The Maerz lab collaborated with Dr. Carlos Camp (Piedmont College), Bill Peterman (Miszzou), Trip Lamb (ECU) and David Wake (Berkeley) to describe a new species of salamander from the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Work in the Maerz lab was lead by Ph.D. Candidate Joseph Milanovich, and Dr. Maerz’s sons, Jack and Robert, helped in the search for the new species, with Jack (then age 10) finding the male type specimen. The salamander represents a new Genus within the supergenus Eurycea, which is the first new genus of vertebrate in the U.S. in over 50 years! The salamander is one of the smallest species known in the world, and is interesting because it is one of the few species of Plethodontidae to be sexually dimorphic in coloration.
The speciﬁc epithet brucei is in honor of Dr Richard C. Bruce, Professor Emeritus of Western Carolina University and retired director of the Highlands Biological Station in North Carolina. Dr. Bruce has a storied career studying the evolution and ecology of stream salamanders in southern Appalachia, and one of his many interests was the evolution of miniaturization.
Camp,C. D., W. E. Peterman, J. R. Milanovich, T. Lamb, J. C. Maerz and D. B. Wake. 2009. A new genus of lungless salamander (family Plethodontidae) from the Appalachian highlands of the southeastern United States. Journal of Zoology 279: 86-94.
Ongoing research is led by Joe Milanovich (Warnell, UGA) and Carlos Camp with support from T.E.R.N. to describe the range and life history of this newly discovered species. They have identified 3 additional locations for the species including one in South Carolina.
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Athens Banner Herald, “One-of-a-kind find in Georgia: Patch-nosed salamander”
National Geographic, “New Salamander Discovered Near Georgia Busy Road”
BBC, Earth News, “Striking salamander species found”
Smithsonian.com, “Tiny Lungless Salamander Discovered in Georgia”
Atlanta Journal Constitution, “A little critter is a big find”
Mongabay.com, “Salamander is first 4-legged animal discovered in U.S. in 50 years”
WNEG TV, “New Species Discovered in Toccoa”
e! Science News, “Smallest salamander in U.S. discovered”
RichardDawkins.Net, “New lungless salamander species found”
Plantesave.com, “New Salamander Species Discovered in US”
Macon Times, “1 of smallest salamanders found in Georgia stream”
Augustua Chronicle, “Tiny salamander species is discovered in stream”
The Conservation Report, “NEW SPECIES of salamander discovered in northern Georgia; second smallest salamander species in the United States”
ScienceBlogs.com, Darren Naish, “The USA is still yielding lots of new extant tetrapod species”
photo by: J. Jensen (C) 2007