Spotted paddle-tail newt
|Spotted paddle-tail newt|
The spotted paddle-tail newt (Pachytriton brevipes) is an amphibian native to southeastern China; it was named in 1876. A member of the family Salamandridae, it is closely related to the spotless paddle-tail newt (Pachytriton labiatus). The spotted paddle-tail newt lives in streams and is characterized by its long, paddle-shaped tail used for propulsion.
Pachytriton species are stout-bodied, smooth-skinned aquatic newts. Their heads are large and flattened, and they have conspicuous labial folds and short, stubby legs and toes. They breathe through both lungs and skin.
The two Pachytriton species are P. brevipes and P. labiatus. Average adult length (nose to tail) for both species is 6-7 in (15-18 cm). P. brevipes is the larger of the two, ranging from 5.5 to 7.5 in as an adult. It also has more prominent labial folds and longer digits than those of P. labiata. Both species have smooth skin, which differs from the tuberculate skin typical of newts.
The most striking difference between the two species is color. The head, back, and tail of P. brevipes range in color from light brown to a dark chocolate brown and are covered in dark spots. The underbelly color varies considerably, from a very light brown to a solid black. Breeding males may develop bluish-white spots on the tail.
Pachytriton spp. are known for their aggressive and territorial behavior. This behavior is seen mainly in males, but occasionally in females, as well.
P. brevipes is an aggressive hunter and feeder. It is carnivorous and will eat worms, insects, and small fish.
The breeding behavior of P. brevipes is unknown.
P. brevipes is native to the freshwater streams of southeastern China, and it thrives in cool, clean water high in oxygen. Current distribution is shrinking, most likely due to pollution and human encroachment on habitat. It is almost exclusively aquatic, though it will leave the water if bullied by a more aggressive individual.