This animal looks like earthworm at first glance. The eyes are minute, without lids, and are buried below the skin. The animals have a sensory tentacle between the eye and nostril on each side of the body. Along the length of the body there are about 360 cutaneous ring-like folds. The body coloration is brownish-black above, with a yellow, longitudinal band on each side running down the length of the body. The larvae are completely aquatic and have a short tail with a thin laterally compressed fin that extends from the body of the tail dorsally; it curves ventrally around the tip of the tail. The larvae have what appears to be a gill slit, called the gill spiraculum--a small chamber that encompasses the area where three gills are attached. There is a lateral line on both sides of the head and neck that serves as a sense organ for water movements.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: China
The range encompasses parts of China [Yingjiang, Xishuang Banna (Jinghong, Mengla), southern Yunnan; southern Guangxi and southern Guangdong)] as well as Vietnam.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species has an aquatic larval stage and a terrestrial adult phase. The adults Inhabit loose soil along small mountain streams with abundant plant cover, also seen along moist shores beside pools or rice-fields. During April to May females deposit about 30 eggs in a depression they dig close to water. Soon after hatching, the larvae make their way into the water where they feed on algae or plankton. Later in their development, they feed on aquaticinvertebrates. Metamorphosis is completed at a total length of 180mm. In captivity adults feed exclusively on earthworms.
Trends and Threats
Populations appear to be at high risk as they have declined rather quickly because of human activities including cultivationof the land, destruction of forest, and pollution, but there is little published data available to support these hypotheses.
Please note that the map we provide only covers distributions in China, but they also occur in Vietnam.
Written by Yuezhao Wang (arcib AT mail.cib.ac.cn), Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
First submitted 1999-11-02
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on
amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2016. Berkeley, California:
(Accessed: May 3, 2016).
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