Other Amphibian of the Week

Oriental Fire-bellied Newt (Cynops orientalis)

leastconcern
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.

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Other Amphibian of the Week

Taylor’s Salamander (Ambystoma taylori )

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photo by Ruth Percino Daniel

CR
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)

Salamandra_corsica
photo by André de Saint-Paul

leastconcern
Common Name: Corsican Fire Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandra corsica
Family:  Salamandridae
Location:France
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.

New Species, Uncategorized

New Siren Species: the Reticulated Siren

reticulatedsiren.jpg
photo by Pierson Hill

A new species of siren was discovered in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle. There were rumors about an undiscovered large, spotted salamander that lived in the area. A few samples of the species was recovered back in the 1970s but people thought they were just bizarre Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). The species was re-discovered by former Herper of the Week, David Steen Ph.D., when he was trapping turtles on a military base in Florida. He noticed that it was different from other sirens he has seen. Steen and other researchers (Sean P Graham, Richard Kline, Crystal Kelehear) performed genetic tests and found it to be its own species. They named it the Reticulated Siren because of its color pattern.

One of the interesting facts about the new Siren is its size. Its a large salamander, with average size of the specimens collected being around a foot long but some were two feet long. It is one of the largest animals discovered in North America in over a hundred years. You are probably wondering how a two foot long salamander hasn’t been discovered until now. Sirens are a fully aquatic species and live in murky waters, making them hard to see. With the discovery of the Reticulated Siren, the Siren Family, Sirenidae, there are now 5 different species but who knows? There could be even more hiding.

You can read the full article here – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0207460

Other Amphibian of the Week

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

California_Tiger_Salamander.jpg
photo by John Cleckler

vulnerable
Common Name: California Tiger Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma californiense
Family: Ambystomatidae
Location: United States – California
Size: 8 inches

The California Tiger Salamander is a federally listed endangered species and a federally listed threatened species. The salamanders in  Sonoma County and Santa Barbara are endangered while the salamanders in Central Valley are listed as threatened. They are listed mainly because the habitats they call home have been destroyed to make room for farm land and cities. Other threats are invasive American Bullfrogs are known to eat the California Tiger Salamander and mosquitofish, which are used to manager mosquito levels, also eat them.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl)

1280px-Pleurodeles_waltl_BUD
photo by wikiuser Pengo

nearthreatened
Common Name: Iberian Ribbed Newt, Spanish Ribbed Newt
Scientific Name: Pleurodeles waltl
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Morocco, Portugal, and Spain
Size: 1 foot

The Iberian Ribbed Newt is a fascinating species of newt. They have the ability to puncture their ribs out of their sides to protect themselves with little damage to themselves. They are able to survive this damage because of their regenerative abilities.  They can also regrow limbs. The Iberian Ribbed Newt has also been to space at least six times. Apparently, they make a good model organism, especially in space.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)

6420
photo by Henk Wallays

leastconcern
Common Name: Blue Spotted Salamander
Scientific Name: Ambystoma laterale
Family: Ambystomatidae
Location: Canada and USA
US Location: Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Vermont,and Wisconsin
Size: 5 inches

The Blue Spotted Salamander is a beautiful salamander that is found in the Southeastern Canada and Northeastern United States of America. It is a member of the family Ambystomatidae which is known as the Mole Salamanders. They received this nickname due to the fact that they spend most of their life in burrows in the ground. The Blue Spotted Salamander does come out of these burrows in the spring when it is time to mate. They migrate to ponds to breed where they can lay as many as 200 eggs. It takes around a month for the eggs to hatch and then it takes the rest of the summer for them to finalize their metamorphism. Then they head onto land, only to return back to a pond in a few years to breed.

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Northern Spectacled Salamander (Salamandrina perspicillata)

1571.jpeg
photo by Luca Tringali

leastconcern
Common Name: Northern Spectacled Salamander
Scientific Name: Salamandrina perspicillata
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Italy
Size: 1.3 inches for Snout to Vent, 3.3 inches for Total Length

The Northern and Southern Spectacled Salamander used to be only one species until they were split in 2005 due to genetics. The Northern Spectacled Salamander lives in the northern and central parts of Italy while the Southern Spectacled Salamander lives in the southern part of Italy.

The Northern Spectacled Salamander is a terrestrial species of salamander that is active during the night. They can live up to 15 years. When a predator approaches the salamander, they curl into a ring to show off their red bellies. This shows off that they are not good to eat.

 

 

Other Amphibian of the Week

Japanese Giant Salamander (Andrias japonicus)

photo by photo by V31S70

nearthreatened
Common Name: Japanese Giant Salamander
Scientific Name: Andrias japonicus
Family: Cryptobranchidae
Location: Japan
Size: around 5 feet long

The Japanese Giant Salamander is the 2nd largest salamander in the world. It can reach around 5 feet long and can reach over 50 pounds. The salamander can live over 50 years old. The habitat of the Japanese Giant Salamander is threatened by dams and other projects so their numbers are dropping.

Spawning takes place during early fall. It can take 10 years for salamanders to reach reproductive maturity. Male Japanese Giant Salamanders try to find the best nesting sites and then will sit and protect them from other males. Females select the best nesting sites for their eggs and lay them there. The females can lay between 400 to 600 eggs at a time. The male then protects the eggs for up to 7 months.