Newly described: Yangsan Clawed Salamander (Onychodactylus sillanus)

New publication through multiple collaborations including the description of Onychodactylus sillanus Yangsan Clawed Salamander (양산꼬리치레도롱뇽)!

Onychodactylus sillanus in life. Legends in the publication.

For wildlife to be protected, it must first be known, as species that are not yet formally described are not the target of conservation attention, independently of threat levels. While habitat degradation has consistently increased across the last decades in the Republic of Korea, taxonomic and conservation efforts are lagging.

For instance, a clade of Onychodactylus clawed salamanders from the extreme southeast of the Korean Peninsula is known to have diverged circa 6.82 million years ago from its sister species O. koreanus, and despite the candidate species status of this lineage, its extremely restricted range is under intense anthropogenic pressure. Here, through the use of genetics, morphometrics and landscape modelling, we confirmed the species status of the southeast Korean Onychodactylus population and formally describe it as Onychodactylus sillanus (Yangsan Clawed Salamander; 양산꼬리치레도롱뇽).

Range, suitable habitat, and phylogenetic relationships of Onychodactylus sillanus.
Legends in the publication.

We then proceed to determine threats, habitat loss and risk of extinction based on climatic models under different Representative Concentration Pathways and following the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. We highlight a decrease in the extent of occurrence between 87.6% and 97.3 % within the next three generations based on several climate change scenarios, a decline high enough for the species to be listed as Critically Endangered based on the category A3 of the IUCN Red List of species. Our results will enable the development of protection programs and legitimise citizen activities protecting the population. A conservation action plan is a priority to coordinate the activities linked to the protection of the species.

Potential impacts of future climate change on the suitable habitat of Onychodactylus sillanus sp. nov. Legends in the publication.

Borzée A., Shin Y., Poyarkov N. A., Jeon J. Y., Baek H. J., Lee C. H., An J., Hong Y. J., Min M-S. (2022).  Dwindling in the mountains: description of a critically endangered and microendemic Onychodactylus species (Amphibia, Hynobiidae) from the Korean Peninsula. Zoological Research. 43(5):750-755. DOI: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.048

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