An introduction to the nature of the salamander

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An introduction to the nature of the salamander

This action causes the ribs to puncture the body wall, each rib protruding through an orange wart arranged in a lateral row. This may provide an aposematic signal that makes the spines more visible.

When the danger has passed, the ribs retract and the skin heals. Yellow, orange, and red are the colors generally used, often with black for greater contrast.

Sometimes, the animal postures if attacked, revealing a flash of warning hue on its underside. The red eft, the brightly colored terrestrial juvenile form of the eastern newt Notophthalmus viridescensis highly poisonous. It is avoided by birds and snakes, and can survive for up to 30 minutes after being swallowed later being regurgitated.

Predators that previously fed on it have been shown to avoid it after encountering red efts, an example of Batesian mimicry. In California, the palatable yellow-eyed salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii closely resembles the toxic California newt Taricha torosa and the rough-skinned newt Taricha granulosawhereas in other parts of its range, it is cryptically colored.

The tail drops off and wriggles around for a while after an attack, and the salamander either runs away or stays still enough not to be noticed while the predator is distracted. The tail regrows with time, and salamanders routinely regenerate other complex tissues, including the lens or retina of the eye.

Within only a few weeks of losing a piece of a limb, a salamander perfectly reforms the missing structure. Their resemblance to lizards is the result of symplesiomorphytheir common retention of the primitive tetrapod body plan, and they are no more closely related to lizards than they are to mammals.

Their nearest relatives are the frogs and toads, within Batrachia.

An introduction to the nature of the salamander

The earliest known salamander fossils have been found in geological deposits in China and Kazakhstandated to the middle Jurassic period around million years ago. They do not extend north of the Arctic tree linewith the northernmost Asian species, Salamandrella keyserlingii occurring in the Siberian larch forests of Sakha and the most northerly species in North America, Ambystoma lateralereaching no farther north than Labrador and Taricha granulosa not beyond the Alaska Panhandle.

However, possible salamander fossils have been found on the Australian sites of Riversleigh [50] and Murgon. There are about living species of salamander.

An introduction to the nature of the salamander

The highest concentration of these is found in the Appalachian Mountains region, where the Plethodontidae are thought to have originated in mountain streams.

Here, vegetation zones and proximity to water are of greater importance than altitude. Only species that adopted a more terrestrial mode of life have been able to disperse to other localities.


The northern slimy salamander Plethodon glutinosus has a wide range and occupies a habitat similar to that of the southern gray-cheeked salamander Plethodon metcalfi. Sexual selection in amphibians Sierra newt amplexus found in stream at Woolman Semester in Nevada County, California Salamanders are not vocal and in most species the sexes look alike, so they use olfactory and tactile cues to identify potential mates, and sexual selection does occur.

Pheromones play an important part in the process and may be produced by the abdominal gland in males and by the cloacal glands and skin in both sexes. Males are sometimes to be seen investigating potential mates with their snouts. In Old World newts, Triturus spp.Creuse Nature lies in the Limousin region in the department Creuse in the middle of unspoilt France, just km from the UK.

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