [In Chinese]
Frost D. 2017. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA: American Museum of Natural History. Available from: Retrieved on 23 April 2017.
Ghimire H.R., Shah K.B. 2014. Status and habitat ecology of the yellow monitor, Varanus flavescens, in the southeastern part of Kanchanpur district, Nepal. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 9(2): 387−393.
Hayer W.K., Donnelly M.A., McDiamid R.W., Hayekand L.C., Foster M.S. (Eds.). 1994. Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity, standard methods for amphibians. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 364 p.
Hernandez A. 2015. Etude des Amphibiens Urodèles en voie d'extinction et mise en place de projets de conservation au Parc Zoologique de Thoiry. MSc. Thesis, Part 1. Corte: University of Corsica. 224 p.
Hernandez A. 2016a. Etude sur les Urodèles en voie de disparition. Paris: Éditions Édilivre. 120 p.
Hernandez A. 2016b. Tylototriton Anderson, 1871: Observation du genre en Thaïlande et éléments de réflexions sur la diversité des sous-genres Yaotriton et Tylototriton. AFT, Revue Francophone d'Herpétoculture, Situla 28: 12–25.
Hernandez A. 2016c. Le genre relicte Echinotriton Nussbaum & Brodie, 1982 en Asie du sud-est, AFT, Revue Francophone d'Herpétoculture, Situla 29: 18–31.
Hernandez A. 2016d. Le genre Echinotriton en Asie du sud-est: de véritables fossiles au bord de l'extinction. Paris: Éditions Édilivre. 70 p.
Hernandez A. 2016e. Crocodile newts: The primitive Salamandridae from Asia (the genera Echinotriton and Tylototriton). Frankfurt: Edition Chimaira. 415 p.
Hernandez A. 2017. Les Urodèles du Maroc: Pleurodeles waltl, Salamandra algira tingitana, S. algira splendens et S. algira spelaea (Caudata : Salamandridae), Histoire naturelle, taxinomie, écologie et perspectives conservatoires. AFT, Revue Francophone d'Herpétoculture, Situla 30: 30–48.
Hernandez A., Escoriza D., Hou M. 2017. Habitat selection of the endangered crocodile newts Echinotriton (Amphibia: Salamandridae): a preliminary assessment. Bulletin de la Société Herpétologique de France 163: 21–34.
Hernandez A., Hou M. 2017. New localities of Tylototriton shanjing Nussbaum, Brodie & Yang, 1995 at its southern limit of distribution in Yunnan province, China. Bulletin de la Société Herpétologique de France 163: 103–105.
Hou M., Li P.P., Lü S.Q. 2012. Morphological research development of genus Tylototriton and primary confirmation of the status of four cryptic populations. Journal of Huangshan University 14: 61–65.
IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. Available from: Retrieved on 17 November 2017.
Khatiwada J.R., Wang B., Ghimire S., Vasudevan K., Paudel S., Jiang J. 2015. A new species of the genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandriae) from Eastern Himalaya. Asian Herpetological Research 6(4): 245–256. DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.170013
Kottek M., Grieser J., Beck C., Rudolf B., Rubel F. 2006. World map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated. Meteorologische Zeitschrift 15(3): 259–263. DOI: 10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130
Kurabayashi A., Nishitani T., Katsuren S., Oumi S., Sumida M. 2012. Mitochondrial genomes and divergence times of crocodile newts: Inter-islands distribution of Echinotriton andersoni and the origin of a unique repetitive sequence found in Tylototriton mt genomes. Genes & Genetic Systems 87(1): 39–51. DOI: 10.1266/ggs.87.39
Marjanović D., Witzmann F. 2015. An extremely peramorphic newt (Urodela: Salamandridae: Pleurodelini) from the Latest Oligocene of Germany, and a new phylogenetic analysis of extant and extinct Salamandrids. PLoS ONE 10: e0137068. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137068
Nishikawa K., Matsui M., Rao D.Q. 2014. A new species of Tylototriton (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae) from central Myanmar. Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 60(1): 9–22.
Nishikawa K., Rao D-q., Matsui M., Eto K. 2015. Taxonomic relationship between Tylototriton daweishanensis Zhao, Rao, Liu, Li and Yuan, 2012 and T. yangi Hou, Li and Liu, 2012 (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae). Current Herpetology 34: 67–74. DOI: 10.5358/hsj.34.67
Peel M.C., Finlayson B.L., McMahon T.A. 2007. Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions 4: 439–473. DOI: 10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007
Phimmachak S., Aowphol A., Stuart B. 2015. Morphological and molecular variation in Tylototriton (Caudata: Salamandridae) in Laos, with description of a new species. Zootaxa 4006(2): 285–310. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4006.2.3
Qian H., Wang X., Wang S., Li Y. 2007. Environmental determinants of amphibian and reptile species richness in China. Ecography 30: 471–482. DOI: 10.1111/j.0906-7590.2007.05025.x
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(3): 151–164. DOI: 10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.170013
Raffaëlli J. 2013. Les Urodèles du monde. Penclen: Deuxième Édition. 480 p.
Seglie D., Roy D., Giacoma C., Mushahidunnabi M. 2003. Distribution and conservation of the Himalayan Newt (Tylototriton verrucosus, Urodela, Salamandridae) in the Darjeeling District, west Bengal (India). Russian Journal of Herpetology 10(2): 159–164.
Sparreboom M. 2014. Salamanders of the old world. Zeist, Netherland: KNNV Publishing. 432 p.
Stuart S.N., Chanson J.S., Cox N.A., Young B.E., Rodrigues A.S-L., Fischman D.L., Waller R.W. 2004. Status and trends of Amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science 306(5702): 1783–1786. DOI: 10.1126/science.1103538
Stuart S.N., Hoffmann M., Chanson J.S., Cox N.A., Berridge R.J., Ramani P., Young B.E. 2008. Threatened amphibians of the World. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. 758 p.
Wake D.B. 1991. Declining amphibian populations. Science 253(5022): 860. DOI: 10.1126/science.253.5022.860
Wake D.B., Özeti N. 1969. Evolutionary relationships in the family Salamandridae. Copeia 1969: 124–137.
Wang K., Yuan Z., Zhong G., Li G., Verrell P.A. 2017. Reproductive biology of Tylototriton yangi (Urodela: Salamandridae), with suggestions on its conservation. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 11(2): 33–43.
Yu G., Zhang M., Rao D., Yang J. 2013. Effect of Pleistocene climatic oscillations on the phylogeography and demography of red knobby newt (Tylototriton shanjing) from Southwestern China. PloS ONE 8(2): e56066. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056066
Zhu H. 1997. Ecological and biogeographical studies on the tropical rain forest of south Yunnan, SW China with a special reference to its relation with rain forests of tropical Asia. Journal of Biogeography 24(5): 647–662. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.1997.tb00075.x
Zhu H., Shi J.P., Zhao C.J. 2005. Species composition, physiognomy and plant diversity of the tropical montane evergreen broad-leaved forest in southern Yunnan. Biodiversity and Conservation 14(12): 2855–2870. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-004-8220-x