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Two New Species of Giant Salamander Are the World’s Biggest Amphibian

Using DNA from museum specimens collected within the early 20th century, researchers from ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and London’s Natural History Museum recognized two new species of giant salamander—one of which they think is the world’s biggest amphibian.

Chinese giant salamanders, now categorized as Critically Endangered, have been as soon as widespread all through central, southern, and eastern China. They’ve beforehand been considered a single species (Andrias davidianus). However, a new analysis of 17 historical museum specimens and tissue samples from wild salamanders challenges this assumption.

The paper, published today (17.09.2019) within the journal Ecology and Evolution, discovered three distinct genetic genealogies in salamanders from different river systems and mountain ranges athwart China. These genealogies are sufficiently genetically different that they symbolize separate species: Andrias davidianusAndrias sligoi, and a third species which has but to be named.

One of many newly identified species, the South China giant salamander (Andrias sligoi), was first proposed within the 1920s based on an unusual salamander from southern China that lived on the time at London Zoo. The thought was then deserted, however, has been confirmed by today’s study. The group used the same animal, now preserved as a specimen within the Natural History Museum after residing for 20 years on the Zoo, to outline the traits of the brand new species.

From Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains) The other unnamed new species persists to be solely recognized from tissue specimens and has yet to be formally defined.

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