My name is Zhou Feng and I come from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. I am really looking forward to starting my EDGE Fellowship and helping to research and conserve Chinese giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus) – one of the EDGE of Existence programme’s highest priority amphibian species.
Currently, I am working in a Sino-UK laboratory for Chinese giant salamander conservation research at Shaanxi Normal University. I have recently completed an MSc in developmental biology at Shaanxi Normal University.
The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest salamander and largest amphibian in the world. It can reach a length of 180cm. It has a large head, small eyes and dark and wrinkly skin. It is one of only two extant species in the genus Andrias, the other being the slightly smaller but otherwise very similar Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus). Some Chinese giant salamander have very beautiful colours and patterns, as you can see from the below picture that I took of some captive specimens.
My EDGE Fellowship project will focus on collecting sick Chinese giant salamanders and diagnosing their pathogens. My hope is that this research will help mitigate threats to the Chinese giant salamander and therefore benefit the long-term conservation of this evolutionarily distinct and Critically Endangered species.