Cynops orientalis
(Oriental Fire-bellied Newt)
Amphibians-Salamanders
Exotic
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Cynops orientalis (David, 1873)

Common name: Oriental Fire-bellied Newt

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Native Range: Cynops orientalis is distributed widely in China in the lower reach of the Yangtze River and adjacent area, including Henan, Hubei, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Fujian Provinces (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

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Nonindigenous Occurrences: Four collections of single individuals in Broward County, Florida: one on June 4, 2009; the second on August 22, 2009; the third on June 21, 2010; and the fourth on July 3, 2010 (UF 157033, UF 157946, UF 158946). A fifth specimen was collected in Sumter County, Florida, in July 2010 (UF 158927) (Krysko et al. 2011).

Ecology: Found in low- and middle-elevation foothills ranging from 30 to 1,000 m above sea level, associated with bodies of still water. The species inhabits still ponds, rice terraces, or ditches in forest and degraded habitats. The substrate often is muddy. Flourishing aquatic vegetation makes good habitat for hiding and oviposition (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

In Zhengjiang Province, China, where the winter is mild, this newt does not hibernate and can be found all year around. In other populations, individuals stay under water or in crevices on the ground over winter (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

The breeding season begins in March and ends in July, with a peak from late April to middle May. The suitable water temperature is 15–23 °C (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012). The female lays a single egg (or 2–4 eggs) on the ventral surface of aquatic leaf 2–10 centimeters below the water. She may fold the leaf with her legs to conceal the egg. Most eggs are laid during night. A single female can lay around 100 eggs in 1 breeding season. The eggs hatch in 13–24 days. Males and females leave the breeding water from July to September. The annual male to female ratio is 2.3:1 (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012; Yang and Shen 1993 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012; Encyclopedia of Life, 2012a).

Cynops orientalis feeds on small aquatic animals such as worms and insect larvae (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

Means of Introduction: Pet trade. Oriental Fire-bellied Newts are one of the most commonly found species in the pet trade due to extensive collection from the wild, where hundreds of thousands of individuals are collected annually. Cynops orientalis commonly is used either for educational purposes or as research material (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

Status: The status of this species is unknown.  However, the fact that multiple specimens have been collected from the same area indicates that it may be reproducing.

Impact of Introduction: Unknown. Oriental Fire-bellied Newts are mildly poisonous and excrete toxins through their skin. Consisting primarily of tetrodotoxins, newts of the genus Cynops pose a medically significant threat if enough toxins are consumed (Brodie et al. 1974).

Remarks: The animals are sold by the thousands in pet markets in China and Europe. This species is used for educational and research purposes; in traditional Chinese medicine it is used to cure skin itching or burning (Fei et al. 2006 in AmphibiaWeb, 2012).

References: (click for full references)

AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. 2012. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available from: http://amphibiaweb.org/.

Brodie, E.D., Jr., J.L. Hensel and J.A. Johnson. 1974. Toxicity of the urodele amphibians Taricha, Notophthalmus, Cynops, and Paramesotriton (Salamandridae). Copeia 1974:506–511.

Fei, L., S. Hu, C. Ye, and Y. Huang. 2006. Fauna Sinica, Amphia, Vol. 1 Science Press, Bejing. (in Chinese)

Krysko, K.L. and 12 others. 2011. Verified non-indigenous amphibians and reptiles in Florida from 1863 through 2010: Outlining the invasion process and identifying invasion pathways and stages. Zootaxa 3028:1-64.

Yang, D., and Y. Shen. 1993. Studies on the breeding ecology of Cynops orientalis. Zoological Research 14:215-220.

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 8/2/2013

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2017, Cynops orientalis (David, 1873): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2861, Revision Date: 8/2/2013, Access Date: 11/20/2017

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2017]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [11/20/2017].

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