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Giant Salamander

From Academic Kids

Giant Salamanders
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Lissamphibia
Order:Caudata
Family:Cryptobranchidae
Genera

  Andrias
  Cryptobranchus

The Giant Salamanders (Cryptobranchidae) are aquatic amphibians found in brooks and ponds in Japan, China and with a similar specimen in the United States. The Japanese Giant Salamander reaches 5 feet and feeds on fish and crustaceans.

During mating season, these salamanders will travel upstream where, after the fertilization of the eggs, the male will guard them for at least 6 months. At this point, the offspring will live off their noticeable stored fat until ready to hunt.

The giant salamander has been given a place in mythology. In one particular Asian myth, the salamander, although resembling a typical specimen, it makes its home in fires; the hotter the better. Early travelers to China were shown garments which, or so they were told, had been woven of wool from the salamander: the cloth was completely unharmed by fire. The garments had actually been woven from asbestos.

The Swiss physician Johann Jacob Scheuchzer described in 1726 a fossil as Andrias scheuchzeri (Andrias means "image of man"). He assumed that it was a fossil of a human being that survived the Great Flood, and called it homo diluvii testis (Witness of the Great Flood). The Teylers Museum in Haarlem (the Netherlands) bought the fossil in 1802, where it still is being exhibited. In 1812 the fossil was examined by Georges Cuvier who recognized it as being a Giant Salamander. The name of the genus Andrias was used for the Chinese and Japanese Giant Salamander.

The same species Andrias scheuchzeri plays a main role in Karel Čapek's book War with the Newts.nl:Modderduivels

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