New Species, Uncategorized

New Siren Species: the Reticulated Siren

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photo by Pierson Hill

A new species of siren was discovered in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle. There were rumors about an undiscovered large, spotted salamander that lived in the area. A few samples of the species was recovered back in the 1970s but people thought they were just bizarre Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). The species was re-discovered by former Herper of the Week, David Steen Ph.D., when he was trapping turtles on a military base in Florida. He noticed that it was different from other sirens he has seen. Steen and other researchers (Sean P Graham, Richard Kline, Crystal Kelehear) performed genetic tests and found it to be its own species. They named it the Reticulated Siren because of its color pattern.

One of the interesting facts about the new Siren is its size. Its a large salamander, with average size of the specimens collected being around a foot long but some were two feet long. It is one of the largest animals discovered in North America in over a hundred years. You are probably wondering how a two foot long salamander hasn’t been discovered until now. Sirens are a fully aquatic species and live in murky waters, making them hard to see. With the discovery of the Reticulated Siren, the Siren Family, Sirenidae, there are now 5 different species but who knows? There could be even more hiding.

You can read the full article here – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207460

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Other Amphibian of the Week

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

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photo by John Cleckler

vulnerable
Common Name: California Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma californiense
Family: Ambystomatidae
Location: United States – California
Size: 8 inches

 

The California Tiger Salamander is a federally listed endangered species and a federally listed threatened species. The salamanders in  Sonoma County and Santa Barbara are endangered while the salamanders in Central Valley are listed as threatened. They are listed mainly because the habitats they call home have been destroyed to make room for farm land and cities. Other threats are invasive American Bullfrogs are known to eat the California Tiger Salamander and mosquitofish, which are used to manager mosquito levels, also eat them.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl)

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photo by wikiuser Pengo

nearthreatened
Common Name: Iberian Ribbed Newt, Spanish Ribbed Newt
Scientific Name: Pleurodeles waltl
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Morocco, Portugal, and Spain
Size: 1 foot

The Iberian Ribbed Newt is a fascinating species of newt. They have the ability to puncture their ribs out of their sides to protect themselves with little damage to themselves. They are able to survive this damage because of their regenerative abilities.  They can also regrow limbs. The Iberian Ribbed Newt has also been to space at least six times. Apparently, they make a good model organism, especially in space.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)

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photo by Henk Wallays

leastconcern
Common Name: Blue Spotted Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma laterale
Family: Ambystomatidae
Location: Canada and USA
US Location: Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont,and Wisconsin
Size: 5 inches

The Blue Spotted Salamander is a beautiful salamander that is found in the Southeastern Canada and Northeastern United States of America. It is a member of the family Ambystomatidae which is known as the Mole Salamanders. They received this nickname due to the fact that they spend most of their life in burrows in the ground. The Blue Spotted Salamander does come out of these burrows in the spring when it is time to mate. They migrate to ponds to breed where they can lay as many as 200 eggs. It takes around a month for the eggs to hatch and then it takes the rest of the summer for them to finalize their metamorphism. Then they head onto land, only to return back to a pond in a few years to breed.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Northern Spectacled Salamander (Salamandrina perspicillata)

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photo by Luca Tringali

leastconcern
Common Name: Northern Spectacled Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandrina perspicillata
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Italy
Size: 1.3 inches for Snout to Vent, 3.3 inches for Total Length

The Northern and Southern Spectacled Salamander used to be only one species until they were split in 2005 due to genetics. The Northern Spectacled Salamander lives in the northern and central parts of Italy while the Southern Spectacled Salamander lives in the southern part of Italy.

The Northern Spectacled Salamander is a terrestrial species of salamander that is active during the night. They can live up to 15 years. When a predator approaches the salamander, they curl into a ring to show off their red bellies. This shows off that they are not good to eat.

 

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

photo by photo by V31S70

nearthreatened
Common Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: Japan
Size: around 5 feet long

The Japanese Giant Salamander is the 2nd largest salamander in the world. It can reach around 5 feet long and can reach over 50 pounds. The salamander can live over 50 years old. The habitat of the Japanese Giant Salamander is threatened by dams and other projects so their numbers are dropping.

Spawning takes place during early fall. It can take 10 years for salamanders to reach reproductive maturity. Male Japanese Giant Salamanders try to find the best nesting sites and then will sit and protect them from other males. Females select the best nesting sites for their eggs and lay them there. The females can lay between 400 to 600 eggs at a time. The male then protects the eggs for up to 7 months.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)

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photo by Brian Gratwicke

nearthreatened
Common Name: Green Salamander
Scientific Name: Aneides aeneus
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Location: The United States – Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Maryland
Size: around 5 inches

The Green Salamander is found in the Appalachian Mountains on the Eastern United States. It is the only member of its genus that is found in the Eastern part while the others are found in the West. They like to make their homes in rock crevices on cliffs or other rock outcrops. Males will defend their crevices from other males. Mating takes place in these crevices and the eggs are even laid there. Green Salamanders are direct developing so they don’t need a water source for their tadpoles.

The Green Salamander is listed as endangered in many states (Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, and Mississippi). In other states, they are listed as threatened and protected species. Their preferred habitat is unique and not easily come by which is why they are close to being endangered. We need to protect these interesting salamanders.

New Species

New Amphibians of March 2018

13 new species of amphibians described formally in March with 12 species being frogs and 1 species being a salamander. 1 new genus was also made.

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A new Stout Salamander, Pachytriton airobranchiatus, described from the Lotus Mountain in China.  Read full article here

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Researchers (Jennifer A. Sheridan and Bryan L. Stuart) investigated the genetics of the Black Spotted Frog (Sylvirana nigrovittata) and discovered that its at least 8 different species of frogs and they described 5 of them. You can read the full article.

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Completely new species of frog found from Madagascar, Gephyromantis lomorina. You can read the full article.

Two new species of frogs (Pristimantis erythroinguinis, Pristimantis antisuyu) from Peru. Full article here

Researchers have described a new genus of frogs with two new species (Sumaterana montana, Sumaterana dabulescens).  Read the journal article here

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A new tree frog species, Yingjiang Tree-hole Frog Nasutixalus yingjiangensis, from China was described last month. Read the journal article here

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A new species of Puddle Frog, Tanoé Puddle Frog (Phrynobatrachus tanoeensis),  described from the Tanoé-Ehy Swamp Forest in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Common Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)

photo by the NPS

leastconcern

Common Name: Common Mudpuppy
Scientific Name: Necturus maculosus
Family: Proteidae
Location: Canada and the United States
US Location: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia
Size: 13 inches average

The Common Mudpuppy is the largest Mudpuppy and also the most widespread Mudpuppy species. This aquatic salamander is found throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. The Common Mudpuppy can live to around 30 years old and they start breeding around 6 to 7 years old.

Mating is believed to happen during fall but the females don’t lay the eggs right away. Females store the sperm inside them throughout winter until the temperature starts to increase.

The Common Mudpuppy is nocturnal and hunt during the night while they hide in their burrows during the day. They have teeth but they are used to hold prey in their mouth as they usually just suck in the prey into their mouth.