Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Emperor newt

By MSA 2005 Map showing mountain forests habitats in Southern China


Class Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae
Genus and species: Tylototriton shanjing

The emperor newt is black with several orange bumps down its back and a solid orange tail. These orange bumps are actually glands filled with a potent poison. If the newt is caught by a predator, the pressure will cause the glands to discharge the toxic liquid.

Emperor newts spend their time lounging on rocks or in the water, though they are not particularly adept at swimming.

In the wild, insects make up the majority of the emperor newt's diet.

Fertilization is external and generally takes place in the water with male emperor newts depositing spermatophores and then dragging the females across them. Females will lay their eggs a couple of weeks later, attached to partially submerged rocks. She usually lays between 40 and 60 eggs at a time. Emperor newt larvae need only ten to 18 days in the egg. After they hatch, it takes an additional 100 to 150 days for the young to completely metamorphose into juvenile newts.

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