Also known as the pygmy marbled newt, the southern marbled newt is a species of salamander found throughout Portugal and parts of Spain. Like most newts the southern marbled newt is commonly found near rivers, marshes, temperate forests and moist areas where it hunts for insects, worms and other invertebrates. The southern marbled newt once was though to be a subspecies of the marbled newt T.marmoratus but recent molecular data suggested other wise and it is now its own species. Currently the southern marbled newt is listed as near threatened due to habitat loss.
I awakened to a hard March rain heralded by blustery but warm southern breezes. The snow that had fallen the previous day had melted and the rain had already made noticeable inroads on the crusted layer that lay beneath. Would this rainy night, I wondered, be the night — the night the spotted salamanders emerged from brumation and accessed their breeding ponds?…
Also known as the Anatolian Newt, strauch’s spotted newt is a species of salamander found only in Anatolian plateau in Turkey. Like most salamanders the Anatolian newt is commonly found in small streams and rivers where it preys nocturnally on annelids, insect larvae and small arthropods. During the mating season male Strauch’s spotted newts perform an elaborate mating display, which involves tail-fanning and other movements, to secure a mate.
Arboreal lungless salamander (Bolitoglossa striatula), family Plethodontidae, El Zota, Costa Rica
” On a night hike we found an individual of this beautiful species foraging on a banana leaf near a marshy grassland, its preferred habitat. This was my first tropical salamander!
Note the webbed feet, which help many tropical salamanders suction themselves to smooth, wet surfaces. Some Italian plethodontid salamanders have similar foot morphology to accomplish similar suction in wet cave habitats.”
This publication serves as a complete update for the most recent list of scientific and standard English names of North American amphibians and reptiles north of Mexico. Unlike the previous update (op.cit.), the list is a stand alone volume. This edition includes new taxa described since the previous publication and any taxonomic changes that have led to name changes, both English and scientific. As in previous versions, annotations are given to explain such changes.
Salamander DNA reveals evidence of older land connection between Central and South America
by Smithsonian staff
The two continents are generally believed to have been joined together around three million years ago by the formation of a land bridge–what is now Panama–that sealed up the sea channel between them.
However, a new study of salamanders in South America by a research team lead by Kathryn Elmer of the University of Glasgow, has found evidence that challenges these assumptions and supports a controversial claim by Carlos Jaramillo, a paleontologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, that most of the Isthmus of Panama was formed around 23 million years ago.
The fusion of both land masses led to a two-way migration of animals called the ‘Great American Biotic Interchange’, where animals that had previously evolved separately moved between the two continents, increasing the biodiversity in both regions.
The relative dearth of species of salamander in South America–around 30–compared to Central America, where there are more than 300 species, is usually attributed to the relatively short time the tiny amphibians have had to make their way south down the Isthmus of Panama–a thin strip of land only 30 miles wide at its narrowest point.
However, using DNA analysis, Elmer found that salamanders in South America had much greater genetic divergence from their Central American cousins than should be expected if salamanders migrated across a three- million-year-old land bridge…
Volunteers help amphibians cross roads during busy migration season
by Andre Malak/Star Ledger
As night falls on Alamuchy State Forest, in New Jersey, a remarkable event takes place that few are aware off. The forest comes alive with the annual amphibian migration. Salamanders, frogs and toads emerge from their winter slumber in the forest, and begin to make the journey down hill to breeding pools created from spring run off. Among the busiest migration sites in the state is Waterloo Road in Byrum Township.
To help increase the odds of surviving the trip past the road, a group of volunteers led my biologist MacKenzie Hall from the Conserve Wildlife foundation, help the animals across. During the first two nights of rescue efforts this season at this location, 1,184 animals were moved. Roadkill was kept to about 15%. Without the volunteers, mortality numbers would have been far greater.
The beautiful amphibian from Hell: scientists discover new crocodile newt in Vietnam
by Jeremy Hance
Researchers have discovered a new species of Vietnamese salamander that looks like it was birthed from an abyssal volcano. Found tucked away in Tokyo’s National Museum of Nature and Science, the scientists described the species in the new edition of Current Herpetology.
Coal-black with orange-tinted toes, the new crocodile newt (in the genus Tylototriton) was determined to be a new species when it showed morphological and genetic differences from near relatives. Despite its remarkable appearance, the researchers say these are typical colors for crocodile newts.
The scientists named the new species Ziegler’s crocodile newt (Tylototriton ziegleri) after Thomas Ziegler of Cologne Zoo who works with reptiles and amphibians in Vietnam. The new species is small, with males measuring 5.4 to 6.8 (2 to 2.6 in) cm and females measuring 7.1 cm (2.7 in). While genetic testing proved that it was a new species, the morphological differences were key…
… is found only in underground cave systems along the San Marcos Fault near San Marcos, Texas. Because it lives most or all of its life in darkness, its eyes are vestigal, underdeveloped and hidden below its pigmentless skin. Also due to its unique habitat and the lack of defined seasons, reproduction may take place year-round.
Most salamanders lose their external gills in adulthood, but the Texas Blind Salamander is neotenic, meaning adults retain the characteristics of juveniles (in this case, the feathery gills and aquatic habits). Its limited range and difficult-to-access habitat mean that much remains unknown about this ghost-like salamander, but it probably feeds on snails and crustaceans that flow into the caves by underground creeks.
Giant salamanders (Andrias davidianus), which can grow to more than 5 feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds, actually displace their jawbones to generate suction and slurp up prey, reports a study published March 5 in Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
“Giant salamanders have an extremely powerful suction strike,” said study coauthor Egon Heiss of the University of Antwerp. Heiss suggests that other aquatic organisms with reduced or reorganized gills (meaning…. what?), such as whales, might use a similar mechanism to vacuum up meals.
Hunted for food and folk medicine, and faced with habitat pollution and destruction, Chinese giant salamanders — though magnificent and terrifying — are critically endangered, with some estimates suggesting a more than 80 percent population reduction since 1960.