Neurergus kaiseri 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Salamandridae

Scientific Name: Neurergus kaiseri Schmidt, 1952
Common Name(s):
English Luristan Newt, Kaiser's Mountain Newt, Lorestan Mountain Newt
Neurergus crocatus ssp. kaiseri Schmidt, 1952
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-07-22
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Mobaraki, A., Safaei Mahroo, B., Torki, F., Sharifi, M., Rastegar-Pouyani, N., Kuzmin, S., Anderson, S., Papenfuss, T. & Dibadj, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A., Najafi-Majd, E. & Kaya, U.
Listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 8,948 km2, its population is considered to be severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat, as well as a decline in the number of mature individuals due to overharvesting for the illegal pet trade.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This species is endemic to the central Zagros Mountains of Iran with a circumscribed distribution area in the Lorestan and Khuzestan provinces, where it has an altitudinal range of 385-1,500 m asl. It had been known from only four streams (in a single catchment area) flowing to Cezar  river (M. Sharifi pers. comm. September 2008), but has since been discovered in more than 40 new geographical localities (Torki 2012; Schneider and Schneider 2013; Sharifi et al. 2013;  A. Mobaraki pers. comm. 2013, Safaei-Mahroo 2014). Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is estimated to be 9,398 km2 (increased from 250 km2 in the previous assessment), although it is possible that it may have a slightly larger distribution than currently understood (U. Kaya pers. comm. July 2016).

Countries occurrence:
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:9398
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:UnknownLower elevation limit (metres):385
Upper elevation limit (metres):1400
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was believed to be a relatively rare species. When it was last assessed in 2008, it was thought that a dramatic decline has taken place between 1998 and 2008, when the population was estimated to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (M. Sharifi and T. Papenfuss pers. comm. September 2008, IUCN 2009). However, none of the many new published studies documented the population decline as previously reported.

Recent fieldwork based on counted individuals extrapolated numbers to suitable habitat and estimated almost 10,000 mature individuals in 20 of the 40 new localities (A. Mobaraki pers. comm. 2013, Torki 2012), suggesting that the total population of the species is much greater. However, other field work based on total counts suggest that the actual subpopulation sizes are much smaller (P. Dibadj and B. Safaei-Mahroo pers. comm. July 2016). In addition, studies have not estimated a total population size or trend for this species, which is further complicated by the fact that the number of individuals reported at the same localities varies widely in the paper of Sharifi et al. (2013) and the field work of A. Mobaraki (pers. comm. 2013).

A recent study found that there is genetic structuring of the population associated with geographic distance (Farasat et al. 2016). The population is considered to be severely fragmented as per IUCN guidelines given the habitat where it occurs and the relatively low vagility of the species (E. Najafi-Majd pers. comm. July 2016).

There are indications that live individuals were being collected for the pet trade in 2011-2015.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species lives in water, in springs, streams, water troughs and waterfalls. It does not leave the water. The streams are mostly surrounded by open patches of woodland with rock outcrops. It is found within oak-pistachio open woodland areas dominated by Quercus brantti and Pistacia spp. (P. atlantica and P. khinjuk). There is localized water loss due to water use in certain parts of its range, including temporary and permanent blocking and redirecting of streams towards water reservoirs (Safaei-Mahroo 2014).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is illegally harvested for the national and international pet trade, and specimens are taken for studies of the species. Sharifi et al. (2013) reported that every spring an unknown number of this species is harvested for national trade, and there is concern about the impact of international trade (Torki 2012, Schneider and Schneider 2013). Based on information released by Iranian news agencies, a total of 2,359 individuals were collected for the pet trade in 2011-2015 (E. Najafi-Majd  pers. comm. July 2016).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to this species is uncontrolled overharvesting for the national and international pet trade (E. Najafi-Majd  and B. Safaei-Mahroo pers. comm. 2014). Habitat degradation and destruction present the other major threat caused by deforestation, utilization of habitats for livestock, dam construction and water abstraction for domestic and agricultural uses, introduced fish species, the use of some habitats for recreational purpose and mountaineering, eco-tourism, disturbance and pollution (Sharifi et al. 2008, Torki 2012,  A. Mobaraki pers. comm. 2013, Safaei-Mahroo 2014). All sites are more or less threatened by drought.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
The species is protected by Iranian national legislation and is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Captive-breeding programs have been established in the USA, in Russia and in Iran; however, there are no indications of reintroduction programs at this time.

Conservation Needed
Actions need to be taken to prevent national trade and the illegal export of this species for the international pet trade, as well as improved water management practices. In certain areas control of introduced species may be needed.

Research Needed 
Additional research studies on ecology, population size and trends and distribution are needed. Studies on the level of harvest and trade are also needed.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2016. Neurergus kaiseri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T59450A49436271. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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