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The USA is still yielding lots of new extant tetrapod species

The USA is still yielding lots of new extant tetrapod species


ResearchBlogging.org The naming of new amphibian species is a reasonably routine factor. This does not imply that – regardless of the world amphibian disaster – amphibians are literally okay and that we are able to cease worrying; it implies that we’ve not been paying sufficient consideration, and certainly many of the species which are being named anew are endangered, or threatened, or with tiny ranges.

The present version of Journal of Zoology contains the outline of a new plethodontid salamander (aka lungless salamander): the Patch-nosed salamander Urspelerpes brucei Camp et al., 2009. The massive deal about this totally new species is that it is from the Appalachian foothills of Georgia, USA.

Genetic information reveal that the Patch-nosed salamander is extremely distinct relative to different taxa (it is most intently associated to Eurycea, the American brook salamanders), but it surely’s additionally uncommon in exhibiting apparent sexual dimorphism in pigmentation: females are brownish and somewhat plain, whereas males have a pair of darkish stripes operating alongside their sides and are yellowish on the dorsal floor [see photo below, by T. Lamb]. Both sexes possess the yellow nostril patch. Males are additionally reported to have one much less vertebra than females. However, whereas dimension dimorphism is frequent in plethodontids, male and females of the Patch-nosed salamander are comparable in dimension.

It’s additionally morphologically uncommon in having 5 (somewhat than 4) toes. So far, little or no (learn: basically nothing) is recognized of its behaviour and life-style (Camp et al. 2009).


New plethodontid species are found pretty often, particularly in South Central America: 4 have been named to this point in 2009 (Sierra de las Minas hidden salamander Cryptotriton sierraminensis from Guatemala, Bolitoglossa cataguana from Honduras, Robinson’s web-footed salamander B. robinsoni and the Pygmy web-footed salamander B. pygmaea from the Costa Rica-Panamá border area).


However, the USA has revealed a fairly spectacular checklist of new plethodontids too. A plethodontid from the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California was named in 1996 (the San Gabriel slender salamander Batrachoseps gabrieli Wake, 1996), whereas the Hell Hollow slender salamander B. diabolicus Jockusch et al., 1998, Gregarious slender salamander B. gregarius Jockusch et al., 1998 and Kings River slender salamander B. regius Jockusch et al., 1998 had been all described from the Sierra Nevada in 1998. 1998 additionally noticed the outline of the Sequioa slender salamander B. kawia Jockusch et al., 1998 from California’s Tulare County. The Wandering salamander Aneides vagrans Wake & Jackman, 1999 from California was recognised as distinct relative to the Rusty salamander A. ferreus in 1999. The Gabilan Mountains slender salamander B. gavilanensis Jockusch et al., 2001 was first reported from San Benito County in California in 2001, and the San Simeon slender salamander B. incognitus Jockusch et al., 2001 was described from the Californian Santa Lucia Mountains in the identical 12 months [California slender salamander B. attenuatus proven right here, from wikipedia. Not a new species: named in 1833].

Another plethodontid collected from Tulare County, California, in 1991 (although with an initially misidentified member of the species having been reported in 1973), proved to be yet one more new species (the Kern Plateau salamander Batrachoseps robustus Wake et al., 2002), and the Santa Lucia Mountains additionally yielded each the San Lucia Mountains slender salamander B. luciae Jockusch et al., 2001 and the Lesser slender salamander B. minor Jockusch et al., 2001. Five plethodontids belonging to Eurycea, the Barton Springs salamander E. sosorum Chippindale et al., 1993, the Jollyville Plateau salamander E. tonkawae Chippindale et al., 2000, the Salado salamander Eurycea chisholmensis Chippindale et al., 2000, the Georgetown salamander E. naufragua Chippindale et al., 2000 and the Austin blind salamander E. waterlooensis Hillis et al., 2001, have all been described from Texas since 1993. Chamberlain’s dwarf salamander Eurycea chamberlaini Harrison & Guttman, 2003 was described from South Carolina in 2003 (it was not technically new, because the populations raised to species standing had beforehand been recognized as belonging to E. quadridigitata), and was later reported from Georgia and Alabama. The Cumberland dusky salamander Desmognathus abditus Anderson & Tilley, 2003 was found in Tennessee and the Dwarf black-bellied salamander D. folkertsi Camp et al., 2002 was described from Georgia (and later found in North Carolina).

The Scottbar salamander Plethodon asupak Mead et al., 2005 is yet one more just lately named Californian plethodontid; each the South Mountain grey-cheeked salamander P. meridianus Highton & Peabody, 2000 and Cheoah Bald salamander P. cheoah Highton & Peabody, 2000 are from North Carolina whereas the Big Levels salamander B. sherando Highton, 2004 is from Virginia.

And this is removed from an entire checklist… I believe you get the purpose. All very effectively and good, however these are species: essentially the most just lately named new genus from the USA is the Red Hills salamander Phaeognathus hubrichti, named in 1961: greater than 4 many years in the past. In that it is apparently not half of any of the clades presently thought to be genera, the Patch-nosed salamander is therefore fairly an necessary taxon: it represents a wholly new, hitherto unknown lineage [Patch-nosed salamander below, photo by T. Lamb].


Ok, the Patch-nosed salamander is likely to be tiny (it is lower than 6 cm lengthy), however the truth that the USA continues to yield new taxa even now signifies that one of essentially the most superior nations on this planet still has quite a bit to supply. Indeed, you would possibly use discoveries like this to argue that the fauna of the USA – even its tetrapod fauna – still has but to be totally documented (and a few have made this very argument). Then once more, it won’t be honest to single out the USA on this vogue. Here in Europe – the place you would possibly say we now have a slight historic benefit in phrases of scientific exploration – there are totally new animals too, just like the Black olm Proteus anguinus parkelj Sket & Arntzen, 1994… although this is, ostensibly, ‘simply’ a new subspecies and never a genus… and it is one of solely a handful of post-1990 discoveries (evaluate that with the greater than 20 new American plethodontids listed above).

And, sure, the Patch-nosed salamander is described as being of instant conservation concern.

For extra on plethodontids see…

Ref – – Camp, C., Peterman, W., Milanovich, J., Lamb, T., Maerz, J., & Wake, D. (2009). A new genus and species of lungless salamander (household Plethodontidae) from the Appalachian highlands of the south-eastern United States Journal of Zoology, 279 (1), 86-94 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00593.x

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