Cynops Tschudi, 1838

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Salamandridae > Subfamily: Pleurodelinae > Genus: Cynops
9 species

Cynops Tschudi, 1838, Classif. Batr.: 94. Type species: Salamandra subcristatus Temminck and Schlegel, 1838 (= Molge pyrrhogaster H. Boie, 1826), by monotypy.

Hypselotriton Wolterstorff, 1934, Zool. Anz., 108: 257. Type species: Molge wolterstorffi Boulenger, 1905, by original designation. Synonymy by Zhao and Hu, 1984, Stud. Chinese Tailed Amph.: 21; Fei and Ye, 2016, Amph. China, 1: 391–392.

Cynotriton Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2011, Alytes, 27: 152. Type species: Triton (Cynops) orientalis David, 1875, by original designation. Coined as a subgenus of Hypselotriton

English Names

Firebelly Newts (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 35).


China (southern Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangxi, southern Hubei, Henan, Hunan, Yunnan, and Guizhou provinces); Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu, and Ryukyu Is., Japan. 


Japanese species discussed (as Triturus) by Sato, 1943, Monogr. Tailed Batr. Japan: 358–388, and Hayashi and Matsui, 1988, Zool. Sci., Tokyo, 5: 1121–1136. See also Freytag, 1962, Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berlin, 38: 451–459. Zhao and Hu, 1984, Stud. Chinese Tailed Amph.: 21–22, and Zhao, Hu, Jiang, and Yang, 1988, Studies on Chinese Salamanders: 18–19 (English translation), recognized three species groups: Cynops pyrrhogaster group (Cynops pyrrhogaster and Cynops ensicauda), Cynops orientalis group (Cynops orientalis), and Cynops wolterstorffi group (Cynops wolterstorffi and Cynops cyanurus), of which the latter two groups were subsequently assigned to Hypselotriton. Chan, Zamudio, and Wake, 2001, Copeia, 2001: 997–1009, presented evidence that Cynops (in the sense of including Hypselotriton) is paraphyletic with respect to Pachytriton and Paramesotriton, with Cynops pyrrhogaster closest to these taxa. Weisrock, Papenfuss, Macey, Litvinchuk, Polymeni, Uğurtaş, Zhao, Jowkar, and Larson, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 41: 855–857, found Cynops (sensu lato) in a monophyletic group with Pachytriton and Paramesotriton. Steinfartz, Vicario, Arntzen, and Caccone, 2007, J. Exp. Zool., 308B: 139–142, suggested that Cynops (sensu lato) is paraphyletic with respect to Paramesotriton and Pachytriton. Hypselotriton was removed from the synonymy of Cynops by Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 31–32, 45 (who revised the group), where it had been placed by Zhao and Hu, 1984, Stud. Chinese Tailed Amph.: 21, although previously the synonymy of Cynops and Hypselotriton was not accepted by Ye, Fei, and Hu, 1993, Rare and Economic Amph. China 104, without discussion. Scholz, 1995, Acta Biol. Benrodis, 7: 25–75, treated Hypselotriton as a subgenus of Cynops. Fei, Ye, Huang, Jiang, and Xie, 2005, in Fei et al. (eds.), Illust. Key Chinese Amph.: 47–48, provided a key to Chinese species (as Cynops). See comment under Pachytriton. On the basis of 1.2 kb of mtDNA Wu, Wang, Jiang, and Hanken, 2010, Zootaxa, 2346: 42–52, did not resolve a monophyletic Cynops (sensu Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 1–85; the Japanese species of Cynops, sensu lato) with respect to Hypselotriton (the Chinese species of Cynops, sensu lato) and on that basis chose to retain Hypselotriton as a synonym of Cynops. Nevertheless, studies based on larger amounts of similar sequence data and only marginally lower taxon sampling (e.g., Zhang, Papenfuss, Wake, Qu, and Wake, 2008, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 49: 586–597) or substantially different molecular data sets (e.g., Weisrock, Papenfuss, Macey, Litvinchuk, Polymeni, Uğurtaş, Zhao, Jowkar, and Larson, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 41: 855–857) did find a monophyletic Cynops (sensu sricto), this confirmed by Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, who constructed a tree of legacy DNA sequences that is consistent with the monophyly of Cynops (sensu stricto) and Hypselotriton as well as them being sister taxa and therefore consistent with either a one-genus or two-genus arrangement. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 154–157, provided brief accounts, photographs, and range maps for the species of nominal HypselotritonSparreboom, 2014, Salamanders Old World: 180–198, reviewed the biology, characteristics, distribution, reproduction, and conservation of the species. Fei and Ye, 2016, Amph. China, 1: 391–418, provided accounts and a key to the species of China and argued against the separation of Cynops and Hypselotriton but also (p. 413) recognized Hypselotriton wolterstorffi in Hypselotriton, a generic arrangement that is seemingly inconsistent with the phylogeny as currently understood. However, given that the preponderance of usage is now to place all of the species of Cynops and Hypselotriton into Cynops, I follow that arrangement here (DRF). Rancilhac, Irisarri, Angelini, Arntzen, Babik, Bossuyt, Künzel, Lüddecke, Pasmans, Sanchez, Weisrock, Veith, Wielstra, Steinfartz, Hofreiter, Philippe, and Vences, 2021, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 155 (106967): 1–14, presented molecular evidence that Cynops is paraphyletic with respect to Paramesotriton + Pachytriton.  Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 409, resurrected Hypselotriton from the synonymy of (or subgenus) under) Cynops. Given that Rancihlac et al. (2021) provided more data but fewer terminals for their topology of Cynops paraphyly to Hypselotriton, and Dubois et al. (2021) provided more terminals, it is unclear what the status of Hypselotriton is. DRF awaits further study of the problem.

Contained taxa (9 sp.):

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