The scientific name of the emperor newt (Tylototriton shanjing) is derived from two Mandarin words, “shan” meaning mountain and “jing” meaning spirit or demon. This brightly coloured amphibian has rough skin, and distinctive bony ridges on the sides and top of its head (3).
While the background colour of the emperor newt is a dark brownish-black, this species is easily identified by its bright yellow or orange markings, notably on its head, on the ridge along its spine ridge, and on the warts along its sides. Its tail and limbs are also a yellow-orange colour, and the markings are the same in both sexes (2) (3).
Until 1995, the emperor newt was considered to be the same species as the Himalayan newt Tylototriton verrucosus (4). The separation of these two species was based mostly upon the emperor newt’s striking colouration, in comparison to the uniform brown colour of the Himalayan newt (2).
- Length: up to 140 mm (2)