Monday, January 12, 2009

Salamander Spotlight #2 - What?


Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium)

If you look around, a lot of people use the word "salamander" for animals, which often, are not actually salamanders. This begs the question then, "what is a salamander?" Let's start off with the idea that THEY ARE NOT LIZARDS! Now we can proceed...

They are Amphibians (not Reptiles):

- Slimy skin, without scales
- No teeth, nor claws
- Eggs without shells, laid in water
- Young are Larvae (tadpoles) and undergo metamorphosis into adult reproductive form
- Ectothermic ("cold blooded")
- none are Marine (salt water)

Egg Mass of Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

Larva of Marbled Salamander (A. opacum)


- Order Urodela ( or CAUDATA)
- Salamander larvae have external gills, which most lose during metamorphosis.
- Some adults have lungs, and some breathe only through the skin and mouth lining. Some retain their external gills through adulthood (utilizing oxygen from both air and water).
- Some have lizard like bodies, and some are rather eel like (lacking all 4 limbs).
- Adults are usually Carnivorous.

Texas Blind Cave Salamander (Typhlomolge rathbuni)

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