Double-headed salamander discovered in Haifa

University of Haifa’s ecology lab says rare tadpole may be result of pollution.

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December 8, 2014 12:45
1 minute read.

Two-headed salamander

Two-headed salamander

 
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Two heads may be better than one, but not in the case of the double-headed salamander tadpole discovered at the University of Haifa’s community ecology lab headed by Prof. Leon Blaustein.

The deformed tadpole gets confused about which direction to turn while swimming. The researchers said that while they had observed deformed limbs in tadpoles, the case of two heads is very rare.

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While the exact cause of two heads is unknown, scientists theorized that it could be the result of pollution of water sources, changes in radiation or the influence of a small population.

Israel’s salamander is an endangered species, mainly due to factors that have disturbed or destroyed its natural habitat, such as soil and water pollution.

Blaustein’s lab has been conducting research for many years to try to understand the biological mechanisms of this unique life form, with the aim of helping the nature and parks authorities maintain the existing population and revive others that are in danger.

According to researchers, the salamanders act as a signal for the general health of the environment because they are so sensitive to pollution and environmental changes – and so are the first to be harmed.

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