Research Activities
We mainly research on the natural history of amphibians and reptiles. Below is a brief introduction to some of our themes.
Onychodactylus japonicus
Japanese clawed salamander
Slide presentation of our laboratory for undergraduate students
Hynobius guttatus
Mahoroba salamander
Systematics, biogeography, and natural history of the caecilian (salamanders and newts) orders of East, Southeast, and Central Asia
Discrepancies between morphological and genetic variation in the (then) giant tailed salamander species group (Nishikawa et al., 2007)
Various natural history studies on caecilians
We are engaged in various studies on caecilians, including systematics, biogeography, and natural history.
Our main research is on phylogenetic classification as shown in the left figure.
Phylogenetic systematics of the Gymnophiona and Anura (Frogs) of Southeast Asia
Phylogeography of the family Nudibranchiaceae (Nishikawa et al., 2012)
Historical biogeography of the Cool Gael species group (Matsui et al., 2016)
Phylogeography of the Nemean newt family (Nishikawa et al., 2012)
Historical biogeography of the cool frog species group (Matsui et al., 2016)
Asia's only laboratory of Gymnophiona
Our research focuses on Indochina and Sunda, and it is not an exaggeration to say that there is no other laboratory in Asia that conducts research on aneuploid newts in particular.
Phylogeography of the family Nudibranchiaceae (Nishikawa et al., 2012)
Historical biogeography of the Cool Gael species group (Matsui et al., 2016)
Conservation of the giant salamander and hybridization problems
Measurement of body length of Japanese giant salamander
Survey of basic ecology and life history
Research on the ecology and conservation of the Japanese giant salamander, which is famous but lacking in basic research.
Efforts to share research manuals and individual information
Because the Japanese giant salamander is a special natural monument, research permission is granted by the local government, and the research period is renewed every one to three years. However, since the salamander is a long-lived animal and moves freely in rivers, it is important to standardize the survey methods and share the microchip information for individual identification across municipalities so that it can be passed on to the next generation. This information sharing is expected to have a deterrent effect on illegal capture and trade. The survey manual can be obtained from the website of the Japan Salamander Society.
Japanese giant salamander research camp
Every year, we hold a two-day and one-night research camp to train the next generation of researchers who will take over the study of the Japanese giant salamander. For the past few years, we have been training to learn research methods with the cooperation of The Hanzaki Research Institute of Japan.
Measuring the body length of a Japanese giant salamander
Children and adults alike participate in the camp.
Measuring the body length of a Japanese giant salamander
Children and adults alike participate in the camp.
Dealing with the Hybrid Salamander Problem
We are investigating the habitat conditions, ecology, and behavior of the crossbreeds between the Chugoku giant salamander and other alien species found in the Kinki region, developing and improving genetic identification methods, and taking practical measures to deal with the problem. We conduct monthly surveys of hybrids in Kyoto, so please contact us if you are interested. If you are interested in participating, please contact us. We will meet with you to explain about the survey and give you a heads up, and you can participate after signing a survey consent form. We also encourage you to sign up for volunteer insurance.
Measuring the body length of a Japanese giant salamander
Children and adults alike participate in the camp.
Publications about our laboratory's salamanders
(From the time of Matsui Lab)
Matsui, M. 1988. 三重県青山町産オオサンショウウオ調査報告. 青山町教育委員会. 1-28p.
Matsui, M., and T. Hayashi. 1992. Genetic uniformity in the Japanese giant salamander, Andrias japonicus. Copeia 1992(1): 232-235.
駒田格知・松井正文・高田誠. 1996. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近(各務原市)におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について. 淡水魚類研究会報. (2):1-18.
駒田格知・松井正文・高田誠. 1997. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--1996年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (3):47-53.
駒田格知・松井正文・高田誠. 1998. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--1997年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (4):62-65.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠. 1999. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--1998年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (5):39-47.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠. 2000. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--1999年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (6):13-18.
松井正文・北林栄一・高橋啓一・佐藤真一. 2001. 鮮新統・津房川層からのオオサンショウウオ化石. 琵琶湖博物館研究調査報告 (18):72-78.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠. 2001. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2000年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (7):34-44.
松井正文. 2001. オオサンショウウオの属名について. 爬虫両棲類学会報. 2001(2):75-78.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠. 2002. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2001年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (8):14-27.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠. 2003. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2002年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (9):36-49.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠・中村光孝. 2004. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2003年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (10):15-27.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠・中村光孝. 2005. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2004年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (11):41-52.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠・渡邊美咲・山上将史. 2006. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2005年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (12):30-40.
松井正文. 2007. 中国のオオサンショウウオ日本の河川で発見される. 自然保護 (497): 26.
Matsui, M., A. Tominaga, W.-Z. Liu, and T. Tanaka-Ueno. 2008. Reduced genetic variation in the Japanese giant salamander, Andrias japonicus (Amphibia: Caudata). Mol. Phyl. Evol. 49: 318-326.
西川完途. 2010. オオサンショウウオ科チュウゴクオオサンショウウオ-連載 東アジアの有尾類 第2回-. クリーパー (54):9, 44-49.
Yoshikawa, N., S. Kaneko, K. Kuwabara, N. Okumura, M. Matsui, and Y. Isagi. 2011. Development of microsatellite markers for the two giant salamander species (Andrias japonicus and A. davidianus). Cur. Herpetol. 30(2): 177-180.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠・渡邊美咲・山上将史. 2011. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2005年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (12):30-40.
西川完途. 2011. オオサンショウウオ科(その2)チュウゴクオオサンショウウオ(補足)-連載 東アジアの有尾類 第5回-. クリーパー (57):60-64, 66-67.
Yoshikawa, N., M. Matsui, A. Hayano, and M. Inoue-Murayama. 2012. Development of microsatellite markers for the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) through next-generation sequencing, and cross-amplification in its congener. Conservation Genetics Resources 4: 971-974.
Kleinteich, N. T., J. Herzen, F. Beckmann, M. Matsui, and A. Haas. 2013. Anatomy, function, and evolution of jaw and hyobranchial muscles in cryptobranchoid salamander larvae. J. Morphol. 275: 230-246.
駒田格知・松井正文・杉山章・高田誠.・渡邊美咲・中村光孝. 2013. 木曽川犬山頭首工付近におけるオオサンショウウオの生息状況について--2012年度調査結果. 淡水魚類研究会報. (19): 7-14.
Matsushita, Y., O. Yamakawa, H. Onuma, K. Nishikawa, M. Motokawa, and T. Yato. 2015. Andrias japonicus (Japanese Giant Salamander). Diet. Herpetological Review 46(1): 69-70.
西川完途(文)・青木麻美(絵). 2015.オオサンショウウオみつけたよ 福音館書店 科学絵本
Bletz, M., M. Vences, J. Sabino-Pinto, Y. Taguchi, N. Shimizu, K. Nishikawa, and A. Kurabayashi. 2017. Cutaneous bacterial communities of Japanese giant salamanders (Andrias japonicus). Hydrobiologia: in press (doi: 10.1007/s10750-017-3126-2).
Conservation of rare and endangered species 
Enhancement of basic research
Without the accumulation of basic ecological and life history data, meaningful conservation activities will not be possible. Therefore, it can be said that basic research is the most important. In our laboratory, we are continuing to conduct steady surveys of distribution and ecology and accumulate knowledge, and we are also cooperating with the national and local governments in creating and revising RDBs.
Conservation for Hynobius nebulosus in the Kinki region
We are conducting basic life history and ecological surveys and monitoring of populations in the vicinity of Kyoto from the university campus.
Conservation of the Amakusa salamander
With the Kyushu Society and Amakusa Society for Nature Study, we work on conservation measures to designate habitats for protection and natural monuments. We also patroll habitats under a project of the Ministry of the Environment.
Hynobius guttatus
Mahoroba salamander
Kyoto University Yoshida Minami Campus
Please inquire before visiting. Click here for information on transportation.
Nisikawa Lab,kyoto univ.