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Newts and European Salamanders: Salamandridae

Golden-striped Salamander (chioglossa Lusitanica): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Golden-striped salamanders reach a length of 6 inches (16 centimeters) from tip of snout to tip of tail. The body and tail are long and thin. The tail makes up about two-thirds of the total length of the animal. Golden-striped salamanders are dark brown and have two golden brown stripes on the back that join to form one stripe on the tail. On some salamanders, the stripes are broken into lines of spots. Golden-striped salamanders have a long, narrow head, large eyes, and a long, sticky tongue for catching prey.

Geographic range: Golden-striped salamanders live in Europe in northern Portugal and the northwestern part of Spain.

Habitat: Golden-striped salamanders live in wet, mountainous areas.

Golden-striped salamanders release a milky poison from their skin when attacked. (Illustration by Gillian Harris. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Golden-striped salamanders eat flies and other insects.

Behavior and reproduction: Golden-striped salamanders are active at night only when it is damp and thus only in areas where there is heavy rainfall. They are dormant underground or in caves during the winter and also are dormant during dry periods in the summer. If attacked, golden-striped salamanders can run quickly. If caught, they can break off their tails. The tail regrows but never reaches its original length. When they are attacked, golden-striped salamanders release a milky poison from their skin.

Golden-striped salamanders spend most of their lives on land but breed in water. Males develop swellings on the upper parts of their front legs during the breeding season. The females lay clumps of as many as twenty eggs in summer or autumn under rocks in springs and streams. The larvae spend the winter in the water.

Golden-striped salamanders and people: Golden-striped salamanders have no known importance to people.

Conservation status: The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists golden-striped salamanders as Low Risk/Near Threatened because of habitat loss due to land drainage, replacement of natural forest by farms, and pollution from farming chemicals. This means they are at risk of becoming threatened with extinction in the future. ∎



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Web sites:

"Cynops (Tschudi, 1839) Fire Belly Newts." Livingunderworld.org. http://www.livingunderworld.org/caudata/database/salamandridae/cynops (accessed on April 7, 2005).

"Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)." ARKive. http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/amphibians/Triturus_cristatus/more_info.html (accessed on April 7, 2005).

Heying, H. "Salamandridae." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Salamandridae.html (accessed on April 7, 2005).

"Newts." Kids Ark. http://web.ukonline.co.uk/conker/newts.htm#morenewts (accessed on April 7, 2005).

"Salamandridae (Goldfuss, 1820) Newts and True Salamanders." Livingunderworld.org. http://www.livingunderworld.org/caudata/families/#salamandridae (accessed on April 7, 2005).

"Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris)." ARKive. http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/amphibians/Triturus_vulgaris/more_info.html (accessed on April 7, 2005).

Sydlowski, R. "Salamandra salamandra." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Salamandra_salamandra.html (accessed on April 7, 2005).

"Triturus (Rafinesque, 1815), Mesotriton (Bolkay, 1927), and Lissotriton (Bell, 1839)." Livingunderworld.org. http://www.livingunderworld.org/caudata/database/salamandridae/triturus (accessed on April 7, 2005).

Additional topics

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