The Last of the Luristan Newts

 image source:
Habitat: southern Zagros Mountains in Iran
Status: Critically Endangered

With only fewer than 1,000 individuals left in the wild, the Luristan Newt which is sometimes referred to as the Emperor Spotted Newt (Neurergus kaiseri), is truly an incredible species.

These beautifully colored newts only inhabit an area of less than 10 km² in highland streams that are surrounded by arid scrubland but can sometimes be discovered in tiny pools or ponds. Because water is scarce for most of the year, the newt as been known to estivate, or go into a sort of animal dormancy characterized by little activity and a lowered metabolic rate.

This creature is extremely threatened since it is only found in such a small area which is in danger of habitat destruction and because they are illegally captured and sold for the pet trade. So… if you ever see one of these newts – DON’T BUY THEM! You would be contributing to their downfall. :(

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  • Negathle

    I helped breed these newts as an volunteer intern at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, KS! We called them Kaiser Spotted Newts. I didn’t do much beyond provide clean water and feed, but they were *adorable* in their aquatic larva stage.

  • Negathle

    Also, I just love the wave patterns on their backs.

  • Chris_Garrison

    Luristan Newt for president!