Newts and European Salamanders: Salamandridae - European Fire Salamander (salamandra Salamandra): Species Accounts
Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansNewts and European Salamanders: Salamandridae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Smooth Newt (triturus Vulgaris): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, EUROPEAN SALAMANDERS NEWTS AND PEOPLE
Physical characteristics: European fire salamanders have a variety of colors and skin patterns. Some of these salamanders are black with yellow markings, and some are yellow with black or red or orange spots or stripes. They reach a length of 11 inches (28 centimeters) from tip of snout to tip of tail. Females are slightly larger than males. The legs are short and stout with broad toes, and the tail is tube-shaped and shorter than the body. European fire salamanders have two rows of poison glands along the sides of the body and a cluster of poison glands on each side of the head behind the eyes.
Geographic range: European fire salamanders live in Europe.
Habitat: European fire salamanders live in burrows in deciduous forests and, sometimes, in coniferous forests at heights of 656 to 3,280 feet (200 to 1,000 meters). Coniferous (koh-NIH-fuh-russ) forests are made up of trees that bear their seeds inside cones. Deciduous (dih-SIH-juh-wuhs) forests are made up of trees that lose their leaves during cold or dry seasons.
Diet: European fire salamanders eat worms, insects, insect larvae, and slugs.
Behavior and reproduction: European fire salamanders are active at night. When conditions are damp, these salamanders come out of their burrows to look for food. After metamorphosis European fire salamanders live entirely on land. They defend the ground around their burrows against intrusion by neighbors. The striking color patterns on these salamanders act as warning signs. When attacked, fire salamanders squirt toxin from their skin glands over a great distance.
During mating, which takes place on land, a male European fire salamander grasps a female from below. He stimulates the female with glands on his head, and when the female is ready he deposits a sperm bag. The male then flips his tail to one side so that the female falls onto the sperm bag. The sperm enter the female's body and unite with eggs. Larvae develop inside the eggs, and the female lays the eggs in ponds or streams in batches of twelve to fifty. In a few high-altitude populations, the larvae stay in the female throughout development and are released having the adult body form. During development in the female, larvae may eat smaller siblings. As a result, only a few salamanders in each batch of eggs complete development.
European fire salamanders and people: European fire salamanders have no known importance to people.
Conservation status: European fire salamanders are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎
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