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Salamanders

Blue-Tailed Fire-Bellied Newt

(Chuxiong Fire-Bellied Newt)

These little salamanders are blue green to brown on their backs with orange spots on their stomachs, edges of their mouths, and behind their eyes. They have a rounded snout and are covered in little bumps all over their bodies. Females have a bluish tail tip with black or brown spots.

Range/Habitat:

The Chuxiong fire-bellied newt is found in southwest China. They inhabit ponds in mixed forests and paddy fields.

Size:

Length: 3-4in.

Also called the Cyan Newt.

IUCN lists as a species of least concern. This newt is very common in some parts of its range and uncommon in others. They are threatened by habitat and degradation, water pollution, chemical and pesticides. Thankfully, they seem to be fairly hardy when it comes to drought and acidic water. Some are collected for the pet trade.

Conservation Actions:

It occurs in the Kunming Lake National Reserve and other protected areas.

Lesser Siren

These large salamanders which lack hind legs but have forelimbs with 3 toes on each foot. They are olive green to grayish blue or black and have exposed gill tufts.

Habitat/Range:

These Sirens can be found in the southern and central United States. They do not have to live in a permanent body of water such as a lake because if the water dries up they will simply burrow into the bottom and aestivate.

Size:

Length: 7-27in.

If their water source dries up, this species can burrow into the mud and survive for months. Its body will secrete a substance that acts as a cocoon to protect the siren from drying out.

This species has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List.

Conservation Action:

Some states may list them as threatened or endangered.

Tiger Salamander

So named for its yellow spots and stripes these salamanders have well-built legs, large heads, a broad, rounded snouts and small eyes. Their flat tails have a ridge on top and they have dark brown to gray or black body with their underside having yellow markings on darker body. Male tiger salamanders have longer, more flattened tails and longer hind legs; they also have a swollen vent during the breeding season. The males tend to be smaller than the females. Their larvae tend to be olive-green or yellowish-green with darker spots on their back and a white belly. They also have a lighter stripe along the side of the body and feathery gills.

Habitat/Range:

As the largest and most widespread terrestrial salamander in North America, these salamanders have a wide range of habitats, these include woodlands, grassland, marshes, fields and deserts. Generally they require areas with soil suitable for burrowing and prefer water for breeding purposes.

Behavior:

These salamanders are largely terrestrial and spend the majority of their lives underground in burrows they either built themselves or were from another animal.

  • Sometimes, tiger salamander larvae change into a ‘cannibal’ morph which has longer teeth and allow it to feed on other larvae.
  • Fishermen use tiger salamanders as bait.

Least Concern. One threat that these salamanders face is the introduction of fish to its breeding areas because the fish eat its eggs and tadpoles. However, they have also become an invasive species themselves in some areas.

Conservation Action:

It occurs in several protected areas and some states have management plans for this species.

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