The appearence of this species is quite different among subspecies; Salamandra infraimmaculata infraimmaculata is large (up to 324 mm), and has big yellow dots over the whole body, except the belly. Usually there are four yellow spots on the head; one on each paratoid and one above each eye. S. i. orientalis is in appearence about the same as S. i. infraimmaculata, but has small, yellow spots over the whole body, exept the belly. The validity of this subspecies is questioned. S. i. semenovi is large, and has rose-like, round spots over the whole body. The head is fairly round.
This is the largest fire salamander species; it can reach a length of 324 mm. The females are usually larger than males. This species has no coloration on the belly, the underside is completely black.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey
The distribution of this species is not clear. S. i. infraimmaculata lives in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and south-east Turkey. S. i. orientalis lives in central southern Turkey; the type locality is Findikpinar, near Adana. Finally, S. i. semenovi lives in Turkey (Kurdistan) and the Zagros mountain range.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Little is known about these subjects. Because S. i. infraimmaculata lives in hotter areas than S. salamandra, it can be assumed that S. i. infraimmaculata is only active in the winter period, just like S. algira. The subspecies S. i. orientalis and S. i. semenovi live at higher altitudes, so it could be possible that these are active in the summer period.
DNA research suggests that populations from the Mediterranean coast of Turkey are very different in comparison to all three subspecies. Populations east of that coast are more like the populations in central Turkey. Populations in Israel also stand out because of the DNA difference. The S. i. semenovi populations in Iran are similair to those in east Turkey. Finally, the populations of S. salamandra in west Turkey are more similair to S. infraimmaculata than S. salamandra. (Steinfartz et al. 2000)
Freytag, G.E. (1955). Feuersalamander und Alpensalamander (Die Neue Brehm Bücherei Bd. 142). A. Ziemsen, Wittenberg-Lutherstadt.
Rivera, X. (1996). Die Gattung Salamandra. Reptilia, Münster.
Steinfartz, S., Veith, M., and Tautz, D. (2000). ''Mitochondrial sequence analysis of Salamandra taxa suggests old splits of major lineages and postglacial recolonizations of Central Europe from distinct source populations of Salamandra salamandra.'' Molecular Ecology, (9), 397-410.
Written by Wouter Beukema (woutertje40 AT hotmail.com),
First submitted 2003-06-24
Edited by Arie van der Meijden, Meredith Mahoney (2004-04-02)
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