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Species of the Week:
Hydromantes strinatii

Amphibian News
Cave-dwelling organisms are usually very different than their close epigean (surface-dwelling) relatives. However, cave and epigean forms are often genetically very similar, suggesting that morphological evolution has accelerated. Salvidio et al. (2015) studied foot morphology in Hydromantes strinatii, an Italian cave salamander that seems to be following in Gollum's footsteps. They showed that in a population in a 70 year-old artificial cave, the size and shape of the feet had diverged from that of an epigean population to resemble a the feet of a natural cave population. The larger feet of cave salamanders are thought to be adaptive, supporting a hypothesis of rapid morphological adaptation in response to a new environment.

Current number of amphibian species: 7,416 (May 29, 2015) Newly added species