This species is so far known only from northern Vietnam (Böhme et al., 2005). There are confirmed records from the following localities: the vicinity of Dong Vanh Village, Luc Son Commune, Luc Nam District, Bac Giang Province at 250-300m asl (21°12' N, 106°40' E) (Böhme et al., 2005); Quang Thanh Commune (22°38' N, 105°55' E) and Thank Cong Commune (22°48' N, 105°44' E), both of these being in Nguyen Binh District, Cao Bang Province (Böhme et al., 2005); Mau Son Mountain in Lang Son province at 900-1,000m asl (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.); and Xuan Son National Park in Phu Tho Province (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). Records from and Pu Hoat Forest, Dong Van Commune, Que Phong District, Nghe An Province were attributed to Tylototriton vietnamensis (Böhme et al., 2005), but genetic studies have since shown that these belong to another species (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). Specimens from Nam Tha Commune (21°55' N, 104°22' E, 850m a.s.l.), in Van Ban District, Lao Cai Province and from Tay Con Linh Mountain (22°45’ N, 104°49’ E, 1,700m asl), in Vi Xuyen District, Ha Giang Province exhibit some slight morphological differences from T. vietnamensis (Böhme et al., 2005; Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.), and have been referred to as Tylototriton asperrimus (Bain and Nguyen, 2004), but might belong to an undescribed species (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). The species probably also occurs more widely, including in adjacent southern China (Böhme et al., 2005). Indeed, several Vietnamese records previously referred to as Tylototriton asperrimus (or Echinotriton asperrimus) are likely to refer to T. vietnamensis (Fleck, 2003; Nguyen, et al., 2005).
Habitat and Ecology
This species is probably generally associated with forest, and specimens have been found in ponds within dense bamboo vegetation in secondary forest (Böhme et al., 2005). Although it can tolerate disturbed forest, the species is dependent on small, muddy ponds in the shadow of trees, and so it probably cannot tolerate serious deforestation (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). Mating and reproduction presumably take place in water during the rainy season, with the adults living on land at other times of year.
It appears to be an uncommon species (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.).
The main threat to this species is habitat degradation (especially in Bac Giang and Lang Son provinces) resulting from agricultural encroachment and logging (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). Collecting for the pet trade or traditional medicine are probably not serious problems at the present time (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.).
It has been recorded in the Tay Yen Tu Nature Reserve and Xuan Son National Park (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). The Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, the Bac Giang and Lang Son Forest Protection Departments, and Cologne Zoo are collaborating on an ex-situ conservation program starting in 2008 (Nguyen Quang Truong pers. comm.). Surveys are needed to determine its geographic range, abundance, ecological requirements, threats and conservation needs.
Results of the phylogenetic analysis by Weisrock et al. (2006) showed that the Chinese Hainan Island species Tylototriton hainanensis is grouped in a strongly supported clade with T. vietnamensis.
Nguyen Quang Truong 2008. Tylototriton vietnamensis. In: IUCN 2014