Newly discovered amphibian species are already at risk of extinction

Hyperaxion May 30, 2020

An international team of scientists has just announced the discovery of two new species and a new subspecies of amphibians near the Black River, north of Vietnam.

The newly discovered species are already in danger of extinction due to a triple threat: traditional medicine, habitat loss, and exotic animal trade in the region, according to the scientists.

Newly discovered amphibian species are already at risk of extinction
Tylototriton sparreboomi. (Credit: Anh Van Pham).

To find the new species, a team of German and Vietnamese scientists studied several animal samples collected during an expedition along the Black River.

Based on genetic and morphological comparisons, the researchers found two species (Tylototriton pasmansi and Tylototriton sparreboomi) and a subspecies (Tylototriton pasmansi obsti) that had never been documented. Only 12 to 15 centimeters long, the three new species are characterized by their dark skin and wide eyes.

(Credit: C. T. Pham and A. V. Pham).

All specimens of the genus Tylototriton have attracted the attention of exotic animal traders and street vendors of traditional Chinese medicine. In addition to this threat, these animals also have to deal with habitat loss caused by urbanization, infrastructure development, and intensified agriculture.

The results of the investigations and details about the new species were recently published in the specialized scientific journal ZooKeys.

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