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Neurergus kaiseri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AMPHIBIA CAUDATA SALAMANDRIDAE

Scientific Name: Neurergus kaiseri
Species Authority: Schmidt, 1952
Common Name(s):
English Luristan Newt, Kaiser's Mountain Newt, Emperor Spotted Newt
Synonym(s):
Neurergus crocatus subspecies kaiseri Schmidt, 1952

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2d; B2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Sharifi, M., Papenfuss, T.,Rastegar-Pouyani, N., Anderson, S. & Kuzmin, S.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. & Temple, H.
Justification:
Listed as Critically Endangered, because there appears to have been drastic population decline, estimated to be more than 80% over within ten years (2001-2005) (Mozafar Sharifi and Theodore Papenfuss pers. comm. September, 2008), because of overcollection for the pet trade; its Area of Occupancy is less than 10km2, its populations are 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.
History:
2006 Critically Endangered (IUCN 2006)
2006 Critically Endangered
2004 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to four streams (in a single catchment area) within a restricted area of the southern Zagros Mountains of Lorestan (Shahbazan region), Iran (Mozafar Sharifi pers. comm. September 2008). It has an altitudinal range of 1,500-2,000m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Iran, Islamic Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is now a relatively rare species, with a dramatic decline within the previous ten years (Mozafar Sharifi and Theodore Papenfuss pers. comm. September 2008). The population is estimated to number fewer than 1,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species leaves water outside the breeding season, and is found in oak-pistachio open woodlands dominated by Quercus brantti and Pistachio spp. The streams are mostly surrounded by open patches of woodland with rock outcrops.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Of great concern is the current growing trade in the species for the pet trade. At present it appears that individuals caught in the wild are being illegally exported out of Iran. Some of the individuals in the trade are reportedly captive-bred but this requires confirmation. A few animals have been observed for sale in the Tehran market, presumably for local use in aquaria (T. Papenfuss pers. comm.). Habitat loss as a result of firewood collection for small-scale subsistence use, coupled with the effects of recent severe droughts, are also major threats to the species (N. Rastegar-Pouyani pers. comm.). Damming of the few known inhabited streams is a serious potential threat to the species. Non-native cyrpinid are additionally spreading into the streams from lower elevations and present a threat to the larvae and eggs of this species (Mozafar Sharifi pers. comm. September 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is protected by Iranian national legislation. The area that the species is known from is close to the Zagros Oak Forest protected area. Actions need to be taken immediately to prevent the illegal export of this species for the international pet trade (Mozafar Sharifi and Theodore Papenfuss pers. comm. September 2008). This species was recently added to Appendix I of CITES. A captive-breeding programme almost certainly needs to be established.

Citation: Sharifi, M., Papenfuss, T.,Rastegar-Pouyani, N., Anderson, S. & Kuzmin, S. 2009. Neurergus kaiseri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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