Fire salamander

The fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is possibly the best-known salamander species in Europe.

It is black with yellow spots or stripes to a varying degree; some specimens can be nearly completely black while on others the yellow is dominant. Shades of red and orange may sometimes appear, either replacing or mixing with the yellow according to subspecies.[2] Fire salamanders can have a very long lifespan; one specimen lived for more than 50 years in Museum Koenig, a German natural history museum.

Fire salamander
Salamandra salamandra MHNT 1
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Salamandridae
Genus: Salamandra
S. salamandra
Binomial name
Salamandra salamandra
Distribution of fire salamander
  • Lacerta salamandra Linnaeus, 1758

Habitat, behavior and diet

Fire salamanders live in central Europe forests and are more common in hilly areas. They prefer deciduous forests since they like to hide in fallen leaves and around mossy tree trunks. They need small brooks or ponds with clean water in their habitat for the development of the larvae. Whether on land or in water, fire salamanders are inconspicuous. They spend much of their time hidden under wood or other objects. They are active in the evening and the night, but on rainy days they are active in the daytime as well.[3]

The diet of the fire salamander consists of various insects, spiders, earthworms and slugs, but they also occasionally eat newts and young frogs. In captivity, they eat crickets, mealworms, waxworms and silkworm larvae. Small prey will be caught within the range of the vomerine teeth or by the posterior half of the tongue, to which the prey adheres. It weighs about 40 grams. The fire salamander can grow to be 15–25 centimetres (5.9–9.8 in) long.[4]


Males and females look very similar except during the breeding season when the most conspicuous difference is a swollen gland around the male's vent. This gland produces the spermatophore, which carries a sperm packet at its tip. The courtship happens on land. After the male becomes aware of a potential mate, he confronts her and blocks her path. The male rubs her with his chin to express his interest in mating, then crawls beneath her and grasps her front limbs with his own in amplexus. He deposits a spermatophore on the ground, then attempts to lower the female's cloaca into contact with it. If successful, the female draws the sperm packet in and her eggs are fertilized internally. The eggs develop internally and the female deposits the larvae into a body of water just as they hatch. In some subspecies, the larvae continue to develop within the female until she gives birth to fully formed metamorphs. Breeding has not been observed in neotenic fire salamanders.

In captivity, females may retain sperm long-term and use the stored sperm later to produce another clutch. This behavior has not been observed in the wild, likely due to the ability to obtain fresh sperm and the degradation of stored sperm.[5]


Samandarin structure

The fire salamander's primary alkaloid toxin, samandarin, causes strong muscle convulsions and hypertension combined with hyperventilation in all vertebrates. The poison glands of the fire salamander are concentrated in certain areas of the body, especially around the head and the dorsal skin surface. The coloured portions of the animal's skin usually coincide with these glands. Compounds in the skin secretions may be effective against bacterial and fungal infections of the epidermis; some are potentially dangerous to human life.


Video of a Fire Salamander in its natural habitat in Austria

Fire salamanders are found in most of southern and central Europe. They are most commonly found at altitudes between 250 metres (820 ft) and 1,000 metres (3,300 ft), only rarely below (in Northern Germany sporadically down to 25 metres (82 ft)). However, in the Balkans or Spain they are commonly found in higher altitudes as well.

Nominae Herpetofaunae Europaeae: Salamandra salamandra (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common names, by countries in alphabetical order:


Several subspecies of the fire salamander are recognized. Most notable are the subspecies fastuosa and bernadezi, which are the only viviparous subspecies – the others are ovoviviparous.

  • S. s. alfredschmidti
  • S. s. almanzoris
  • S. s. bejarae
  • S. s. bernardezi
  • S. s. beschkovi
  • S. s. crespoi
  • S. s. fastuosa (or bonalli) – yellow-striped fire salamander
  • S. s. gallaica – Portuguese fire salamander
  • S. s. gigliolii
  • S. s. morenica
  • S. s. salamandra – spotted fire salamander, nominate subspecies
  • S. s. terrestris – barred fire salamander
  • S. s. werneri

Some former subspecies have been lately recognized as species for genetic reasons.

Confirmed hosts of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans

The fire salamander is under threat or has been extinct in certain regions such as the south of the Netherlands and the East of Belgium by the propagation of mycose Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans origin.


Salamandra salamandra (Marek Szczepanek)
Feuersalamander schlafend1
Salamandara salamandra MHNT 3
Salamandra salamandra CZ
Feuersalamander rot1

Orange morph

Felsenmeer b Jägerfelsen

Typical habitat, Europe


  1. ^ Kuzmin, S.; Papenfuss, T.; Sparreboom, M.; Ugurtas, I.H.; Anderson, S.; Beebee, T.; Denoël, M.; Andreone, F.; Anthony, B.; Schmidt, B.; Ogrodowczyk, A.; Ogielska, M.; Bosch, J.; Tarkhnishvili, D.; Ishchenko, V. (2009). "Salamandra salamandra". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2009: e.T59467A11928351. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T59467A11928351.en. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  2. ^ Eric T.B. Francis (1934). "The anatomy of the Salamander". Oxford: Clarendon Press. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  3. ^ Vasco M. Tanner; Stephen L. Wood (1958). "Salamander". The Great Basin Naturalist. Phovo (Utah): Brigham Young University. pp. 97 –. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Griffiths, R (1996). Newts and Salamanders of Europe. London: Academic Press.
  5. ^ Steinfartz, S.; Stemshorn, K.; Kuesters, D.; Tautz, D. (30 November 2005). "Patterns of multiple paternity within and between annual reproduction cycles of the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) under natural conditions". Journal of Zoology. 268 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2005.00001.x.

Further reading

External links

Albano (river)

The Albano is a stream (or torrente) of Lombardy, Italy which flows through the province of Como. It rises from the Bocchetta di Sommafiume, in the commune of Germasino and runs eastwards through the Albano valley entering Lake Como at Dongo. Between the communes of Germasino and Dongo Albano passes through Garzeno.

The most common fish are brown trout (both Salmo trutta morpha fario and S. trutta morpha lacustris), rainbow trout, and chub. The fauna supported by the stream also include amphibians such as the fire salamander, and insects such as stream mayflies.


The Batrachia are a clade of amphibians that includes frogs and salamanders, as well as the extinct allocaudates, but not caecilians. The name Batrachia was first used by French zoologist Pierre André Latreille in 1800 to refer to frogs, but has more recently been defined in a phylogenetic sense as a node-based taxon that includes the last common ancestor of frogs and salamanders and all of its descendants. The idea that frogs and salamanders are more closely related to each other than either is to caecilians is strongly supported by morphological and molecular evidence, they are for instance the only vertebrates able to raise and lower their eyes, but an alternative hypothesis exists in which salamanders and caecilians are each other's closest relatives as part of a clade called the Procera, with frogs positioned as the sister taxon of this group.

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is a pathogenic chytrid fungus that infects amphibian species. salamanders and newts seem to be the most susceptible, however some anuran species are susceptible. Bsal has emerged recently and poses a major threat to species in Europe and North America.

It was described in 2013 based on a strain collected from skin tissue of fire salamanders Salamandra salamandra. The pathogen, unidentified up to then, had devastated fire salamander populations in the Netherlands. Molecular phylogenetics confirmed it as related to the well known chytrid B. dendrobatidis. Like this species, it causes chytridiomycosis, which is manifested in skin lesions and is lethal for the salamanders. Damage to the epidermal layer can be extensive and may result in osmoregulatory issues or sepsis.

Another study estimated that this species had diverged from B. dendrobatidis in the Late Cretaceous or early Paleogene. While initial susceptibility testing showed frogs and caecilians seemed to be resistant to Bsal infection, it was lethal to many European and some North American salamanders. East Asian salamanders were susceptible but able to tolerate infections. The fungus was also detected in a more-than-150-year-old museum specimen of the Japanese sword-tailed newt. This suggests it had originally emerged and co-evolved with salamanders in East Asia, forming its natural reservoir, and was introduced to Europe rather recently through the trade of species such as the fire belly newts as pets. The asian origin hypothesis for Bsal is supported by additional studies which have found Bsal in wild urodela populations in Asia and in animals of asian origin being transported via the pet trade.. Since the pathogens initial discovery, it has been found in several additional areas across Europe in both wild and captive populations. One study was able to detect Bsal in 7 of 11 captive urodele collections.

The description of this pathogen and its aggressiveness raised concern in the scientific community and the public, fearing that it might be a rising threat to Western hemisphere salamanders. On January 12, 2016, the U.S. government issued a directive that prohibited the importation of salamanders in order to reduce the threat posed by B. salamandrivorans.

Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve

Carmel Hai-Bar Nature Reserve is a 1,500-acre (610 ha) breeding and acclimation center administered by the Israel Nature Reserves and National Parks Authority, situated in the Carmel mountains in northwestern Israel, within the larger Mount Carmel National Park. The Carmel Hai-Bar is the Mediterranean climate counterpart of the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve which operates in the desert.

Endangered and extinct animals (which formerly lived in Israel) are bred here for possible reintroduction to the Mediterranean forest of northern Israel.

Some of the species bred here are:

Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)

Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica)

Mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella gazella)

Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus coxi)

White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

Fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata)

Corsican fire salamander

The Corsican fire salamander (Salamandra corsica) is a species of salamander in the family Salamandridae found only on the island of Corsica as an endemic species. In former times, this species was known as a subspecies of the widespread but continental-distributed fire salamander, which may appear quite similar.

Crna Glava

Crna Glava (Црна Глава)is a village in the municipality of Raška, Serbia. According to the 2002 census, the village has a population of 246 people. It's one of oldest places in Serbia, mentioned in Žiča in 'hrisovulja' from 1222.A.C. as 'Čisto brdo' which is a part of today's village.

Gorce Mountains

The Gorce Mountains (Polish: Gorce [ɡɔrˈt͡sɛ]) are part of the Western Beskids mountain range spreading across southernmost Poland. They are situated in Małopolska Province, at the western tip of the long Carpathian range extending east beyond the Dunajec River for some 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The Gorce are characterized by numerous ridges reaching in all directions for up to 40 kilometres (25 mi) east–west with a series of higher elevations cut by deep river valleys.The range is dominated by about a dozen gentle peaks including Turbacz (the highest, at 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) above sea level) in the centre, and – facing east: Jaworzyna Kamienicka (1,288 metres (4,226 ft)), Kiczora (1,282 metres (4,206 ft)), Kudłoń (1,276 metres (4,186 ft)), Przysłop, Czoło and Gorc Kamienicki. The south-eastern ridge of the Gorce reaches the Pieniny range (cut off by the Ochotnica pass), with Lubań (1,225 metres (4,019 ft)) as its tallest peak followed by Pasterski Wierch, Runek and Marszałek. The north-west ridges include Obidowiec, and the peak of Suhora (1,000 m (3,300 ft)) featuring an astronomical observatory owned and operated by the Pedagogical University of Kraków.There are a number of smaller caves in the Gorce, carved out in sedimentary rock and its conglomerates which form the Carpathian Flysch Belt. High annual rainfall is caused by the air forced up by the mountains and accumulating into clouds. Rain water flows fast in all directions due to dense ground and ground-cover; feeding the Raba river on the north-west side of the Gorce, and the Dunajec on the south-east side. Other rivers, formed by the mountains include the Kamienica (35 kilometres (22 mi) in length), the Ochotnica (24 kilometres (15 mi)) and the Porębianka (13 kilometres (8.1 mi)), as well as large streams such as the Turbacz, the Gorcowy and the Łopuszna among others. The main city is Nowy Targ on the Dunajec below in the valley of Podhale, with large recreational villages including Krościenko nad Dunajcem, Szczawa and Ochotnica.

Gorce National Park

Gorce National Park (Polish: Gorczański Park Narodowy) is a national park in Lesser Poland Voivodeship, southern Poland. It covers central and northeastern parts of the Gorce Mountains, which are part of the Western Beskids (at the western end of the Carpathian range).

The first steps to protect this land go back to 1927, when a forest reserve was set up on land owned by Count Ludwik Wodzicki of Poręba Wielka. The National Park was created in 1981, then covering 23.9 square kilometres. Today, the area of the park has grown to 70.3 km2 (27.1 sq mi), of which 65.91 km² is forested. The area of the protective zone around the park is 166.47 km². The park lies within Limanowa County and Nowy Targ County, and has its headquarters in Poręba Wielka.

The Gorce range is dominated by arched peaks and river valleys which cut into the range. There are a few small caves and obviously - several peaks such as Turbacz (the highest - 1310 meters above sea level), Jaworzyna Kamienicka, Kiczora, Kudłoń, Czoło Turbacza and Gorc Kamienicki. Waters cover only 0.18 km² of park’s area - there are no lakes or big rivers, only streams.

List of amphibians of Metropolitan France

This is a list of amphibians of Metropolitan France. For the amphibians of Overseas departments and territories of France, see List of amphibians of Guadeloupe or List of amphibians of Martinique, List of amphibians of French Guiana, List of amphibians of French Polynesia, List of amphibians of Réunion and List of amphibians of Mayotte.

Species include:

frogsRana arvalis, the moor frogtoadsBufo bufo, the common toadsalamandersSalamandra salamandra, the fire salamandernewtsLissotriton vulgaris, the common newt

List of national parks of Hungary

Hungary has ten national parks which cover approximately 10 percent of the country's territory. The parks are managed by the National Parks of Hungary government agency (Hungarian: Nemzeti park igazgatóság).


Lurchi is the advertising comic character of the German Salamander shoe factories. He is a fire salamander.

His adventures are told (in German) in small booklets titled Lurchis Abenteuer (Lurchi's adventures). They are targeted mainly at primary schoolers, written in calligraphic handwriting in simple rhyming couplets.

Moslavačka gora

Moslavačka Gora is a small mountain range located in central Croatia at the borders of Bjelovar-Bilogora County and Sisak–Moslavina County. They belong to the sunken boulder Highlands of palaeogeological origin, rich in mineral resources (granite, and oil and gas). The highest peak is Humka at 489 m. Other prominent peaks include Vis (444 m) Kaluđerov grob (437 m) and Mjesec (Moon) (354 m). The area of Moslavačka Gora is about 1350 km2.

The Moslavačka mountains are covered with dense forests of beech, sessile oak, hornbeam, chestnut, black alder and birch, and in the lower regions there are cultivated orchards and vineyards. The southern slopes are particularly impressive.

Prehistoric elephants (such as Gomphotherium angustidens, Prodeinotherium bavaricum and rhinoceroses fossils (Brachypotherium brachypus) were found inside the oldest sediments in bentonite clay mine near the village Gornja Jelenska in 1994 around 17 million years and are among the oldest on the European continent. There are several quarries, some of them abandoned. The most important include Pleterac and Mikleuška.

Rare and endangered plants that grow here include: star sedge (Carex echinata) and Lesser Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera bifolia). In the watercourses live endangered fish such as the white chub (Leuciscus cavedanus), and amphibians include the fire Salamander, Agile Frog and Yellow-bellied toad.

In the Moslavačka Gora area, there are remains of ancient fortifications, of which the best known is Garić-grad, built by Ban Stjepan Šubić in 1256 AD.The area has been protected since 2007, having been classified as a regional park.

Moslavačka Gora has very interesting geological features and rich geological heritage. Characteristic is the appearance of various igneous and metamorphic rocks in interesting structural relationships.

National Parks of Poland

There are 23 national parks in Poland. These were formerly run by the Polish Board of National Parks (Polish: Krajowy Zarząd Parków Narodowych), but in 2004 responsibility for them was transferred to the Ministry of the Environment. Most national parks are divided into strictly and partially protected zones. Additionally, they are usually surrounded by a protective buffer zone called otulina.

In Poland, as amended by the Nature Conservation Act, 2004, a national park "covers an area of outstanding environmental, scientific, social, cultural and educational value, with an area of not less than 1000 ha, which protects the whole of the nature and qualities of the landscape. A national park is created to preserve biodiversity, resources, objects and elements of inanimate nature and landscape values, to restore the proper state of natural resources and components and to reconstruct distorted natural habitats, plants, habitats of animals and habitats of fungi."

The area of a national park is divided into different zones using separate methods of conservation. There are strict protection zones, as well as active and landscape-related ones.

The areas bordering national parks have been designated as buffer zones. The buffer zone can include protective areas of game animals, in which hunting is not permitted. National parks are available to visit, but only in designated areas, and along specific trails, roads, and paths.

National Parks of Poland are funded from the central budget. They are managed by the directors, as an advisory body to the council of the park. On April 30, 2004 parks were supervised by the National Board of National Parks. From 1 May 2004, the duties were taken over by the Ministry of the Environment - Department of Forestry, Nature Conservation and Landscape and since January 19, 2007 by the Independent Department for Natura 2000 Areas and National Parks. After the establishment of GDOŚ and RDOŚ on October 15, 2008, the supervision of the parks is exercised by the Conservation Department of the Ministry of the Environment.

The Polish national parks have carried out numerous research programs and they play an important role in the ecological education of the society. The national parks can be visited as they provide a well-developed tourism infrastructure. Many of them offer specially prepared trails, educational centres and natural history museums.

Near Eastern fire salamander

The near Eastern fire salamander or arouss al ayn (Salamandra infraimmaculata) is a species of salamander in the family Salamandridae found in Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. Its natural habitats are subtropical dry shrubland and forests, often near rivers and freshwater springs. It is threatened by habitat loss.

North African fire salamander

The North African fire salamander (Salamandra algira) is a species of salamander in the family Salamandridae found in Algeria, Morocco, Spain, and possibly Tunisia. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, rivers, and caves. It is threatened by habitat loss.


For the grass moth genus, see Pyrausta (moth).Pyrausta (also called pyrallis, pyragones) is a mythological insect-sized dragon from Cyprus. It resembles a four-legged insect with filmy wings and a dragon's head. It lived in the fire like a salamander and died if it went away from the fire.


Salamandra is a genus of six species of salamanders localized in central and southern Europe, Northern Africa, and western Asia.

Saliencia Lakes

Saliencia Lakes are a conjoined group of post-glacial lakes in Somiedo, Asturias, Spain. They are situated in the Somiedo Natural Park and are composed of the following: Calabazosa (or Black Lake), Cerveriz, Almagrera Lagoon (or La Mina), and Lago de la Cueva. Lago del Valle, at 5,085 feet (1,550 m) above sea level, is the largest in the group and is the principality's largest lake. Fauna in the lake valley includes the presence of Eurasian brown bear, Otter, Egyptian vulture and Golden eagle. The majority of amphibians inside the park are found by these lakes, including Alpine newt, Palmate newt, Fire salamander, common toad, Common midwife toad, Common frog, and the Iberian frog. The lakes are protected space within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of Somiedo Natural Park, declared a natural monument on 22 May 2003. Myth has it that the lakes are guarded by xanas (fairy princesses).


Samandarin or Samandarine is the main steroidal alkaloid secreted by the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra). The compound is extremely toxic (LD50 = 70 µg/kg in mice). Poisoning can cause convulsions, respiratory paralysis, and eventual death. Samandarin is also believed to be the active ingredient in Salamander brandy, a Slovenian drink with purported hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac effects.

Salamanders in the Salamandra genus


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