Lyciasalamandra flavimembris (Mutz & Steinfartz, 1995)
|Species Description: Mutz, T., Steinfartz, S. (1995). "Mertensiella luschani flavimembris ssp. n., eine neue Unterart des Lykischen Salamanders aus der Türkei (Caudata: Salamandridae)." Salamandra 31: 137–148.|
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.
© 2015 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 13)
Lyciasalamandra flavimembris is a slender, medium salamander that has an average total length of 14 cm, with the tail length being slightly shorter than the snout-vent length. Females have an average total length of 15 cm and males have an average total length of 13 cm (Mutz and Steinfartz 1995). The head is slightly longer than wide and is broad and flat. The snout is rounded and the eyes are large and protruding. There are 11 - 13 weakly defined costal grooves on each side of the body. The front limbs have four fingers and the back limbs have five toes, all without webbing. Males have a small dorsal tail tubercle (Sparreboom 2014).
In the Lyciasalamandra genus, there are seven species that can be differentiated based on color. Lyciasalamandra flavimembris has distinct yellow parotoid glands, and in comparison to Lyciasalamandra helverseni, L. flavimembris can be distinguished by its pale yellow to pale orange limbs (Mutz and Steinfartz 1995). This species can also be differentiated geographically from the other species in its genus, with the other species being more in the south of Turkey or on Greek islands (Sparreboom 2014).
In life, L. flavimembris has a dark brown coloring with randomly distributed, small, silvery-white and yellow flecks on its dorsal side. The parotids are yellow and the eyelids are lighter than the dorsal side. There are small black flecks on the parotids. On the lateral side, there is a distinct line between the dorsal and ventral coloring that is made up of concentrated, silvery-white and yellow iridophores. The ventral side is nearly unpigmented and the internal organs can be seen. The same separation of the dorsal and ventral side is also present on the tail, except the dorsal side of the tail is lighter than the dorsal side of the body. The limbs are a pale yellow to pale orange (Mutz and Steinfartz 1995).
As of 2023, there are two subspecies of L. flavimembris: Lyciasalamandra flavimembris flavimembris and Lyciasalamandra flavimembris ilgazi (Üzüm et al. 2015). Lyciasalamandra f. ilgazi is relatively larger than L. f. flavimembris at an average total length of 15 cm and there are slight coloration differences as well. Lyciasalamandra f. ilgazi has black eyelids and larger yellow spots on the anterior part of both flanks and L. f. flavimembris has more yellow flecks on its lateral side, although they don’t form a lateral band. Lyciasalamandra f. ilgazi also has a darker ground coloration (Göçmen and Kariş 2017).
There is also sexual size dimorphism in that the females are larger than the males (Mutz and Steinfartz 1995).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Turkey
Lyciasalamandra flavimembris lives in the southwest of Turkey, from the Boğaz Island to Kötekli, Muğla province, with elevations ranging from 80 to 650 meters above sea level. There are five known populations of each subspecies in this area, with L. f. ilgazi being more south near the city of Marmaris generally, although there is some overlap (Göçmen and Kariş 2017).
Their habitat is made up of forest and shrub land (Yakup et al. 2009).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Lyciasalamandra flavimembris is nocturnal and lives underground during the dry season (Sparreboom 2014).
They eat arthropods as well as earthworms and slugs, and their main predators are birds, hedgehogs, and rats. 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 vivipariously. 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 produces via live birth (Özetí 1979, Sparreboom 2014).
Trends and Threats
The main threat to this species is habitat destruction due to agricultural and tourist developments, which are affecting all known populations. Illegal collecting has also been a threat, to the point where exact localities of populations are not published (Göçmen and Kariş 2017).
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. flavimembris (IUCN 2022).
This species used to be considered a subspecies of Lyciasalamandra luschani until Veith et al. (2016) performed Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses of 4500 base pairs of mitochondrial DNA and concluded that there are seven distinct species in the Lyciasalamandra genus. It is unclear which species is sister to L. flavimembris 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).
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).
Göçmen, B. and Kariş, M. (2017). "Comparative study on the endangered Marmaris Lycian salamander populations, Lyciasalamandra flavimembris (Mutz & Steinfartz, 1995) (Caudata: Salamandridae), with the description of several new localities." North-Western Journal of Zoology, 13(1), 49 - 57. [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.
Mutz, T. and Steinfartz, S. (1976). "Mertensiella luschani flavimembris ssp. n., eine neue Unterart des Lykischen Salamanders aus der Türkei (Caudata: Salamandridae)." Salamandra, 31, 137 - 148. [link]
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.
Üzüm, N., Avci, A., Bozkurt, E., and Olgun, K. (2015). "A new subspecies of Lyciasalamandra flavimembris (Urodela: Salamandridae) from Muğla, southwestern Turkey." Turkish Journal of Zoology, 39(2), 238 - 334. [link]
Originally submitted by: Nessa Kmetec (2023-03-16)
Description by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Distribution by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Life history by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Larva by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Trends and threats by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Comments by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-03-16)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2023-03-23)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Lyciasalamandra flavimembris: Marmaris Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/6350> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 3, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 3 Jun 2023.
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