The Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) is endemic to Japan, where it is known as Ōsanshōuo (オオサンショウウオ/大山椒魚?). With a length of up to almost 1.5 meters (5 ft), it is the second largest salamander in the world, only being surpassed by the very similar and closely related Chinese giant salamander (A. davidianus). It is considered near threatened by IUCN, and is included on CITES. It can be found on the islands of Kyushu, Honshu, Shikoku in Japan.
Giant salamanders, some growing up to 5-feet in length, face a barrier of dams in Japan, built to control flooding. Now it’s hoped a new system will help these giant amphibians get upstream past the dams to lay their eggs and help them make a comeback.
When irritated or grasped, they produce a milky, sticky secretion that smells like Japanese peppers, hence the name Ōsanshōuo or Pepperfish.