Other Amphibian of the Week

Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus)

photo by Rainer Theuer

least concern
Common Name: Northern Crested Newt, Great Crested Newt, and Warty Newt
Scientific Name: Triturus cristatus
Family: Salamandridae
Locations: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom
Size: 6 inches

The Great Crested Newt is named after the crested that males grow during breeding season. Breeding takes place during the spring to summer when the newts wake up from their hibernation. The newts move back to the ponds where they hatched to breed. Females lay around 200 eggs during a breeding season. After breeding, the newts move back to land and the males lose their crests. They are often found under rocks and logs.

photo by Maciej Bonk

While the Great Crested Newt is listed as least concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), their populations are declining fast. The European Union has listed the Great Crested Newt as the protected species to help save them. The main reason for their decline is believed to be habitat loss due to development for urban areas.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Misty Salamander (Hynobius nebulosus)

photo by Henk Wallays

least concern
Common Name: Misty Salamander, Clouded Salamander
Scientific Name: Hynobius nebulosus
Family: Hynobiidae – Asiatic Salamander Family
Location: Japan
Size: 5 inches total length

The Misty Salamander is found only in Japan on the islands of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and on Ikishima. During the mating season, males stake out territory and will defend them from other males. This defense includes biting and tail wagging. If a male salamander can’t get a decent territory, they will become what scientists call a sneaker. These sneakers will wait around a different males territory until the other male is mating with female. The sneaker tries to sneak in and and fertilize the female’s eggs.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Bell’s False Brook Salamander (Isthmura bellii)

photo by Sean Michael Rovito

Common Name: Bell’s False Brook Salamander
Scientific Name: Isthmura bellii
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Location: Mexico
Size: 14 inches (36 cm)

The Bell’s False Brook Salamander is the largest salamander in the family Plethodontidae and one of the largest salamanders in the world. They live mostly under logs and in leaf litter. The Bell’s False Brook Salamander is a direct developing species of salamander, skipping the larvae phase. Because of this, the salamanders don’t need water to reproduce so they lay their eggs on land. Females can lay up to 20 eggs at a time.

Populations of the Bell’s False Brook Salamander is dropping. Their habitat is being destroyed for cities, logging sites, and farms but scientists don’t believe that this is the primary cause of their decline. They are still uncertain about it.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Ringed Salamander (Ambystoma annulatum)

photo by Peter Paplanus

least concern

Common Name: Ringed Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma annulatum
Family: Ambystomatidae
Locations: Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma
Size: 10 inches max, generally 5.5 inches to 7 inches

The Ringed Salamander is found in the Ozark Plateau and Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Like most salamanders of the family Ambystomatidae, they are fossorial, spending most of their time hidden under ground, leaves, or logs. Hence why the family is often called the mole salamanders.

The best time to see the Ringed Salamander is fall from September to November, when they come out to breed. October is the best month to see them since that is when they are the most active breeding. Hundreds of individuals come to shallow, fish-less ponds to avoid any predators. Fertilization occurs internally. A day or two later, the females between 5 and 40 eggs on the bottom of the pond. Eggs hatch anywhere from 9 to 16 days after being laid.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Red-bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis)

Red_Bellied_Newt_(Taricha_rivularis)least concern

Common Name: Red-bellied Newt
Scientific Name: Taricha rivularis
Family: Salamandridae
Location: United States – California
Size: 3 inches

The Red-bellied Newt is found only in Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt counties of California. They are found in coastal redwood forests with rocky, cold, moderate to fast streams. The newt is mainly terrestrial until it comes to breeding, then they transform to become more aquatic with loose skin and a more flatter, wider tail. The Red-bellied Newt breeds in the same or close spot every year. After mating, females usually lay around 10 eggs under a rock or stone. The eggs take around 20-30 days to hatch and then undergo metamorphose in four months.

The Red-bellied Newt has a red belly to defend itself. When threatened by a predator, the newt will extend its limbs to the side to show the predator that they are poisonous. Sometimes, they will even kinda stand on two legs, lifting his front limbs and belly off the ground. They have enough poison in them to kill a human adult.


Other Amphibian of the Week

Gaboon Caecilian (Geotrypetes seraphini)

photo by Henk Wallays


Common Name: Gaboon Caecilian
Scientific Name: Geotrypetes seraphini
Family:  Dermophiidae
Locations: Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone
Size: 15.7 inches (400 mm)

The Gaboon Caecilian is an amphibian, not a snake, worm, or eel. Caecilians are adept at underground life and have characteristics that reflect that. They don’t have legs to help them move easier through the tunnels underground. They have poor eye sight because they don’t need to see well in the darkness of the underground world.

The Gaboon Caecilian is a viviparous species of caecilian, which means they give live birth to live young. They can give birth to up to four baby caecilians that can reach lengths of 3 inches. Water is not needed for breeding for caecilians.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Oriental Fire-bellied Newt (Cynops orientalis)

Common Name: Oriental Fire-bellied Newt
Scientific Name: Cynops orientalis
Family: Salamandridae
Location: China
Size: 3 inches

The Oriental Fire-bellied Newt is commonly found in ditches, ponds, and rice terraces in east Central China. Because the Oriental Fire-bellied Newts are common, they are harvested for the pet trade, research, and traditional Chinese medicine. The Chinese Fire-bellied Newt was   one of the most common newts in the pet trade but there is a problem.

The Chinese Fire-bellied Newt is a host for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), a fungal pathogen that has been wiping out salamander populations in Europe.  Because of the fear of introducing the disease to the US, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the Chinese Fire-bellied Newt and other species of salamanders on the injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. These species can not be imported into the US without permits now. Originally,  people were not even allowed to ship the newts and salamanders across state lines. People in the hobby pet trade were not happy about this. So, they fought the USFWS in court and won, making them able to move the salamanders and newts across state lines.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Patch-nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei)

a yellow Patch-nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei) sitting on some vegetation
photo by Todd Pierson

Common Name: Patch-nosed Salamander
Scientific Name: Urspelerpes brucei
Family: Plethodontidae – lungless salamanders
Locations: United States – Georgia and South Carolina
Size: 1 inch

The Patch-nosed Salamander is a relatively new species of salamander to science, only being described in 2009. It is the only species in its genus – Urspelerpes. They are closely related to the Brook Salamanders (genus Eurycea) but the Patch-nosed Salamander has five toes on their hind feet while the Brook Salamanders has only four. Males of the Patch-nosed Salamander have a bright yellow back with two dorsal stripes while the females have a blander yellow color with no stripes.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Taylor’s Salamander (Ambystoma taylori )

photo by Ruth Percino Daniel

Common Name: Taylor’s Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma taylori
Family: Ambystomatidae – Mole Salamander Family
Location: Mexico
Size: 2.3 – 4.4 inches

The Taylor’s Salamander is a neotenic salamander, found only in Laguna Alchichica, a crater lack, in Puebla, Mexico. The lake has very high salinity, at levels that would kill any other salamander species, but not the Taylor’s Salamander. It is somehow able to tolerate it. The Taylor’s Salamander faces difficulties in the lake. The water from the lake is being extracted for irrigation and drinking. The levels of the water is decreasing and the quality of the water is decreasing.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Corsican Fire Salamander (Salamandra corsica)

photo by André de Saint-Paul

Common Name: Corsican Fire Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandra corsica
Family:  Salamandridae
Size:12 inches max

The Corsican Fire Salamander is only found on the Corsica island near France. The salamander generally gives live birth to larvae in ponds and streams. There has been observations of the Corsican Fire Salamander giving birth to fully metamorphosed young.