Other Amphibian of the Week

Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)

Fire Salamander
Fire Salamander photo by wikiuser Didier Descouens

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, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine
Size: 5.9 – 10 inches (150 – 250 mm)

The Fire Salamander was the first salamander to be scientifically named in the Linnaeus taxonomy system. Hence, its scientific name is Salamandra Salamandra. The name just means salamander salamander in Latin. There are many subspecies of the Fire Salamander. Some have even moved up to being their own species! They live a very long time. In fact, one specimen lived more than 50 years at a German natural history museum!

The Fire Salamander is toxic so don’t eat one! Furthermore, when threatened, the salamander sprays out its poison. 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.

Mating for the Salamander

Breeding styles 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, the females lays larvae into streams. This is where the larvae complete their metamorphosis. Some subspecies, Salamandra salamandra bernardezi and sometimes S. s. fastuosa, give birth to fully metamorphosed young. That’s some crazy stuff.

photo by Maciej Bonk

Conservation of the Fire Salamander

The International Union for the Concern of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Fire Salamander as Least Concern for Extinction but in some areas, they are hurting. In fact, populations in central Europe are declining at alarming rates due to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). Bsal is 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.

2 thoughts on “Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra)”

Leave a Reply