New Salamander Species Discovered in Arkansas

April 21, 2014




University of Tulsa doctoral student Michael Steffen and Kelly Irwin, an Arkansas Game and Fish commission herpetologist were studying the genetic diversity of salamanders in 2011 when they discovered what later turned out to be a new species of salamander in the state's Lake Catherine State Park. What is unique about this particular species, the streambed salamander (Eurycea subfluvicola), is the fact that it does not lose its gills but rather "retains aquatic larval juvenile characteristics into adulthood unlike most other salamanders that lose their gills and metamorphose before adulthood."

 

streambed salamander

Photo courtesy University of Tulsa

Dorsal and ventral images of the female holotype of Eurycea subfluvicola.

 

Steffen further analysis of the single specimen with graduate student Andrea Blair and University of Tulsa Associate Professor of Biological Science Ron Bonnett determined that the salamander was genetically, morphologically and developmentally different from other known species of salamanders. They claim that the amphibian is the most genetically distinct paedomorphic salamander identified and described within the last 70 years. It currently has the smallest known range of any amphibian in the United States.

 

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Their findings are published in the latest Zootaxa journal

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