Lyciasalamandra fazilae (Basoglu & Atatür, 1975)
|Species Description: Başoğlu, M., Atatür, M. I. (1975) "1974". "The subspecific division of the Lycian Salamander, Mertensiella luschani (Steindachner) in southwestern Anatolia." Istanbul Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Mecmuasi. Seri B, Tabü Ilimler 39: 147–155.|
Taxonomic Notes: Elevated from subspecies to full species by 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.
© 2023 Daniel Kane (1 of 33)
Lyciasalamandra fazilae is a slender salamander with delicate limbs that has an average total length of 14 cm. The tail length is slightly shorter than the snout-vent length. The head is longer than it is wide and it is flat, and there are two large parotoid glands behind the eyes. They have a small dorsal tail tubercle (Sparreboom 2014).
Lyciasalamandra fazilae can be differentiated from the other salamanders in its genus by its intense orange coloration, which is only found on the tails of other Lyciasalamandra (Sparreboom 2014). It can also be differentiated geographically, as it is the only Lyciasalamandra within its range around the Dalaman stream (Karış et al. 2015).
In life, the dorsum, head, tail, and limbs are all orange or a darker orange-red. There’s sometimes a silvery-white lateral band separating the dorsal and ventral colors with black and brown spots clustered above it. The borders of these black spots on the dorsum are not clearly defined and almost create a marbled appearance. In the Lyciasalamandra f. ulfetae subspecies, there’s also small white flecks on the dorsum and head, except the parotoids. The ventral side is also bright orange, and it is transparent (Sparreboom 2014; Göçmen et al. 2018).
There are two subspecies: Lyciasalamandra fazilae fazilae and Lyciasalamandra fazilae ulfetae. Lyciasalamandra fazilae ulfetae has a darker orange-red dorsum color and a larger area of black coloring on the dorsum. They also lack the white lateral band that L. f. fazilae has, but instead have small white flecks on their dorsum and head (Göçmen et al. 2018).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Turkey
This species ranges extends from the south side of Köycegiz lake near Dalyan (in the north) to the southmost part of its range in the south of the Dalaman district to the eastmost part of its range near Üzümlü. The two subspecies are mainly separated by the Dalaman stream, with L. f. fazilae in the east and L. f. ulfetae in the west (Göçmen et al. 2018).
They live mostly under rocks in areas with limestone, maquis groves, and pine forests. Their elevation ranges from 10 - 1030 meters above sea level (Göçmen et al. 2018).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
During the summer, L. fazilae tends to hide in karstic crevices to avoid dehydration, and are also nocturnal (Sparreboom 2014).
There have been observations of crabs, most likely Potamon rhodium, acting as predators in some populations (Karış et al. 2015). Much like the other species in this genus, they have a defensive position with their trunk raised and arched (Sparreboom 2014).
All of the salamanders in the Lyciasalamandra genus reproduce viviparously. The male uses his dorsal tail tubercle during ventral amplexus to deposit a spermatophore. The female gestation period is about one year and she usually gives birth to two fully developed young. Sexual maturity is reached after three years (Sparreboom 2014).
This species reproduces via live birth (Özetí 1976).
Trends and Threats
As of 2023, the largest threat to L. fazilae is habitat loss from forest fires. There is no major habitat loss from human development, but that could change. Another major threat is species collection (Kaska et al. 2009).
Several laboratory trials have been conducted with a sister species, Lyciasalamandra helverseni, to deduce their susceptibility to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, otherwise known as Bsal, a fungal pathogen that is having devastating impacts on salamander populations. The trials found that the species is highly susceptible to Bsal and any outbreak would wreck the population. This susceptibility can be inferred for other species in the genus, such as L. fazilae (IUCN 2022).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Lyciasalamandra fazilae was previously classified as one of nine subspecies of Lyciasalamandra luschani. Based on Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses of 4500 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA, there are seven recognized species in the Lyciasalamandra genus, L. fazilae being one of them. From this same analysis, it is unclear which species is sister to L. fazilae because of a proposed polytomy in the genus due to speciation occurring when the islands in the Mediterranean separated from the mainland (Veith et al. 2016). However, a later Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference study primarily looking at the mitochondrial 16S gene of L. fazilae, it was found that L. flavimembris is sister to L. fazilae (Göçmen et al. 2018).
The genus name “Lyciasalamandra” is drawn from the ancient Roman name “Lycia” for the southern area of Turkey, and “Salamandra” comes from its closely related sister genus (Veith and Stenifartz 2004).
The subspecies L. f. ulfetae is named after the senior author’s mother, Ülfet Göçmen, who passed away in 2017 (Göçmen et al. 2018).
Başoğlu, M. and Atatür, M. I. (1975). "The subspecific division of the Lycian Salamander, Mertensiella luschani (Steindachner) in southwestern Anatolia." Istanbul Üniversitesi Fen Fakültesi Mecmuasi, 39, 147 - 155.
Göçmen, B., Ehl, S., Karış, M., Thiesmeier, B., and Kordges, T. (2018). "Molecular and morphological evidence for a new subspecies of Fazila’s Lycian Salamander Lyciasalamandra fazilae in South-west Anatolia." Zoology in the Middle East, 64(4), 304 - 314. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2022). “Lyciasalamandra helverseni”. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T61918A89698165. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-1.RLTS.T61918A89698165.en. Accessed on 01 March 2023.
Sparreboom, M. (2014). Salamanders of the Old World: The Salamanders of Europe, Asia and Northern Africa. Zeist, Brill, The Netherlands.
Veith, M., Göçmen, B., Sotiropoulos, K., Kieren, S., Godmann, O., Steinfartz, S. (2016). ''Seven at one blow: the origin of major lineages of the viviparous Lycian salamanders (Lyciasalamandra Veith and Steinfartz, 2004) was triggered by a single paleo-historic event.'' Amphibia-Reptilia , 37, 373-387.
Veith, M., Steinfartz, S. (2004). ''When non-monophyly results in taxonomic consequences – the case of Mertensiella within the Salamandridae (Amphibia: Urodela).'' Salamandra, 40(1), 67-80.
Yakup Kaska, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avci, Nazan Üzüm, Can Yeniyurt, Ferdi Akarsu, Varol Tok, Ismail H. Ugurtas, Murat Sevinç, Pierre-André Crochet, Theodore Papenfuss, Max Sparreboom, Sergius Kuzmin, Steven Anderson, Mathieu Denoël. (2009). “Lyciasalamandra flavimembris”. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T61917A12572380. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T61917A12572380.en. Accessed on 13 March 2023.
Özetí, N. (1976). ''Reproductive biology of the salamander Mertensiella luschani antalyana.'' Herpetologica , 35(3), 193-197.
Originally submitted by: Nessa Kmetec (2023-04-21)
Description by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Distribution by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Life history by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Larva by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Trends and threats by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Comments by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-04-21)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2023-04-21)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Lyciasalamandra fazilae: Göcek Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/6347> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 30, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 May 2023.
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