Cangsong CHEN,Jia YANG,et al.The Breeding Ecology of a Critically Endangered Salamander, Hynobius amjiensis (Caudata: Hynobiidae), Endemic to Eastern China[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2016,7(1):53-58.[doi:10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.150050]
Click Copy

The Breeding Ecology of a Critically Endangered Salamander, Hynobius amjiensis (Caudata: Hynobiidae), Endemic to Eastern China
Share To:

Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2016 VoI.7 No.1
Research Field:
Publishing date:


The Breeding Ecology of a Critically Endangered Salamander, Hynobius amjiensis (Caudata: Hynobiidae), Endemic to Eastern China
Cangsong CHEN12 Jia YANG2 Yunke WU3 Zhongyong FAN2 Weiwei LU2 Shuihua CHEN2* and Lipeng YU4
1 College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310012, Zhejiang, China
2 Zhejiang Museum of Natural History, Hangzhou 310014, Zhejiang, China
3 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca 14853, New York, USA
4 The Administration Bureau of Longwangshan Natural Reserve, Anji 313301, Zhejiang, China
Amji’s salamander oviposition site reproductive traits population decline habitat destruction preservation priority
Hynobius amjiensis is a critically endangered salamander species (IUCN Red List) endemic to eastern China. It currently has three known populations: one in Longwangshan, Zhejiang Province (type locality), and two in Qingliangfeng between Anhui and Zhejiang Provinces. We examined the relatively unstudied breeding ecology of this species in the field and at laboratory from March 2007 to May 2014. Adult males and females were year-round terrestrial, except for the February–April breeding season. During this period, we captured only a total of 16 breeding adults (11 males and 5 females). As few as 100 breeding females were estimated based on the number of egg sacs observed since 2007. This number was significantly reduced from the estimated number between 1992 and 1998. Males (mean total length = 16.21 cm, mean body mass = 18.8 g) were slightly smaller than females (16.51 cm, 19.2 g). Size of breeding pools ranged from 0.2 m2 to 1.2 m2 (0.1–1.2 m depths). Each female deposits a pair of egg sacs by attaching the adhesive tips of the sacs to aquatic plants or dead twigs. Fifteen pairs of egg sacs had an average length of 28.6 cm and a diameter of 3.3 cm. On average, each egg sac contained 75 eggs with a diameter of 0.3 cm. Our field survey revealed that H. amjiensis used oviposition sites in small, cool, and weakly acidic pools at high elevations (1 300–1 600 m) where peat moss was abundant. Reduction in wetland size and disappearance of suitable breeding pools suggest that this salamander species is under threat of extinction, particularly at Longwangshan, where 5 of the 9 breeding pools have either dried up or disappeared. Combined size of the remaining 4 pools is less than 2 m2. We urge immediate implementation of more effective conservation measures and suggest that preservation priority should be given to habitat that contains suitable breeding pools.


Crump M. L. 1991. Choice of oviposition site and egg load assessment by a tree frog. Herpetologica, 47: 308–315
Fei L., Hu S., Ye C., Huang Y. 2006. Fauna Sinica, Amphibia, Vol. 1. Beijing: Science Press
Fu C., Rao R., Wu J., Chen J., Lei G. 2003. Effects of density and food availability on growth and cannibalism in basin-raising larval salamanders (Hynobius amjiensis). Zool Res, 24: 186–190 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Gu H. 1992. A new species in the genus Hynobius, H. amjiensis. In: China Zoological Society (Ed.), Zoological Science Research. Beijing: Chinese Forestry Press, 39–43
Gu H., Mao X., Wang J., Du Z., Lou X. 1999. Research on population number and dynamics of Hynobius amjiensis. Sichuan J Zool, 18: 104–106 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Gu H., Lau M. W. N. 2004. Hynobius amjiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2.
Guo K., Mi X., Deng X. 2008. Breeding ecology of Hynobius guabangshanensis. Chinese J Ecol, 27: 77–82 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Hagman M., Shine R. 2006. Spawning site selection by feral cane toads (Bufo marinus) at an invasion front in tropical Australia. Austral Ecol, 31: 551–558
Hasumi M. 1994. Reproductive behavior of the salamander Hynobius nigrescens: monopoly of egg sacs during scramble competition. J Herpetol, 28: 264–267
Hasumi M. 2010. Age, body size, and sexual dimorphism in size and shape in Salamandrella keyserlingii (Caudata: Hynobiidae). Evol Biol, 37: 38–48
Hasumi M. 2015. Social interactions during the aquatic breeding phase of the family Hynobiidae (Amphibia: Caudata). Acta Ethol, 18: 243–253
Hasumi M., Borkin L. J. 2012. Age and body size of Salamandrella keyserlingii (Caudata: Hynobiidae): a difference in altitudes, latitudes, and temperatures. Org Divers Evol, 12: 167–181
Li Y., Wu X., Fang G., Gu C., Xue H., Wu X. 2013. Hynobius amjiensis found in Anhui province, China. Chinese J Zool, 48: 526–528 (In Chinese with English abstract)
Park S-R., Park D-S, Yang S. Y. 1996. Courtship, fighting behaviors and sexual dimorphism of the salamander, Hynobius leechii. Korean J Zool, 39: 437–446
Refsnider J. M., Janzen F. J. 2010. Putting eggs in one basket: Ecological and evolutionary hypotheses for variation in oviposition-site choice. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst, 41: 39–57
Resetarits W. J. Jr. 1996. Oviposition site choice and life history evolution. Am Zool, 36: 205–215
Resetarits W. J. Jr., Wilbur H. M. 1989. Choice of oviposition site by Hyla chrysoscelis: role of predators and competitors. Ecology, 70: 220–228
Skelly D. K. 2001. Distributions of pond-breeding anurans: an overview of mechanisms. Israel J Zool, 47: 313–332
Sparreboom M. 2014. Salamanders of the Old World: The Salamanders of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Zeist, Netherlands: KNNV Publishing
Wang S., Xie Y. 2004. China Species Red List, Vol 1. Beijing: Higher Education Press
Ye L. 2012. Research of the survival status and habitat characteristics of Anji Hynobiid during the breeding season. Master Thesis, Zhejiang Normal University, China
Zou S. 1993. Study contents and methods for the breeding ecology in anurans. Biol Bull, 28: 9–10


Last Update: 2016-03-30