Monday, May 30, 2005

Animal of the Week May 30, 2005 -- Giant salamander

Dear Zoophiles (not in the dirty sense, I hope none of you are like that),

Apologies for the delay, I hope that those who had one had a good bank holiday.

This week we are back in China, but contrary to the case of Gigantopithecus blackii, we are in the present day this time with Andrias davidianus (Chinese giant salamander). I didn't realise it until after I chose this that I have probably been subconciously influenced by my sister who is currently in the region of China and does not remind me of a salamander but has told me about all the giant things she has seen their (river, dam, panda, Buddha). Chinese giant salamander's probably wont be on my sister's sightseeing list, but they should be. These are the biggest of all the living amphibians and grow up to 1.8 m in length. This one is 1.2 m; which gives you some idea of how big the men are! The salamander is in the middle of the picture being held by the two men who rescued it from a road. I would post the news story where I lifted this from but am maddened by the translator's insistence on refering to the Chinese giant salamander as a "reptile". The picture comes from a paper called the Daily Sunshine, which sounds like the kind of paper I could get in to, if only they'd get their taxonomy right! Salamanders are not reptiles! One might reasonably argue that reptiles, mammals, and birds are amphibians but that's a lesson in systematics none of us wants to go through.


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