Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is known with certainty from Xinduqiao County, Sichuan Province, China. A second population from Zhendoushan might belong to this species. In general, this species might be more widespread, but further investigation is needed to confirm the identity of populations other than the Xinduqiao County population reported by Fu et al. (2001). It can be found at elevations of 1,800 to around 4,000m asl.
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This salamander is only found in the tributaries of the Yalong River between 29 and 32 N. latitude in southwestern China (Zhao et al., 1988).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Cylindrical and stout body. The head length is a little less than 1/4 of the snout-vent length. Labial fold is well-developed. The number of vomerine teeth and size of the tooth patch is variable among individuals. Angle of jaw exceeds the posterior margin of eye. Gular fold is prominent and visible from above. Limbs are short and do not meet when adpressed. 11 to 13 costal grooves. The salamander has 4 fingers and 4 toes without webbing. Tips of digits are covered by keratinized epidermis but the palm and sole do not have such covering. A large tubercle is present at the base of first two fingers and first two toes. Tail length is shorter than snout-vent length. Tail is rounded at the base and flattened towards the tip. Caudal fin is present and thin at the dorsal side of the posterior part of the tail, but absent on the ventral side. The vent of the males is characterized by a transverse crescentic opening with a light-colored papilla in the middle, which is followed by a longitudinal groove posteriorly. The vent of the females is a normal longitudinal slit. Males also have a relatively short snout-vent length compared to females (Liu, 1950).

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Size

All measurements are from Luhuo County (Liu, 1950).

Male (10 specimens). Snout-vent length: 74.0–88.0 mm; Head length: 16.0–20.0 mm; Head width: 13.3–15.5 mm; tail length: 77.0–102 mm; forelimb length: 18.0–24.5 mm; hind-limb length: 20.7–27.5 mm.

Female (10 specimens). Snout-vent length: 78.0–90.0 mm; Head length: 17.8–21.5 mm; Head width: 14.0–16.5 mm; tail length: 79.0–99.0 mm; forelimb length: 18.5–21.8 mm; hind-limb length: 23.0–27.0 mm.

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Diagnostic Description

Labial fold is well developed. Vomerine tooth patches are widely separated. The distance between the two patches reaches 2/3 of the full length of the vomerine tooth patch. The biggest difference from congeners is the absence of spots or marblings on the body. The salamander is uniformly black to neutral grey (Liu, 1950). However, Fei et al. (2006) and Fu & Zeng (2008) suggest that the presence or absence of spots is not a good character for species delimitation.

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Type Information

Paratype for Batrachuperus karlschmidti
Catalog Number: USNM 124582
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Locality: Lu-Ho-Hsien, Sikang, China, Asia
  • Paratype: Liu, C. 1950. Fieldiana: Zoology Memoirs. 2: 87.
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Paratype for Batrachuperus karlschmidti
Catalog Number: USNM 124581
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Locality: Lu-Ho-Hsien, Sikang, China, Asia
  • Paratype: Liu, C. 1950. Fieldiana: Zoology Memoirs. 2: 87.
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Look Alikes

Fei et al. (2006) suggest that a small number of specimens of B. karlschmidti from the type locality (Luhuo County) do have obvious spots and are therefore hard to distinguish from B. tibetanus.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This is a largely aquatic species associated with slow-flowing streams in grassland areas. Animals can occasionally be found on the stream bank. The female lays a pair of egg sacs and attaches these below stones in the stream. It is unlikely to be adaptable to habitat modification.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Batrachuperus karlschmidti lives in cold montane streams at elevations of 2,000–4,500 m. The salamanders hide under large flat rocks near the margin of the stream where the current is not fast. They can also be found in rock crevices in the stream. Liu (1950) occasionally found them under logs or plant roots on the bank. Larvae and juveniles mostly stay in upper reaches of small streams or springs. The salamander’s main diet is aquatic insects and their larvae.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

The breeding season likely lasts from May to early August. Recent hatchlings and egg sacs still with developing embryos have been found in July and early August (Liu, 1950). The egg sac is like a C-shaped cylindrical tube with one end attached to the underside or side of the stone near the source of the stream. The length of the egg sacs ranges from 75 to 96 mm with a diameter between 14 to 19 mm and contains seven to twelve embryos. Longitudinal creamy yellow stripes are present on the surface of the egg sacs. Hatchlings swim out through a hole at the free end of the egg sac. New hatchlings, which are light grey dorsally and yellow ventrally, range from 15 to 16 mm in total length. Metamorphosis takes place when larvae reach 8–9 cm in total length. At this stage they have indistinct marblings or spots on a dark dorsum.

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Batrachuperus karlschmidti is considered different from B. tibetanus both morphologically and ecologically by Zhao & Jiang (1988), although both species may coexist in the same stream. Fei et al. (2006) synonymize B. karlschmidti under the latter species. They found some B. karlschmidti from the type locality with clear spots, making it hard to distinguish the two species. Fu et al. (2001) use mitochondrial data to support the validity of B. karlschmidti, which is divergent from B. tibetanus, but they also find that the presence or absence of spots is not a good character. Fu & Zeng (2008) further support the validity of B. karlschmidti and suggest that hybridization may occur where the two species occur in sympatry.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Karyotype:

2n=68, 1M, 2M, 3M, 4ST, 5ST, 6ST, 7ST, 8ST, 9ST, 10ST, 11ST, 12ST, m(13–34), from Yang (1992).

M: metacentric; SM: submetacentric; T: telocentric; ST: subtelocentric; m: micro-chromosome

Mitochondrial sequence and allozyme data see Fu et al. (2001) and Fu & Zeng (2008).

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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Batrachuperus karlschmidti

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Batrachuperus karlschmidti

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Xie Feng

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Vulnerable because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat.
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Conservation

Listed as vulnerable in IUCN (2010). The distribution is small. But the salamander is abundant in its range. Current threat includes habitat loss and usage as traditional Chinese medicine (powder of dried animals is used to cure stomach problems).

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Population

Population
This species is common within its restricted range.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is threatened by overgrazing of habitat by livestock (presumably the vegetation surrounding streams), and the local use of the species for traditional medicine.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is not known from any protected areas. There is a need to implement measures to ensure that the offtake of this species from the wild is managed in a sustainable manner.
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Wikipedia

Chiala mountain salamander

The Chiala mountain salamander (Batrachuperus karlschmidti) is a species of salamander in the Hynobiidae family endemic to China. Its natural habitat is rivers. It is threatened by habitat loss.

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