Chinese Giant Salamander:
There are only three living species of giant salamander in the family Cryptobranchidae, the Chinese giant salamander, the Japanese giant salamander, and the American hellbender. The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest living species of amphibian. Its scientific name is Andrias davidianus. It can reach up to 1.8 meters in length and lives in rocky, mountain lakes and streams, feeds on fish and crustaceans. The breeding season occurs between August and September when a string of approximately 500 eggs laid by female in a burrow are guarded by the male until they hatch. Belonging to Kingdom Animalia and Phylum Chordata; this species of Class Amphibia is threatened by over-harvesting for the food trade, interbreeding with escaped farmed salamanders, as well as the destruction and degradation of its habitat. It is now Critically Endangered, having undergone a massive population decline over the last 30 years.
The Chinese Giant Salamander is fully aquatic with many adaptations for aquatic life style. It lacks gills; but has rough, wrinkled, porous skin through which it absorbs oxygen. Chinese Giant Salamander has poor eyesight because of tiny eyes, but great sense of smell. It has dark brown, black or greenish skin which is irregularly blotched. Chinese Giant Salamander has two pair of legs which are almost same in size. Its tail is longer and broader than related Japanese giant salamander. The tail is almost 60% of the total body length. Individuals of 115 cm weigh over 11 kg.
Chinese giant salamanders occupy underwater hollows and cavities, and spend their whole lives in water. It is widespread in central, south-western and southern China. Its meat is considered to be a delicacy in China. People fondly eat it at lavish feasts. This is why, it is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of an observed drastic population decline, due to over-exploitation.