A new species of crocodile newt has been discovered in the central highlands of Vietnam. The amphibian, Tylototriton ngoclinhensis was discovered in t
A new species of crocodile newt has been discovered in the central highlands of Vietnam. The amphibian, Tylototriton ngoclinhensis was discovered in the Ngoc Linh Mountain of Kon Tum Province. It differs from T. panhai and T. ngarsuensis based on morphological data as well as molecular divergence and integrative taxonomy. The researchers say that it also differs based on the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 gene.
Tylototriton ngoclinhensis is a medium sized newt that measures SVL 60.8–66.5 mm, TL 57.6–61.8 mm in males, and SVL 72.5–75.6 mm, TL 62.9–67.9 mm in females. 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.
Six species and seven taxa are currently known from Vietnam, Tylototriton anguliceps; T. pasmansi pasmansi; T. pasmansi obsti; T. sparreboomi; T. thaiorum; T. vietnamensis; and T. ziegleri. These species, all discovered in the 2000s, were found in northern Vietnam.
Tylototriton ngoclinhensis was discovered during a fieldwork expedition in May 2022. They were found on the forest floor near a body of water.
“We suggest that the new species should be classified as Endangered in the IUCN 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.” “The specific ephitet ngoclinhensis refers to the type locality of the new species, Ngoc Linh Mountain in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. As common names, we suggest Ngoc Linh Crocodile Newt” the researchers wrote.
The researchers are Trung My Phung, Cuong The Pham, Truong Quang Nguyen, Hoa Thi Ninh, Huy Quoc Nguyen, Marta Bernardes, Son Thanh Le, Thomas Ziegler, Tao Thien Nguyen.
The complete paper, Southbound – the southernmost record of Tylototriton (Amphibia, Caudata, Salamandridae) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam represents a new species, can be read on the Zookey’s website.