Qilian Mountains Salamander | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Qilian Mountains Salamander | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Qilian Mountains Salamander Overview


The Qilian Mountains salamander is a striking amphibian with a unique appearance. It features a robust body with a rich dark brown or black coloration, often accompanied by a contrasting yellow or orange stripe running down its back.

Its skin is smooth and moist, and it has a moderately long tail. This salamander's body is well-suited for a semi-aquatic lifestyle, and its appearance reflects its adaptation to its high-altitude habitat in the Qilian Mountains.

Origins And Evolution

The Qilian Mountains salamander, scientific name Batrachuperus longdongensis, has evolved over millions of years in the high-altitude region of the Qilian Mountains. Fossil records suggest the presence of its ancestors in ancient aquatic ecosystems.

This species belongs to the family Hynobiidae, a lineage of salamanders known for their unique adaptations to cold, mountainous environments. Over time, they developed features such as strong limbs and a robust body, which helped them navigate the cold, fast-flowing streams of their habitat.

Behavior and Lifestyle

The Qilian Mountains salamander, endemic to its namesake region, leads a primarily aquatic lifestyle. It spends much of its time in the cold, fast-flowing streams and rivers of the Qilian Mountains, where it hunts for small invertebrates and aquatic prey.

These salamanders are well-adapted to their high-altitude habitat, exhibiting strong swimming abilities and the capacity to withstand low temperatures. This secretive and elusive amphibian often seeks refuge in crevices and under rocks during the day.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Urodela
  • Family: Hynobiidae
  • Genus: Batrachuperus
  • Species: longdongensis


  • Qilian Mountains, China
  • High-altitude regions of Gansu Province, China
  • Qinghai Province, China

Fast Facts

  • Name: Qilian Salamander
  • Scientific Name: Liua shihi
  • Habitat: Streams, Mountains
  • Diet: Insects, Larvae
  • Physical Features: Streamlined, Spotted
  • Nocturnal: Partially, Nocturnal
  • Solitary: Amphibious, Territorial
  • Unique Order: Urodela, Hynobiidae
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Conservation Status: Data Deficient
  • Fun Facts: Altitude Dweller, Vulnerable Habitat

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Dark brown
  • Skin Type: Moist, Smooth
  • Top Speed: Slow mover
  • Lifespan: 5-8 years
  • Weight: Light-bodied
  • Length: 6-8 inches
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 2-3 years
  • Age of Weaning: N/A (no parental care)


What is the Qilian Mountains salamander?

The Qilian Mountains salamander is a species of amphibian endemic to the high-altitude streams and rivers of the Qilian Mountains in China.

What does it look like?

It has a dark-colored, streamlined body and external gills, often varying in shades of brown or black.

Where is its natural habitat?

The salamander inhabits cold and fast-flowing streams and rivers in the Qilian Mountains.

What does it eat?

Its diet primarily consists of small invertebrates and aquatic prey found in its stream habitat.

Is it a nocturnal species?

Yes, the Qilian Mountains salamander is primarily nocturnal, becoming active at night.


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