Other Amphibian of the Week

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

Fire Salamander
Fire Salamander photo by wikiuser Didier Descouens

leastconcern
Common Name: Fire Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandra Salamandra
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine
Size: Around 10 inches or 250 mm

The Fire Salamander was the first salamander to be scientifically named in the Linnaeus taxonomy system hence it’s scientific name of Salamandra Salamandra. The name just means salamander salamander in Latin. They can live a very long time, one specimen lived more than 50 years at a German natural history museum!

The Fire Salamander is very toxic so don’t eat one! They are also able to spray the chemicals at predators, which is rare for salamanders. Don’t frighten one either! The bright colors on their bodies warn predators of the toxins in the salamander’s body. This is called aposematism.

Breeding varies between subspecies and locations. Individuals in the southern part of the range breed during winter while in the north, breeding takes place between spring and fall. Females are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young. Generally, they are larvae that the female lays in streams. Some subspecies of the salamander (Salamandra salamandra bernardezi and sometimes S. s. fastuosa) give birth to fully metamorphosed young. That’s some crazy stuff.

Fire Salamander populations in central Europe are declining at alarming rates due to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a fungal pathogen thought to be originally from Asia. Scientists are working to stop the spread of the disease and develop widespread treats for it. Hopefully, they can save this beautiful creature.

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