Species Overview

The Family Cryptobranchidae contains the largest of all the worlds' salamanders. It only consists of two different genera, Andrias and Cryptobranchus. Andrias having two species, the Chinese Giant Salamander, Andrias davidianus and the Japanese Giant Salamander, Andrias japonicus, both found in small-restricted areas of Asia. The Cryptobranchus genus encompasses one species, the Hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, which is found in the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains in the eastern United States.



Japanese Giant Salamander   Chinese Giant Salamander
(pink variation)

Cryptobranchids have steadily declined over much of their range and are under considerable pressures in the wild. To make matters worse, little to no natural history information exists for these unique animals to aid in their conservation. The Cryptobranchid Interest Group (CIG) has been formed and is supported by the Amphibian Taxon Advisory Group (ATAG) of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). CIG's fundamental goal is to work towards the conservation of Cryptobranchids through cooperative program building, in-situ and ex-situ research, information exchange and increasing public and political awareness. A fund has already been established to support on going field research projects for the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders as well as North America's Hellbender, but we need your help!