Descriptive osteology of an imperiled amphibian, the Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri, Amphibia: Salamandridae)
Osteological structures are important biological features which provide valuable biological and ecological information. Luristan newt (Neurergus kaiseri), is an endemic salamander, inhabiting the southern part of Zagros Mountains of Iran. The current study was conducted to describe the osteological characteristics of the Luristan newt which might be important in understanding the evolutionary process of newt species. The skull of N. kaiseri has a dense structure, severely ossified elements and a low amount of cartilaginous elements, only in mobile facets. Vertebral number in the axial skeleton of the species equals 50. The cervical, abdominal and caudal parts of the vertebral column have two, 16 and 32 vertebrae, respectively. Each hand and foot consisted of four fingers, having three or four phalanxes. The metacarpal includes seven bones and the number of metatarsus bones is eight. Hands are connected to humur through ulnare and radius and then connected to scapulocoracoid. Each leg includes two bones (fibula and tibia) which are connected to femur. The head of the femur articulates with the acetabulum in the pelvic bone, while the distal part of the femur articulates with the tibia.