New crocodile newt species discovered in Vietnam

By Nhu Quynh   July 6, 2023 | 06:05 pm PT
New crocodile newt species discovered in Vietnam
Tylototriton ngoclinhensis, a new crocodile newt species found in Vietnam. Photo by Phung My Trung
A team of Vietnamese and German researchers has found a new species of crocodile newt in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.

Named Tylototriton ngoclinhensis, the new amphibian was found in Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve in late May following a field survey conducted by nine researchers.

Their study was published on Zookeys, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography, on July 3.

According to the study, the new crocodile newt is a medium-sized newt that measures 60.8–66.5 mm long in SVL (the length of an animal's body that is measured from the tip of its snout to its rear end) and 57.6–61.8 mm in TL (the length measured from the tip of the snout to the tip of the longer lobe of the caudal fin).

It is black in coloration with an orange head and a stripe that goes down the back to about the base of the tail. Parallel to the stripe are a line of spots that run down each side of the stripe. A black line runs from the posterior end of the eye to the shoulder.

The surrounding habitat of the new species in Ngoc Linh Mountain was primary montane evergreen broadleaf forest, at elevations between 1,800 and 2,300 m above sea level.

Researcher Phung My Trung said that in Vietnam, six species of crocodile newt have been discovered and all are found in the north and north-central Nghe An Province.

The new publication will help reptile and amphibian researchers in the future discover more new species of crocodile newt in the central strip, she said.

Trung revealed that the team found the first juvenile in 2018 and it took up to four years of researching and surveying for them to discover the "ecological nest and find new specimens."

In total, six specimens have been found.

"We suggest that the new species should be classified as Endangered in the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature] Red List," the researchers wrote in their paper.

"This new important discovery represents the eighth Tylototriton taxon described from Vietnam, and at the same time, constitutes the southernmost distributional record for the whole genus in Asia."

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