AmphibiaWeb - Hynobius turkestanicus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Hynobius turkestanicus Nikolskii, 1910
Turkestanian Salamander
family: Hynobiidae
subfamily: Hynobiinae
genus: Hynobius
Taxonomic Notes: This is a virtually unknown species, of dubious validity. Description very scanty and unique holotype may not be hynobiid. If a Hynobius, it is the most remote of the genus, but it is not known from what modern country it was collected (from between Samarkand and the Pamirs).
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Data Deficient (DD)
National Status Unknown
Regional Status Unknown



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Head compressed, longer than broad. Snout rounded, the length equaling interorbital width. Vomerine tooth rows V-shaped, as long as 0.75 width of tongue, not broader than long. Length of eye 1.5 times interorbital width. Eyes prominent. Labial folds absent. Body cylindrical, slightly compressed. Head length 4.5 times snout-vent length (SVL). Snout to gular fold 3.25 times distance from gular fold to cloaca. If the hindleg is stretched forwards it does not reach the foreleg stretched back by more than a head length. Fingers and toes long, flattened, 5th toe 1.5 times length of 4th. Carpal and tarsal tubercles indistinct. Tail as long as gular fold to cloaca. Tail keel above and below, absent only on 1st quarter of tail. Tail tip tapers to a point. Cloaca a longitudinal slit, without transverse groove, the edges quite swollen. Skin smooth. Deep mid-dorsal groove forking on rear part of skull, longitudinal groove on forepart of skull. Costal grooves 14, reaching the belly. Parotoids large, flattened, on sides of head behind the mouth angles. Gular fold well-developed and extends on the sides of head. Second, less distinct gular fold between mouth angles. Deep longitudinal groove on side of head from the lateral part of gular fold towards the snout, ending well behind the eye. Dorsal coloration reddish-brown with small dark-brown spots. Flanks and belly spotless, yellowish-brown.

Length: 90 mm (one specimen)

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Turkmenistan


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
The species was described from "between Samarkand and Pamir" in the Middle Asia. Further analysis revealed that it could be found, more precisely, in the Southern Kirgizia. This may be a narrow - ranged species living in wet habitats near mountain brooks or semi-flowing waters.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Trends and Threats
Unknown; probably, rare or extinct.

Relation to Humans

The species was described six years after it was first collected, and no exact information about its localities and habits have been obtained. The type materials (those used to describe the species) were lost, and no more collections or observations are known. The species needs further exploration.


Andrushko, A.M. (1974). On the reality of Hynobius turkestanicus Nikolski, 1909 (Amphibia, Caudata, Hynobiidae). Vestnik Leningradskogo Gosudarstvennogo.

Bannikov, A. G., Darevsky, I. S., Ishchenko, V. G., Rustamov, A. K., and Szczerbak, N. N. (1977). Opredelitel Zemnovodnykh i Presmykayushchikhsya Fauny SSSR [Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the USSR Fauna]. Prosveshchenie, Moscow.

Kuzmin, S. L. (1995). Die Amphibien Russlands und angrenzender Gebiete. Westarp Wissenschaften, Magdeburg.

Kuzmin, S. L. (1999). The Amphibians of the Former Soviet Union. Pensoft, Sofia-Moscow.

Kuzmin, S.L. and Dunayev, E.A. (2000). ''On the problem of the type territory of the Turkestanian Salamander (Hynobius turkestanicus Nikolsky, 1909).'' Advances in Amphibian Research in the former Soviet Union, 5, 243-250.

Kuzmin, S.L., Lebedkina, N.S. and Borkin, L.J. (1995). ''The taxonomic position of Central Asian urodelans Hynobius turkestanicus and Turanomolge mensbieri.'' Zoologichesky Zhurnal, 74(10), 92-105.

Nikolski, A.M. (1909). ''Une nouvelle espece d'amphibie a queue de Turquestan russe Hynobius turkestanicus n.sp.'' Trudy Obshchestva Ispytatelei Prirody pri Kharkovskom Universitete, 43, 73-76.

Nikolsky, A. M (1936). Fauna of Russia and Adjacent Countries: Amphibians (English translation of Nikolsky, 1918, Faune de la Russie et des Pays limitrophes. Amphibiens. Académie Russe des Sciences, Petrograd, USSR). Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.

Originally submitted by: Sergius L. Kuzmin (first posted 1999-10-03)
Edited by: Vance T. Vredenburg

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 1999 Hynobius turkestanicus: Turkestanian Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 29, 2023.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 29 Sep 2023.

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