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Lungless Salamanders: Plethodontidae - Bell's Salamander (pseudoeurycea Bellii): Species Accounts

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Physical characteristics: Bell's salamanders are the largest lungless salamanders and almost the largest land-dwelling salamanders. They reach a length of nearly 14 inches (36 centimeters) from tip of snout to tip of tail. Bell's salamanders are shiny dark black and have a pair of red to reddish orange spots on the back of the head and paired rows of red to reddish orange spots along the back. There is usually a V-shaped mark at the beginning of the paired rows of spots. The tail is large and long. The legs are long and sturdy.


Geographic range: Bell's salamanders live in northern and central Mexico, usually at heights greater than 4,000 feet (1,220 meters) above sea level.

Bell's salamanders are the largest lungless salamanders and almost the largest land-dwelling salamanders. (Illustration by Gillian Harris. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: Bell's salamanders live only on land under large surface objects such as logs and rocks in moist woods. They use burrows in the ground and can be found in holes in the sloping mounds of earth that line roadbeds in some areas.


Diet: Scientists believe Bell's salamanders eat insects, which they catch with a flick of their long, fast tongue.


Behavior and reproduction: Bell's salamanders are active at night. The females lay batches of more than twenty large eggs. Other than that scientists do not know how these salamanders behave or reproduce.


Bell's salamanders and people: Bell's salamanders have no known importance to people.


Conservation status: The IUCN lists Bell's salamanders as Vulnerable or facing high risk of extinction in the wild. ∎


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Books:

Bernhard, Emery. Salamanders. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Griffiths, R. A. Newts and Salamanders of Europe. San Diego: Academic Press, 1996.

Gunzi, Christiane. Amphibians and Reptiles of North America. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay, 1995.

Lawlor, Elizabeth P. Discover Nature in Water and Wetlands. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole, 2000.

Llamas Ruiz, Andres. Reptiles and Amphibians: Birth and Growth. New York: Sterling, 1996.

Petranka, J. W. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998.


Periodicals:

Cohn, Jeffrey P. "Meet the Salamander." Americas (English Edition) (November-December 1993): 3.


Web sites:

"Aneides lugubris: Arboreal Salamander." San Diego Natural History Museum. http://www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/herps/anei-lug.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

"Arboreal Salamander, Aneides lugubris." Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/narcam/idguide/aneidelu.htm (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Bartholomew, P. "Aneides lugubris." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Aneides_lugubris.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Heying, H. "Plethodontidae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Plethodontidae.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Munger, M. "Eurycea rathbuni." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eurycea_rathbuni.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

"Northern Two-lined Salamander: Eurycea bislineata." Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/narcam/idguide/eurybis.htm (accessed on April 11, 2005).

Vanwormer, E. "Eurycea bislineata." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Eurycea_bislineata.html (accessed on April 11, 2005).

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