A salamander first discovered by a University of Tulsa doctoral student in 2011 is being hailed as a new species in an international journal for animal taxonomy published this month.
Doctoral student Michael Steffen and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Herpetologist Kelly Irwin discovered the new species in May 2011 while studying genetic diversity of other salamanders in Lake Catherine State Park near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
"We found a large amount of genetic divergence between this specimen and other salamanders," Michael Steffen said.
The university says the latest issue of Zootaxa features the paper and provide details on the Ouachita Streambed Salamander, Eurycea subfluvicola.
The paper says the new species "retains aquatic larval juvenile characteristics into adulthood unlike most other salamanders that lose their gills and metamorphose before adulthood."
The school says the amphibian is one of the most "genetically distinct" species of salamander to be identified in the United States within the past 70 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.