State wildlife officials say biologists have made a startling discovery in the Jemez Mountains.
The biologists were participating in a training workshop just east of the Valles Caldera National Preserve this week when they came across what is believed to be the longest living Jemez Mountains salamander. It's estimated to be at least 17 years old.
New Mexico Game and Fish Department biologist Mark Watson says the salamander was identified as one captured and tagged in 1998 by the department's herpetologist.
Watson says this week's discovery was an exciting and surprising find.
Experts believed the salamanders live a long time. They just didn't know how long.
The Jemez Mountains salamander is on the state endangered species list and is a candidate for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.