Articles

Salamanders and Newts Defense Mechanisms

IMG_0105 (2)

It is a doggy dog world out there and salamanders and newts need ways to protect themselves from doggy dogs. They face threats of being eaten by a variety of different animals from birds, fish, snakes, frogs, raccoons, and even other salamanders. This doesn’t scare salamanders and newts because they have a variety of ways to avoid being eaten.

Poisons and toxins are great way for salamanders and newts to defend themselves against predators. No one wants to eat a salamander or newt if it could make them sick or kill them. Some salamanders try to warn predators that they are poisonous with their bright colors. This is called aposematism.

 

Other salamanders mimic the colors of poisonous salamanders to trick predators. The Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) resembles the Eastern Newt eft (Notophthalmus viridescens) and it is thought that this keeps predators from eating the Red Salamander.

tranulosadefense306
Rough-skinned Newt  (Taricha granulosa) performing the Unkenreflex

Other salamanders and newts arches their back to show off their stomach, which can be brightly colored, when they are threatened. This is called the Unkenreflex.

1920px-Salamandra_salamandra_MHNT_1
Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) by Didier Descouens

The Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) can squirt its toxins at any enemies that come near. The Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl) is able to puncture their ribs through their skin to warn off predators.

Iberian Ribbed Newt photo by wikiuser Pengo

Besides trying to poison a predator, some salamanders try to camouflage into their habitat to hide from the predators. These salamanders and newts tend to be cryptic colors such as green, brown, black, or brown, making it easy to blend in.

download.jpg
Greenhorn Mountains Slender Salamander

Another amazing way that salamanders can protect themselves is actually dropping their tail. This is called caudal autotomy. They drop their tail and hope that the predator tries to eat it instead of them. Then the salamander regrows their tail but at a cost. The tail stores fats and has a role in locomotion. Also dropping the tail can compromise their immune system. Tail dropping is used as a last resort.

Advertisements

1 thought on “Salamanders and Newts Defense Mechanisms”

  1. Pingback: Articles

Leave a Reply