Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Cryptobranchidae

Scientific Name: Andrias davidianus
Species Authority: (Blanchard, 1871)
Common Name(s):
English Chinese Giant Salamander
Sieboldia davidiana Blanchard, 1871
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2013. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: This species is sometimes assigned to the genus Cryptobranchium.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ad ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Liang Gang, Geng Baorong, Zhao Ermi
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)
Listed as Critically Endangered because of an observed drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over the last three generations, due to over-exploitation. The generation length is estimated to be 15 years.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Indeterminate (I)
1990 Indeterminate (I)
1988 Indeterminate (I)
1986 Indeterminate (I)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The largest of all amphibian species (sometimes growing to more than one metre in length) this species is widespread in central, south-western and southern China, although its range is now very fragmented. It occurs from 100–1,500 m asl. Records of the species in Taiwan, Province of China, might be the result of introductions.
Countries occurrence:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was once reasonably common but has declined catastrophically over the last 30 years, principally due to over-exploitation, and it is now very rare, with few surviving populations known.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lives and breeds in large hill streams, usually in forested areas. Females lay approximately 500 eggs in a string in an underwater burrow or cavity that is occupied by a male. Eggs are fertilized externally and are guarded by the male until they hatch after 50-60 days. Larvae then develop in the streams, taking food after about 30 days (Haker 1997).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Commercial over-exploitation for human consumption is the main threat to this species. It has also suffered from habitat destruction (e.g., from the construction of dams) and habitat degradation (e.g., water pollution from mines). Although there is commercial farming of this species, the vast majority of Chinese Giant Salamanders being traded are believed to originate from the wild.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In China, this species is listed as a Class II state major protected wildlife species. It occurs, or at least used to occur, in many nature reserves within its range, and some nature reserves even use the species as their main conservation target, such as Zhangjiajie Giant Salamander Nature Reserve. Captive rearing of animals has achieved some success, but these projects are mainly to meet the market demand. It is not clear whether or not animals are actually being bred in captivity. It is listed on CITES Appendix I.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.10. Large dams
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

9. Pollution -> 9.2. Industrial & military effluents -> 9.2.2. Seepage from mining
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Conservation Planning -> 2.1. Species Action/Recovery Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Fei, L., Ye, C.-Y., Huang, Y.-A. and Liu, M.-Y. 1999. Atlas of Amphibians of China. Henan Science and Technical Press, Zhengzhou.

Haker, J. 1997. Haltung und Zucht des Chinesischen Riesensalamanders Andrias davidianus. Salamandra: 69-74.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 November 2004.

MacKinnon, J., Meng, S., Cheung, C., Carey, G., Zhu, X. and Melville, D. 1996. A Biodiversity Review of China. World Wide Fund for Nature International, Hong Kong.

Qu, W.-Y. 2000. Rare and Endangered Animals in Henan. Henan Science and Technology Press, Zhengzhou.

Wang, P. 2000. Protection of the habitat of giant salamanders should be realized. Sichuan Journal of Zoology: 164.

Wang, X.-M., Zhang, K.-J., Wang, Z.-H., Ding, Y.-Z., Wu, W. and Huang, S. 2004. The decline of the Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus and implications for its conservation. Oryx: 197-202.

Ye, C.-Y, Fei, L. and Hu, S.Q. 1993. Rare and Economic Amphibians of China. Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology, Chengdu.

Zhang, K.-J., Wang, X.-M., Wu, W., Wang, Z.-H. and Huang, S. 2002. Advances in conservation biology of Chinese giant salamander. Biodiversity Science: 291-297.

Zhao, E.-M. 1998. China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals - Amphibia. Science Press, Beijing.

Citation: Liang Gang, Geng Baorong, Zhao Ermi. 2004. Andrias davidianus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T1272A3375181. . Downloaded on 10 October 2015.
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