Lyciasalamandra antalyana
Anatolia Lycian Salamander; Antalya’s Lycian Salamander
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Salamandrinae
Species Description: Veith M, Steinfartz S 2004 When non-monopyly results in taxonomic consequences - the case of Mertensiella within the Salamandridae (Amphibia:Urodela). Salamandra 40:67-80.

© 2015 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Endangered (EN)
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Lyciasalamandra antalyana is a newt with a limited range found in southern Turkey. The total body length of adults ranges from 101.0 – 153.0 mm and the snout-vent length ranges from 60.0 – 86.0 mm (Akman et al. 2013, Akman and Godmann 2014). Newly born juveniles have a total length range between 45 - 66 mm (Özetí 1976). The head is flat and longer than wide and the snout is rounded. The parotoid glands are long and narrow, with the posterior portion being broader than the anterior side. The gular fold is obvious. From the profile view, the sides of the dorsum have many small “thorns”. The upper arm has well-developed pads. In males, there may be a relatively tall (1.45 – 3.34 mm) finger-like projection (hedonic protuberance) just above the base of the tail that is pointed and curved toward the anterior of the animal. Additionally, the cloaca in some males may have slight swelling (Akman and Godmann 2014).

From all species in the Salamandra genus L. antalyana can be externally differentiated by having two phalanges on the first digit of their hands and feet instead of one and having keratinized skin projections on their dorsum. They also differ in skull structure. From the genus, Chioglossa, L. antalyana can be distinguished by having more phalanges on the first digit of their hands and feet, having keratinzed skin projections, having normal lungs, and missing a tongue projection mechanism. From Mertensiella caucasica, L. antalyana can be differentiated by having a tail that is shorter than the snout-vent length, and by coloration (Veith and Steinfartz 2004). Lyciasalamandra antalyana is the only species in the Lyciasalamandra genus that displays yellow coloration (Akman and Goodmann 2014).

In life, L. a. antalyana is a mottled dark brown on the dorsal trunk area. There is bright yellow coloration in the eye region, nostrils, and paratoids. Lateral parts of the trunk are pale and yellowish or flesh-colored. Dark brown spots continue along dorsal side of tail, the rest of which is orange or flesh-colored. The legs are orange or flesh-colored with dorsal brown spots (Akman and Godmann 2014).

In life, L. a. gocmeni varies in dominate dorsal coloration based on population with Burdur having a dark background and Yagca having a yellow background. In the subspecies holotype, the background coloration of the dorsum, including the head, upper jaw, and parotoids, was brownish-red. The parotoids are dotted with black dermal pores on both sides. The yellow interparotoid, interorbital, and internasal spaces are speckled with brown flecks. The eyelids have a thin, black cross strip. The dorsal trunk has an interrupted light yellow pattern that extends to the middle region of the trunk and dominates the dorsum. Two wide brown stripes are crossed by brown transvers bars on dorsolateral sides. The legs and tail are flesh-colored on both the dorsal and ventral sides. However, the proximal ends of the limbs have yellow spots and the elbows and knees have light brown reticulations. The dorsal surface of the digit joints also has tiny flecks. The dorsal side of the tail has rows of black dermal pores and light brown and yellow spots. The throat region has a yellowish tinge (Akman and Godmann 2014).

Upon live birth, juveniles were often dorsally black and may be unspotted while the ventrum was grey and unspotted. However, some young may be born with reddish-yellow spots on the head (particularly the eyes and parotids), back, and tail that later become lemon-yellow. Newly born juveniles may also have light brown dorsal surfaces of the limbs with whitish-yellow spots and a black crossband over the eyelids. The juveniles may also be born with black dermal pores on their parotid glands (Özetí 1979).

Lyciasalamandra antalyana displays sexual dimorphism in that the males have a swollen cloacal region and a hedonic protuberance above the tail base. Variation in coloration and patterning exists between the two subspecies, L. a. antalyana and L. a. gocmeni. Additionally, adult females of L. a. gocmeni exhibit a more pronounced and broader discontinuous light yellow pattern than the adult males. Juveniles L. a. gocmeni sport a darker ground color with brighter yellow and brown coloration along the dorsum (Akman et al. 2013, Akman and Godmann 2014).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Turkey


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Lyciasalamandra antalyana is found in the Antalya and Burdur provinces of Turkey, and are specifically known to be present from Hisarcandir village to Yagca village. This range, which is 35 km by air between the two villages, includes Termessos National Park. In the Antalya province, L. antalyana has a vertical distribution of 120 - 655 m asl. Specimens obtained in the Burdur province were found to have an elevation range of 400 - 750 m asl in the east and southeastern parts of the Asar Mountains (Akman et al. 2013, Akman and Goodmann 2014). The Yagca and Burdur populations have been identified as the subspecies L. a. gocmeni, while populations at the type locality, in Hurma, are the subspecies L. a. antalyana (Akman and Goodmann 2014).

The range of L. antalyana is restricted to areas containing Karstic limestone with annual precipitation in excess of 800 mm. It is thought that average January temperatures must be above freezing, although more research on temperature as a limiting factor of range is needed. Its typical habitat is pine woodland and maquis scrub found on northerly exposed slopes, and it has never been found in recently reforested areas. No populations are found outside of Karstic rock, which is essential for surviving summer heat and drought (Veith et al. 2001).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The species is active from November to mid-April, and is predominantly nocturnal (Özetí 1976). In the dry season, L. fazilae is known to live in aggregations underground in the humid crevices created by the Karstic limestone boulder fields. However, it is unclear if this is also true for L. antalyana (Gautier et al. 2006).

During amplexus in the spring, females mount males and hold onto his shoulders with her forelimbs for at least 15 minutes. The male can still move around (Özetí 1979).

Females are viviparous, giving birth to two live young after a gestation period of one year (Kaska et al. 2009) on land in the autumn or winter. The young are full terrestrial and usually measure 42 - 66 mm in length at birth. Newly born L. antalyana do not initially eat and potentially hide under their parents for shelter and protection. After about a month they began to feed on invertebrates and start to show yellow spotting. After three months, the yellow spotting becomes more prominent (Özetí 1976).

Spontaneous abortion, possibly induced by heat, revealed irregularly shaped eggs that were 1.5 – 2.0 mm in diameter and illuminated three stages of embryonic development. First, the embryos are contained in a jelly membrane, then the gilled larvae hatches inside of the female onto a free clump of embryotrophic eggs, which the larvae eats. Lastly, the egg clump is entirely consumed and the larvae is born (Özetí 1976).

Most other behaviors are very similar to those described for L. luschani, including a defensive stance where the trunk is raised with an arched back (Steinfartz and Mutz 1999).

Age of sexual maturity and maxium life span have been studied for the related species, L. fazilae and found to be 3 years for sexual maturity in both sexes and 8 and 10 year lifespans for males and females respectively (Olgun et al. 2001).

Lyciasalamandra antalyana represents a new host for nematodes, Angiostoma aspersae, Aplectana acuminata, and Cosmocerca longicauda, with A. acuminata far outweighing the other two nematodes found within L. antalyana. The nematodes found within L. antalyana are generalist species (capable of infecting two or more hosts (Yildirimhan et al. 2011).

Trends and Threats
The species is locally abundant, but the population is declining. Lyciasalamandra antalyana is endangered due to limited natural range and habitat loss. Forest fires, overcollection, and human interactions leading to habitat loss, threaten the species. Human population numbers near the natural range of L. antalyana is low, but future development in or near the species’ range could lead to further population decline. Lyciasalamandra antalyana currently exists in the Termessos National Park, enabling conservation of the species (Kaska et al. 2009).

There has been no detection of the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, in the genus Lyciasalamandra (including L. antalyana) despite its occurrence in nearby syntopic frogs. The lack of this pathogen in Lyciasalamandra is thought to be due to their largely terrestrial lifestyles and a naturally lower level of susceptibility of Lyciasalamandra to the pathogen (Göçmen et al. 2013).

Relation to Humans
Lyciasalamandra antalyana has experienced overcollection for scientific purposes (Kaska et al. 2009).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Intentional mortality (over-harvesting, pet trade or collecting)

The species authority is: Başoğlu, M., Baran, I. (1976). “The subspecific status of the population of Mertensiella luschani (Steindachner) in the Antalya region of Southwestern Anatolia.” Scientific Reports of the Faculty of Science of the Ege University in Bornova-Izmirr 235: 1-13.

This species was previously classified as a subspecies of Mertensiella luschani, by Başoğlu and Baran (1976) and was elevated to the species level under the genus Lyciasalamandra by Veith and Steinfartz in 2004 (Kaska et al. 2009).

Based on a Neighbor-Joining tree retrieved from 508 base pairs of 16S rRNA analysed using Tamura-Nei distances, L. anatalyana is sister to the clade containing L. flavimebris, L. helverseni, L. billae, and L. luschani. The clade formed by the above species was sister to Evlemez population of L. fazilae. The Neighbor-Joining produced similar results as analyses from maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony, and Bayesian inference (Akman and Goodmann 2014).

The genus name Lyciasalamandra is a reference to “Lycia", the ancient Roman name of the southern region of Turkey in which the genus is found, and “Salamandra” its sister genus (Veith and Stenifartz 2004).

The species epithet, “antalyana” is a reference to the Antalya Province of Turkey, where the species was first found.

Lyciasalamandra antalyana gocmeni was named in honor of Dr. Bayram Göçmen, a Turkish herpetologist (Akman and Goodmann 2014).

The region in which the genus, Lyciasalamandra, is found is characterized by having rich reptile diversity and low amphibian diversity. Thus, much of the information about the genus was obtained anecdotally by herpetologists searching for reptiles during summer field trips (Veith et al. 2001).


Akman, B., Godmann, O. (2014). ''A new subspecies of Lyciasalamandra antalyana (Amphibia: Salamandridae) from the Lycian Coast, Turkey.'' Salamandra , 50(3), 125-132.

Akman, B., Göçmen, B., Igci, N., Yalcinkaya, D. (2013). ''Range extension of Lyciasalamandra antalyana (Başoğlu & Baran, 1976) (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae).'' Biharean Biologist, 7(1), 7-12.

Başoğlu, M., Baran, I. (1976). ''The subspecific status of the population of Mertensiella luschani (Steindachner) in the Antalya region of Southwestern Anatolia.'' Scientific Reports of the Faculty of Science of the Ege University in Bornova-Izmirr , 235, 1-13.

Gautier, P., Olgun, K., Uzum, N., Miaud, C. (2006). ''Gregarious behaviour in a salamander: Attraction to conspecific chemical cues in burrow choice.'' Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology , 59(6), 836-841.

Göçmen, B., Veith, M., Iğci, N., Akman, B., Godmann, O., Wagner, N. (2013). ''No detection of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in terrestrial Turkish salamanders (Lyciasalamandra) despite its occurrence in syntopic frogs (Pelophylax bedriagae).'' Salamandra, 49(1), 51-55.

Kaska, Y., Kumlutaş, Y., Avci, A., Üzüm, N., Yeniyurt, C., Akarsu, F., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I.H., Sevinç, M., Crochet, P.-A., Papenfuss, T., Sparreboom, M., Kuzmin, S., Anderson, S., Denoel, M. (2009). Lyciasalamandra antalyana. (errata version published in 2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T61913A86624620. Downloaded in February 2017.

Olgun, K., Miaud, C., Gautier, P. (2001). ''Age, growth, and survivorship in the viviparous salamander Mertensiella luschani from southwestern Turkey.'' Canadian Journal of Zoology , 79, 1559-1567.

Steinfartz, S., Mutz, T. (1999). Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas. Band 4 (Urodela 1). AULA, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Veith, M., Baran, I., Godmann, O., Oz, M., Tunc, M.R. (2001). ''A revision of population designation and geographic distribution of the Lycian Salamander Mertensiella luschani (Steindachner, 1891).'' Zoology in the Middle East , 22(1), 67-82.

Yildirimhan, H.S., Tunc, M.R., Sumer, N., Incedogan, S., Bursey, C.R. (2011). ''Nematode Parasites of Lyciasalamandra antalyana and Lyciasalamandra luschani (Caudata: Salamandridae) from Turkey.'' Comparative Parasitology , 78(2), 375-377.

Özetí, N. (1976). ''Reproductive biology of the salamander Mertensiella luschani antalyana.'' Herpetologica , 35(3), 193-197.

Written by Siobhan Harrington, Geoffrey Osgood, Yvette Argueta (snharrington AT, gmosgood AT, yargueta AT, University of California Davis
First submitted 2018-04-05
Edited by Ann T. Chang (2018-04-05)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Lyciasalamandra antalyana: Anatolia Lycian Salamander; Antalya’s Lycian Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 24, 2018.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2018. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Jun 2018.

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