WHAT IS A SALAMANDER?
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)