Hong Kong warty newt
|Hong Kong warty newt|
(Myers and Leviton, 1962)
The Hong Kong warty newt or Hong Kong newt (Paramesotriton hongkongensis, see also the synonyms) is the only species of salamander (also known as the "tailed amphibian"), found in Hong Kong. Once thought to be endemic to the territory, the species has also been found in the coastal parts of Guangdong Province.
The newt is treated by some naturalists as a subspecies of Paramesotriton chinensis. However, some disagree with such a classification based on the disjunctive distribution of the two, and the differences in their physical appearance and habitat preference.
The snout-to-tail length of the newt is about 11 to 15 cm. Its body colour ranges from light to dark brown, with patches of orange markings scattered on the ventral side. The patterns of the patches are unique for each individual, resembling the fingerprints of humans. Small granules can be found throughout the body. A mid-dorsal skin ridge extends backwards from the neck through the anterior third of the tail. Two dorsolateral folds are also present.
The head is roughly triangular. The eyes have horizontal pupils. The tail is thin and flattened, with a thin, red stripe along the ventral border. The four legs are similar in size. Four and five unwebbed digits can be found at the anterior and posterior limbs, respectively.
When threatened, it releases a toxic secretion and may also feign death, rolling onto its back and exposing its brightly coloured belly.
In the breeding season, the male displays by beating its tail, which develops a white or bluish stripe which is visible in dim light. Sperm is transferred to the female in a spermatophore. eggs are laid singly and are wrapped in leaves.
- Stephen J. Karsen, Michael Wai-neng Lau and Anthony Bogadek, Hong Kong amphibians and reptiles, 2nd ed., Hong Kong: Provisional Urban Council, 1998, ISBN 962-7849-05-7.
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