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Professor Discovers New Kind of Salamander That Breathes Through Its Skin

Professor Discovers New Kind of Salamander That Breathes Through Its Skin

Posted May. 04, 2005 23:35,   


A new kind of salamander has been discovered in Korea.

Although the salamander is classified as part of the American salamander family, which lives on the American continents or in some parts of Europe, it turns out that it is not only a new kind, but also belongs to a wider range, a species, which draws attention in the global biological world.

Dr. Min Mi-sook (43) at the Conservative Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife, the college of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, and Yang Seo-young (71), an honorary professor of the biology department of Inha University, announced on May 4 that they discovered a new kind of salamander in Korea for the first time, in association with a research team from the animal department of the University of California at Berkeley.

Their discovery was published in the May 5 online-version of the science magazine "Nature," which is published in Britain.

While the salamander, which was dubbed "moss salamander" by the researchers, is included in the amphibia category, it unusually lives under the tree or on the ground, breathing through its skin, without the lungs.

It was confirmed that the moss salamander lives in a group of about 10 other moss salamanders under heavily mossy rocks throughout 16 mountainous areas in the country.

The moss salamander is around four cm in length, displays a yellowish brown color or red color on its back, and has a shorter and stronger toe bone than other salamanders as it lives among rocks.

Professor Min said that they started to examine the existence of the moss salamander after a U.S. science teacher, Steven Carson, informed them that he discovered a peculiar salamander on Mt. Jangtae in Daejeon in April 2003 and that, after analyzing its gene and form, they confirmed that the salamander belonged to the American salamander family, which has never been found in Asia.

The moss salamander`s scientific name is Karsenia koreana, and Karsenia is from Carson, who first discovered the moss salamander.