1 minute read

Asiatic Salamanders: Hynobiidae

Physical Characteristics

Asiatic salamanders are small to medium-sized salamanders. Most of these salamanders are 4 to 10 inches (10 and 25 centimeters) long, although some species grow to a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters). Most of these salamanders are dull sandy brown to dark olive, but a few species have colorful spots on their backs.

There are two main groups of Asiatic salamanders. One group lays a large number of eggs, and the larvae (LAR-vee), or animals in an early stage, spend one year in development before metamorphosis (MEH-tuh-MORE-feh-sis), or a change in body form to become an adult, is finished. The other group lays a much smaller number of eggs, and the larvae take two to three years to go through metamorphosis.

Some Asiatic salamanders that live in mountain streams have a hard structure on their toes. One species has claws. Some species have a horny covering on their feet. These structures and coverings help the salamanders grasp the ground. Some Asiatic salamanders have four instead of five toes. The arrangement of the teeth, which are located on the roof of the mouth, is an important characteristic for identifying the genus (JEE-nus) and species (SPEE-seez) of Asiatic salamanders. Some species of Asiatic salamanders have very small lungs, and others have no lungs at all. The small size or lack of lungs may be part of the salamanders' water-dwelling lifestyle. The larvae of Asiatic salamanders have four pairs of gill slits. Gills are organs for obtaining oxygen from water.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansAsiatic Salamanders: Hynobiidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Hokkaido Salamander (hynobius Retardatus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, ASIATIC SALAMANDERS AND PEOPLE