AmphibiaWeb - Neurergus derjugini


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Neurergus derjugini (Nesterov, 1916)
Kurdistan Newt
Subgenus: Neurergus
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Pleurodelinae
genus: Neurergus
Neurergus derjugini
© 2012 Barbod Safaei (1 of 26)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status Protected in Iran
Regional Status None


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Total length 140-150 mm. Black ground color with irregular small yellow spots. Venter is red-orange.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq

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Found in Iran at the border with Iraq (mainly in the Zagros Mountains, Kermanshah Province; also in Kurdistan Province and central Zagros Province). It has been reported from northeastern Iraq, and southeastern Turkey (Rastegar-Pouyani 2006), but not confirmed there (Sharifi et al. 2008). In Kermanshah this species occurs at elevations of 1,200-1,800 m asl. Neurergus microspilotus is present in shallow, clear montane brooks and streams within deep montane valleys (Rastegar-Pouyani 2006), particularly streams with a pebble substrate (Sharifi and Assadian 2004).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species is a stream-breeder (Steinfartz et al. 2002). Breeding takes place in shallow, clear montane streams (Rastegar-Pouyani 2003). In the breeding season, mating occurs near the water (Rastegar-Pouyani 2003). Females deposit their eggs in the water (Rastegar-Pouyani 2003). Larvae hatch after a few weeks and complete metamorphosis in about 2 months (Rastegar-Pouyani 2003).

Courtship behavior has been observed in captivity. Initially the male pursues the female from behind or above, seeking to position himself in front of the female and do tail-fanning. The tail tip makes long, large sweeps, about 4 cm away from the male's flank. Fanning occurs in bouts rather than continuously. Turning away from the female, the male walks slowly ahead, with his tail undulating and slightly raised. If the female is responsive to the male's tail-fanning display, she follows. He deposits a spermatophore in front of the female and creeps slowly until he has reached a distance of approximately one body length from the female. Pivoting on one foreleg, he turns 90 degrees and stands perpendicular to the female with his tail folded back and waving slowly, blocking the female's ability to move forward when she has moved about one body length. The female picks up the spermatophore with her cloaca. Males are capable of depositing multiple spermatophores in a single evening (Sparreboom et al. 2000).

Eggs are laid singly or in small clusters, on the underside of stones (Sparreboom et al. 2000).

Trends and Threats
Extinct at the type locality of Ghorighaleh (Sharifi et al. 2008). Known from only four remaining streams, in fragmented habitat; there is no gene flow between the populations (Stuart et al. 2008). N. microspilotus is threatened by habitat destruction due to diversion of streams for agriculture (Sharifi and Assadian 2004; Rastegar-Pouyani 2006). Other threats include drought, and pollution from herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides, and human waste (Rastegar-Pouyani 2006; Sharifi and Assadian 2004; Rastegar-Pouyani 2003). Some populations have been extirpated by severe droughts in recent years (Rastegar-Pouyani 2006). It is feared that nearly all populations of this salamander may go extinct in the near future unless conservation measures are undertaken (Rastegar-Pouyani 2006).

Illegal collection for the pet trade presents a growing threat, and protection under CITES should be considered (Sharifi et al. 2008). It occurs within a legally protected area, the Zagrosian Oak Forest (Sharifi et al. 2008). It is not known whether this species is susceptible to chytridiomycosis (Sharifi et al. 2008).

Relation to Humans
This species is illegally collected for the pet trade, potentially threatening its survival (Sharifi et al. 2008).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Prolonged drought
Drainage of habitat
Subtle changes to necessary specialized habitat
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants
Loss of genetic diversity from small population phenomena

Defenders of Wildlife and SSN have recently recommended that the United States advocate for inclusion of Neurergus microspilotus in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which would recommend controls on commercial trade in this species. Neurergus microspilotus has been extirpated from the type locality and now is found in only four streams on the Iran/Iraq/Turkey border. The wild population is so small that collection for the pet trade could have significant adverse impact.

However, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the U. S. is not planning to propose inclusion of N. microspilotus under CITES Appendix II unless "additional information is received" about the population and trade status, or assistance is requested by Iran. The deadline for submitting comments and information to USF&W is September 11, 2009. Species submitted for consideration by the United States and other CITES member countries will be discussed at the CoP15 meeting in Qatar on March 13-25, 2010.

Comments pertaining to species proposals should be sent to the Division of Scientific Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 110, Arlington, VA 22203, or via e-mail at:, or via fax at: 703–358–2276. Comments pertaining to proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda items should be sent to the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212, Arlington, VA 22203, or via e-mail at:, or via fax at: 703–358–2298.

For further information pertaining to species proposals contact: Rosemarie Gnam, Chief, Division of Scientific Authority, phone 703–358– 1708, fax 703–358–2276, e-mail: For further information pertaining to resolutions, decisions, and agenda items contact: Robert R. Gabel, Chief, Division of Management Authority, phone 703– 358–2095, fax 703–358–2298, e-mail:

Featured in Amazing Amphibians on 26 August 2013 as its synonym, Neurergus microspilotus.


Rastegar-Pouyani, N. (2003). ''Ecology and conservation of the genus Neurergus in the Zagros Mountains, Western Iran.'' FROGLOG, 56.

Rastegar-Pouyani, N. (2006). ''Conservation and distribution of Neurergus microspilotus (Caudata: Salamandridae) in the Zagros Mountains, Kermanshah Province, Western Iran.'' Herpetologia Bonnensis II. Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica. M. Vences, J. Köhler, T. Ziegler, and W. Böhme, eds.

Sharifi, M. and Assadian, S. (2004). ''Distribution and conservation status of Neurergus microspilotus (Caudata: Salamandridae) in western Iran.'' Asiatic Herpetological Review, 10, 224-229.

Sharifi, M., Shafti, S., Papenfuss, T., Anderson, S., Kuzmin, S., and Rastegar-Pouyani, N. (2008). Neurergus microspilotus. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. Downloaded on 10 August 2009.

Sparreboom, M., Steinfartz, S., and Schultschik, G. (2000). ''Courtship behavior of Neurergus (Caudata: Salamandridae).'' Amphibia-Reptilia, 21, 1-11.

Originally submitted by: Kellie Whittaker (first posted 2009-07-23)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, updated Ann T. Chang (2013-08-26)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2013 Neurergus derjugini: Kurdistan Newt <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jun 2024.

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