THE GIANT SALAMADER
The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest salamander in the world, reaching a maximum length of around 180 cm (6 ft), although it rarely – if ever – reaches that size today. Native to rocky mountain streams and lakes in China, it is considered critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collecting. Why? Because it is considered a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine. There are records of Chinese giant salamanders in Taiwan, but this is likely to be the result of non-native introductions.
Chinese giant salamander facts
The Chinese giant salamander has a large head, small eyes and dark and wrinkly skin. It is one of only two extant species in the genus Andrias, the other being the slightly smaller, but otherwise very similar Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus).
These salamanders travel upstream to breed in the months of August and September. The males compete viciously until one male is established as a 'den master'. The den master is then responsible of overseeing the mating area, allowing females and other males in to spawn. A single female can produce around 500 eggs and these will be lain in an underwater breeding cavity guarded by the den master.
After the eggs are fertilized, the den master guards the eggs - and subsequent young - for approximately six months. When the young hatch they are known to hunt and feed in groups rather than individually.
Giant salamanders are known to live up to 80 years and can weigh as much as 25–30 kg (55-66 lb) with a length of 1.15 m (3.8 ft).
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Based on an article by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_giant_salamander
Photo care of http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/dangerous-encounters/3906/Photos#tab-Photos/0