The Cryptobranchoidea are a suborder of salamanders found in Asia, European Russia, and the United States. They are known as primitive salamanders, in contrast to Salamandroidea, or advanced salamanders.[1] It has two living subdivisions, Cryptobranchidae, which includes Asian giant salamanders and hellbenders, and Hynobiidae, commonly known as Asian salamanders.

Temporal range:
Middle Jurassic - PresentBathonian–Present
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis.jpg
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Suborder: Cryptobranchoidea
Dunn, 1922

Some species of the fully aquatic family Cryptobranchidae are known as giant salamanders due to their large size.

The oldest members of the group are known from the Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) aged Yanliao Biota of China.[2]


This suborder contains only two families at present. All other members are extinct and are only known as fossils.


  1. ^ Heying, Heather. "ADW:Family Cryptobranchidae: giant salamanders and hellbenders".
  2. ^ a b Jia, Jia; Anderson, Jason S.; Gao, Ke-Qin (2021-07-23). "Middle Jurassic stem hynobiids from China shed light on the evolution of basal salamanders". iScience. 24 (7). doi:10.1016/j.isci.2021.102744. ISSN 2589-0042.
  3. ^ "Revision of Chunerpeton tianyiense (Lissamphibia, Caudata): Is it a cryptobranchid salamander?". Palaeoworld. 2020-12-08. doi:10.1016/j.palwor.2020.12.001. ISSN 1871-174X.