This rough-skinned newt has distinct bony ridges on the sides of the top of the head. The body is a dark brownish-black color with orange or yellow pigment on the head (including parotoid glands), vertebral ridge, and dorso-lateral body warts. Most of the venter, tail, and limbs is also orange-yellow in color.
The etymology of the name is derived from the Mandarin "shan" (mountain) and "jing" (spirit or demon). This species was described and removed from T. verrucosus (the Burmese Newt) (Nussbaum et al. 1995). Tylototriton verrucosus has protected status but T. shanjing does not, though it has been proposed by Zhao (1998).
The taxonomic status of Tylototriton shanjing has recently been disputed. Zhang et al. (2007) recommended that T. shanjing be considered a synonym of T. verrucosus, on the basis of similarity in Cyt b. However, only a single sample of T. verrucosus was analyzed, from China; no samples were included from other parts of the range (India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Burma, Viet Nam, and probably Laos and Bhutan). In addition, Ziegler et al (2008) report that T. shanjing breeds true in captivity. Until a more thorough analysis of T. verrucosus is undertaken, the systematic decision to remove shanjing must be considered premature. (For an English translation of Zhang et al., e-mail Jennifer Macke, jpmackeATcomcast.net)
- Nussbaum, R. A., Brodie, E. D., Jr., and Datong, Y. (1995). ''A taxonomic review of Tylototriton verrucosus Anderson (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae).'' Herpetologica, 51(3), 257-268.
- Zhang, M., Rao, D., Yu, G., and Yang, J. (2007). ''The validity of Red Knobby Newt (Tylototriton shanjing) species status based on mitochondrial Cyt b gene.'' Zoological Research, 28(4), 430-436.
- Zhao, E. (1998). China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals: Amphibia and Reptilia. Science Press: Endangered Species Scientific Commission, P.R.C., Beijing.
- Ziegler, T., Hartmann, T., Van der Straeten, K., Karbe, D., and BÃ¶hme, W. (2008). ''Captive breeding and larval morphology of Tylototriton shanjing Nussbaum, Brodie and Yang, 1995, with an updated key of the genus Tylototriton (Amphibia: Salamandridae).'' Der Zoologische Garten, 77, 246-260.