Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 143–174 | Cite as

New Ichthyophis species from Indochina (Gymnophiona, Ichthyophiidae): 1. The unstriped forms with descriptions of three new species and the redescriptions of I. acuminatus Taylor, 1960, I. youngorum Taylor, 1960 and I. laosensis Taylor, 1969

  • Peter GeisslerEmail author
  • Nikolay A. PoyarkovJr.Email author
  • Lee Grismer
  • Truong Q. Nguyen
  • Hang T. An
  • Thy Neang
  • Alexander Kupfer
  • Thomas Ziegler
  • Wolfgang Böhme
  • Hendrik Müller
Original Article


Caecilians of the genus Ichthyophis Fitzinger, 1826 are among the most poorly known amphibian taxa within Southeast Asia. Populations of Ichthyophis from the Indochina region (comprising Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam) have been assigned to five taxa: Ichthyophis acuminatus, Ichthyophis bannanicus, Ichthyophis kohtaoensis, Ichthyophis laosensis, and Ichthyophis nguyenorum. Barcoding of recently collected specimens indicates that Indochinese congeners form a clade that includes several morphologically and genetically distinct but yet undescribed species. Although body coloration is supported by the molecular analyses as a diagnostic character at species level, unstriped forms are paraphyletic with respect to striped Ichthyophis. Based on our morphological and molecular analyses, three distinct unstriped ichthyophiid species, Ichthyophis cardamomensis sp. nov. from western Cambodia, Ichthyophis catlocensis sp. nov. from southern Vietnam, and Ichthyophis chaloensis sp. nov. from central Vietnam are described as new herein, almost doubling the number of Ichthyophis species known from the Indochinese region. All three new species differ from their unstriped congeners in a combination of morphological and molecular traits. In addition, redescriptions of three unstriped Ichthyophis species (Ichthyophis acuminatus, I. laosensis, I. youngorum) from Indochina and adjacent Thailand are provided.


Biogeography Caecilians Indochina Cambodia Laos Thailand Vietnam mtDNA Barcoding COI cyt b Phylogeny Integrative taxonomy 



We are grateful to the Directorate of PNKB NP as well as V. T. Tran (Director of Cat Tien National Park) for issuing relevant permits. For the loan of specimens we want to thank Darrel Frost (AMNH), Canh X. Le and Thinh H. Ta (IEBR, Hanoi), Annemarie Ohler (MNHN, Paris), Valentina F. Orlova (ZMMU), and Alan Resetar (FMNH). Special thanks go to Eduard A. Galoyan, Sergei Kruskop, Olga Morozova, Igor V. Palko, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Evgeniy Popov and Anna B. Vassilieva for their invaluable support during field work, for fruitfull discussions and for their help with sample collection. We thank M. Cota for providing literature and Harry Taylor for taking photographs of the holotype of I. youngorum. Thanks are given to His Excellency Mok Mareth, Senior Minister and His Excellency Chay Samith, Delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia in charge as General Director of General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation & Protection, Ministry of Environment for granting research permissions, and to Sy Ramony. NAP also thanks Sophia M. Kolchanova and Evgeniya N. Solovyeva for assistance in the lab, and Anna M. Mihalskaya, Andrey D. Poyarkov, Kazuma Ishihara and Yuya Ishihara for continued support during manuscript preparation.

Field work of PG was partly funded by the German Society of Herpetology (DGHT) and the Alexander Koenig Society (AKG). NQT thanks to Cuong T. Pham, Dai V. Nguyen (Hanoi), and Kien N. Dang (Quang Binh) for their assistance in the field. Field survey in Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park and extension area was support by the Nature Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management in Phong Nha –Ke Bang National Park Region Project with funding from the Vietnam-Germany Development Cooperation. Research of T. Q. Nguyen in Germany is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (VIE 1143441 STP). Fieldwork in Cambodia was made possible by grants provided to Thy Neang by the Rufford Small Grants Foundation (Ref: 08.01.10), and to Fauna & Flora International by the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board of Victoria (Australia), Darwin Initiative (DEFRA, UK: EIDPO028), and the John D. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation (US: 09-92411-000-GSS). A Percy Sladen Memorial Travel grant to H. Müller is gratefully acknowledged. This research, including the molecular analyses and fieldwork in Vietnam and Thailand, was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation of Basic Research (Grant Nos. RFBR-12-04-33150-mol_a_ved and RFBR_Taiwan No. 14-04-92000) and by a Grant of the President of Russian Federation (Grant No. MK-5815.2014.4) to NAP


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Geissler
    • 1
    • 12
    Email author
  • Nikolay A. PoyarkovJr.
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Lee Grismer
    • 4
  • Truong Q. Nguyen
    • 5
    • 6
  • Hang T. An
    • 5
  • Thy Neang
    • 7
    • 8
  • Alexander Kupfer
    • 9
    • 12
  • Thomas Ziegler
    • 10
  • Wolfgang Böhme
    • 1
  • Hendrik Müller
    • 11
  1. 1.Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander KoenigBonnGermany
  2. 2.Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Biological FacultyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscow GSP-1Russia
  3. 3.Joint Russian-Vietnamese Tropical Research and Technological Center of the A.N. SevertsovInstitute of Ecology and EvolutionHo Chi Minh CityVietnam
  4. 4.Department of BiologyLa Sierra UniversityRiversideUSA
  5. 5.Institute of Ecology and Biological ResourcesVietnam Academy of Science and TechnologyHanoiVietnam
  6. 6.Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Institute of ZoologyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  7. 7.Department of National Parks, Ministry of EnvironmentPhnom PenhCambodia
  8. 8.Fauna and Flora International (FFI)Phnom PenhCambodia
  9. 9.Institute of Biochemistry and BiologyUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  10. 10.AG Zoologischer Garten KölnRiehler Straße 173, CologneGermany
  11. 11.Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie mit Phyletischem MuseumFriedrich-Schiller-Universität JenaJenaGermany
  12. 12.Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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