New Salamander Species Discovered in Japan

August 28, 2017

Researchers have discovered a new species of salamander hailing from the eastern part of the country’s Aichi Prefecture in central Japan.

The researchers, led by biologists with Kyoto University said that the salamander, known as the Mikawa salamander (Hynobius mikawaensis), has such a small range that they immediately recommend consideration measures to ensure the survival of the amphibian.

According to Kyodo News, the Mikawa salamander is the first new salamander species discovered in Japan since 1987 known to breed in “standing or slowly flowing waters.”

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It is the 29th species of the family Hynobiidae that is found throughout the Japanese islands. 

Masafumi Matsui, the report's lead author and Kyoto University emeritus professor told the Kyodo News that the salamander contributes to the understanding of Japan’s geographical history and asked local government officials to protect the species. The Aichi prefectural government has already classified  the salamander  as critically endangered on its Red List of species. 

"The species is known from very limited range, and would be easily extinguished by environmental modification and overhunting by pet dealers," Matsui told Kyodo News.

An abstract of the paper describing the new species can be found on the Current Biology website

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