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Species of the Week
Andrias japonicus | Japanese Giant Salamander

Amphibian News
Giant salamanders (Andrias in east Asia, Cryptobranchus in east North America) are remnants of an ancient lineage. Thanks to new field studies of the Japanese species (A. japonicus), we now know that males provide parental care, and for a very long period of time. Males actively seek burrows in stream banks that might serve as sites for mating and nesting. Females enter the burrow, occupied by a "den master" male and mating and external fertilization of the eggs takes place. The den master then provides parental care (tail fanning, agitation of eggs, and hygienic filial cannibalism of unfertilized eggs, or dead or dying embryos and larvae and other specialized behaviors) (Takahashi et al. 2016). Such behavior occurs over a long time period, up to seven months. The study adds substantial new information concerning egg deposition and parental care in nature, and will be critical for attempts to improve habitat and other recovery attempts for these amazing animals.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,616 (Jan 19, 2017) Newly added species