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Two New Species of Salamander Discovered

Feb 12, 2013 02:58 AM EST

Two new species of salamander belonging to the genus Bolitoglossa were discovered by a team of researchers from Colombia. The discovery was made during the first amphibian census carried out in Tama Bi-National Park, which was supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme and Save Our Species.

These species are also known as the tropical climbing or web-footed salamanders.  One of the salamanders, Bolitoglossa leandrae that measures about 2.5 cms, just about the size of a 20 cent, was named after an 11-year-old girl Leandra, who became friends with the team during their field work.

B. leandrae has a narrow head and a long and slender tail. It is dark brown in color with yellow stripes along the length of the body that distinguished the males from the females, as the females are reddish brown in color.

The second one, Bolitoglossa tamaense, is a bit longer that B. Leandrae and measures 5 cms in length.  B.tamaense has a broad head and a long body and legs.  The researchers recorded different colorations and patterns in B. Tamaense but mostly they are brown and dark red. The tails and limbs are either dark brown, red, orange or yellow.

Apart from the two salamanders the researchers also found three frog species not spotted earlier in in Colombia. They got their hands on some eight new species that were not recorded earlier in north east Colombia. In total they found 34 amphibian species.

"For decades, the natural landscape of Tama Bi-National Park was subject to deforestation, agricultural pressures and illegal crop-growing so during our project we began working with local communities and environmental organisations to encourage good land stewardship and the development of adequate conservation plans," team leader Aldemar Acevedo said in a press statement.

He said the local people supported the researchers' efforts to promote good land practices and reduce deforestation.

The team also discovered a new threat that would cause a decline in the population of amphibians if no proper measures are taken. They spotted a fungus, chytridiomycosis, on 23 of the park's 34 species. In order to control the spread of the fungus the team ran several biosafety workshops for rangers and community members.

The finding was published in the journal Zootaxa

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