It is the second-largest salamander globally, belonging to the species Cryptobranchus japonicus, and is native to clear, fast-flowing rivers in Japan.
It undergoes a unique larval phase, retaining external gills even as it grows, making it easily distinguishable from other amphibians during this aquatic stage.
It is a nocturnal predator, equipped with keen senses of smell and touch, preying on fish, insects, and even small mammals with its powerful jaws.
It boasts a lengthy lifespan of up to 80 years, making it one of the longest-living amphibians.
During the breeding season, males emit distinctive vocalizations and engage in elaborate courtship rituals, involving head movements and tail fanning, to attract females.
It is listed as "near threatened" on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss, pollution, and human disturbance.
It holds cultural significance in Japanese mythology, often depicted as a mythical creature called "Sanshōuo," believed to possess supernatural powers and serve as a guardian of water sources.