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A new species from the Chinese giant salamander has been identified as the world’s largest amphibian, measuring no less than 5 feet, 9 inches.
The salamander, Andrias sligoli, it is one of the three new species as well. Until these new findings, it was believed only one species of Chinese giant salamander in existence. However, the researchers from the Zoological Society of London and the London Museum of Natural History, were not so sure about that, in view of the dramatic landscape of the home.
“This is kind of a busy, two very different sets of China, who are separated by physical barriers, such as rivers and mountain ranges, that has a tendency to cause the populations to become isolated from each other, and after a period of time apart from each other and may be separate species,” study co-author Dr. Melissa Marr, from London’s Natural History Museum, told Fox News in an interview. “That’s why we have the speculation that there is, in fact, more than one species, the Chinese giant salamander.”
A new giant salamander species, Andrias sligoi – picture of ZSL’s archives. (Credit: ZSL)
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In order to prove their theory, the team analyzed the DNA of 17 of the historic museum specimens collected in the early part of the 20th century, and they were able to create an evolutionary tree, which is split between 2.4 and 3.1 million years ago, coinciding with a period of time in which the mountains rise, thanks to the rise of the Tibetan Plateau. They found that there were three different groups that are represented are of various types, Andrius davidianus, the Yangtze River region, the previously-mentioned Andrius sligoli of the Pearl River region, and a yet-to-be-named species of the Huangshan territory.
The largest, the Chinese giant salamander was first discovered back in the 1920’s, in the Province of Guizhou, where the A. sligoli life. Of the world’s 8,000 reptiles and amphibians, this is the largest one in the picture. A. sligoli the specimen used in the study have previously lived in the London zoo, where it survived for about 20 years.
Marr and her team believe that there may be additional species from the Chinese giant salamander, but it is a window to the finding of specimens in the wild, it is soon to close. The creatures that are to be used in the traditional medicine, but also for the food in China, and the creation of a demand which, in the wild populations could not sustain. Two species of salamanders and newts, are now under serious threat, and that have been almost driven to extinction by poaching and competition from the third equation.
“Millions of captive giant salamanders in the farming industry, but they represent only a single species Andrias davidianus,” Marr explained. “Intentional and unintentional introductions of this species have resulted in A. davidianus, the replacement of different species in the wild, and [bring] it at the risk of the disease spreading, and competition and hybridization with wild populations.”
Marr was of the opinion that the creation of specific conservation measures for individual species that will give them the best possible chance of survival in the long run.
“It is to diagnose and determine how many of these species remain in the wild, it is an important first step for their conservation, followed by preservation measures, which may include captive breeding programs in order to increase their numbers,” she said. “Stop, poor agricultural practices, and addressing the issue of poaching, it will also be crucial.”
The survey can be found in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
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