Fire salamander

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

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.

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]