It is a species that
prefers cool woodlands in the vicinity of
slow-moving water. Therefore it is only
found on the highest mountains of Thailand,
such as Doi Chiang Dao.
Because of its popularity
as a pet it was nearly extint in Thailand.
In 1992 alone nearly 10,000 were exported
from Thailand. Since then strict laws limiting
the collection of this and other amphibians
have come into force.
This species looks
a bit funny with its startling colouration
on back and tail. Not exactly a good camouflage
against predation, you would think. However
the shifting reflection of light against
the pebbly beds in the water gives it some
protection when it baths freely in the open
during the day. This phenomenon is known
as cryptic colouring (ie. the colours are
broken up so that they merge with the colours
of the pebbles).
And it has some extra protection.
The skin contains some rather distasteful
and potentially harmful alkaloids. In addition
the skull and upper vertebrae are heavily
armoured with additional layers of thick
bone which serves to deter predators. (These
have even evolved into spines in 2 other
members of the genus.)
This appearance of
wearing a decorate crown of a Chinese emperor,
gave it names as Emperor or Mandarin salamander.
Still, some snakes (Natrix)
and birds of prey find it very tasteful
and have no problems with these defences.
Perhaps therefore the salamander lives mainly
The Orange-striped newt
occurs - as the Bhutan Glory and the Thai
Mountain Fan Palm - in the Himalayan subregion,
which includes parts of India, Nepal, China
(also called Crocodile newts) are among
the most primitive members of the family
Salamandridae. During the Tertiary they
were widely dispersed even in Europe.