Kaiser's spotted newt
|Kaiser's spotted newt|
Neurergus crocatus ssp. kaiseri Schmidt, 1952
Kaiser's spotted newt (Neurergus kaiseri), also known as the Luristan newt or emperor spotted Newt (not to be confused with Tylototriton shanjing), is a species of very colourful salamander in the Salamandridae family. It is endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran where it is known from just four streams. Populations of this newt have been declining and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated it as "critically endangered". A captive breeding programme has been established in several zoos.
Distribution and habitat
Kaiser's spotted newt is endemic to the southern Zagros Mountains in Iran. It is primarily found in highland streams surrounded by arid scrubland, but can also be found in ponds and pools. It is known only from four streams in a single catchment area and has a total area of occupation of under 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi). Water is absent from its habitat for a significant part of the year and it moves out into the surrounding woodland which is predominantly oak and pistachio, during which time this species is known to estivate.
It is considered critically endangered due to its tiny range (it inhabits an area of less than 10 km2), continuing habitat loss, and the illegal capture of salamanders for the wild animal trade. In 2008, the wild population was estimated at less than 1000 individuals. However, a new survey in 2014 estimates a population of over 9,000 adults, and range estimate that could provide habitat for more than 40,000 Neurergus kaiseri.
The Luristan newt is a candidate for CITES listing. It also has a captive breeding program involving several European and North American zoos, such as Sedgwick County Zoo. Iran is planning on starting its own breeding program.
- Sharifi, M., Papenfuss, T.,Rastegar-Pouyani, N., Anderson, S. & Kuzmin, S. 2009. Neurergus kaiseri. 2014 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 28 September 2014.
- "Forgotten Species: the fiery Luristan Newt". Jeremy Hance. Mongabay.com. Retrieved 2010-02-14.