Three New Species of Miniaturized Tropical Salamanders Discovered in Oaxaca Mountain Forests

Posted on December 2, 2016

New Thorius salamander species in Oaxaca

An international team of researchers has discovered three new species of miniaturized tropical salamanders belonging to the Thorius genus. The salamanders are smaller than a matchstick as adults. They were found in the high-mountain forests of Oaxaca, Mexico.

The tiny salamanders are already suspected to be endangered. The researchers say Thorius populations have greatly declined over the past 30 to 35 years. They were first discovered in the 19th century and it was believed there was only a single species until nine additional species were discovered between 1940 and 1960.

The new Thorius species brings the total count of species in the genus to 29. The new species have been named Thorius pinicola (meaning "Pine-dwelling Minute Salamander"), Thorius longicaudus ("Long-tailed Minute Salamander") and Thorius tlaxiacus ('Heroic Minute Salamander').

A research paper on the new species was published here in the journal, Peerj.

Photos: James Hanken/Mario García-París