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Karsenia koreana, Korean Crevice Salamander
Dr. David Buckley - University of California, Berkeley
M.H. Wake, D.B. Wake
Karsenia koreana
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Private Collection of David R. Vieites (DRV 5033)

Image processing: Dr. Jessie Maisano
Publication Date: 22 Mar 2010

upper body | head only


The imagery on this page is the basis for a paper entitled Comparative skull osteology of Karsenia koreana (Amphibia, Caudata, Plethodontidae), by D. Buckley, M.H. Wake and D.B.Wake (2010, Journal of Morphology, 271, 533-558). The abstract is as follows:

       The recent discovery of a plethodontid salamander, Karsenia koreana, in Korea challenged our        understanding of the biogeographic history of the family Plethodontidae, by far the largest family of        salamanders, which otherwise is distributed in the New World with a few European species. Molecular        studies suggest that Karsenia forms a clade with Hydromantes (sensu lato), which includes among its        species the only other Old World plethodontids. We studied the skull of K. koreana and compared it        with that of other plethodontid genera, especially members of the subfamily Plethodontinae, which it        resembles most closely in general anatomy. The anatomy of its skull corresponds to the most        generalized and apparently ancestral condition for plethodontids. No clearly autapomorphic states        were detected, and no synapomorphies can be found that would link it to other genera. The Karsenia        skull is cylindrical and well ossified, giving an impression of strength. In contrast, the skull of        Hydromantes is highly derived; the skull is flattened and the bones are weakly ossified and        articulated. Hydromantes and Karsenia share no unique anatomical features; differences between        them are especially evident in the hyobranchial skeleton, which is generalized in Karsenia but highly        modified in Hydromantes, which is well known for its highly projectile tongue. Plethodon and        Plethodon-like species, including Karsenia and to a lesser degree Ensatina, represent the more        generalized and apparently ancestral plethodontid morphology. Specialized morphologies have evolved        along only a few morphological axes within the Plethodontidae, resulting in a pattern of rampant        homoplasy. Our analysis of the anatomy of the new Asiatic lineage illuminates some potential        mechanisms underlying adaptive morphological evolution within the Plethodontidae.

About the Species

This specimen, a female, was collected from Sanan-Ri, South Korea. It was made available to The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. David Cannatella of The University of Texas and the Amphibian Tree of Life project (EF-0334952). Funding for scanning and image processing was provided by Dr. Cannatella's grant, and funding for additional image processing was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Timothy Rowe of The University of Texas at Austin.

About this Specimen

This specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 22 November 2006 along the coronal axis for a total of 675 slices. Each 1024x1024 pixel slice is 0.0272 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0272 mm and a field of reconstruction of 9 mm.

About the


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Karsenia koreana press release from UC Berkeley

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Karsenia koreana

To cite this page: Dr. David Buckley, M.H. Wake, D.B. Wake, 2010, "Karsenia koreana" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Karsenia_koreana/head/.

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