Lycian salamander, Lykischer salamander, kleinasiatischer salamander, Luschan's salamander, Kollane pikksabalik, Salamandra de Licìa, Salamandre de Lycie, Mertensiella di Luschan, Luschani szalamandra, Egeïsche landsalamander, Okasalamanteri, Lykisk salam
© 2015 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 47)
L. luschani helverseni (formerly Salamandra): Only a few yellow spots on back, mainly concentrated middorsally. Back otherwise dark brown. Flanks are yellow. Parotoids are dark or with some yellow. Legs and tail are brown or black. Venter translucent, showing the internal organs. The underside of the tail is orange-yellow, the throat is yellowish-pink.
L. luschani flavimembris: Back dark brown with very few, small silvery-white spots. The translucent venter is separated from the back by a lateral white stripe, consisting of a row of iridophore-accumulations. The dorsal side of the tail is brighter than that of the back. Extremities are pale orange or yellow. Gland openings on the parotoids and tail are visible as black spots.
L. luschani fazilae: The dorsal side of the head, back and tail are reddish in this species. The general coloration moves more toward red with age. The pale venter is separated from the back by a white lateral stripe . The back bears brown to black blotches, that can flow together near the white lateral line.
L. luschani luschani: The base color of the back is bright yellow or silver-white. The dark brown or black spots on the back however, can extend to fully cover the bright base color. The extremities are black, reddish or pale brown. The venter is sparsely pigmented and somewhat translucent.
L. luschani basoglui: The base color of the back varies from brown to pale red, and is brighter on the parotoid glands. The brown or black spots that are distributed across the back are more extensive in females than in males. The head, tail and sides of the extremities are bright red-pink and sparsely covered with brown spots. The large yellow ovaria in females can be seen through the skin of the back.
L. luschani finikensis: The base color of the back is very dark, and is covered with silver-white spots that have the tendency to form larger bright areas. The dorsal coloration completely lacks red or yellow. The white lateral band is sometimes dissolved into white blotches. The ventral side is pale, sometimes with white spots.
L. luschani billae: The base color of the dorsal side can vary from salmon to black. The white spots that are distributed across the back are ordered regularly and can form two dorsolateral bands. The white lateral band that sharply separates the dorsal and the ventral side extends anterior to under the eyes. The openings of the dorsal, caudal and parotoid glands are visible as black spots.
L. luschani antalyana: The dorsal side is yellow with dark spots, or vice versa. The lateral band is yellowish and not clearly defined. The ventral side is yellowish. The members of this subspecies are easily recognized by the conspicuous yellow parotoids and eye patch.
L. luschani atifi: The dorsal side is brown to dark brown with very small white spots. Some individuals are wholly unspotted. The continuous bright lateral band that is present in most subspecies consists of white spots in this one. The ventral side is yellow, orange to red. This is the largest subspecies, reaching a total length of over 170 mm.
There is distinct sexual dimorphism in this genus. In contrast to females, the males possess a spike-shaped protuberance on the dorsal surface of the tail base and nuptial pads on the forelegs which are best developed during the breeding season(Boehme et al 1999). The protuberance is thought to have a function in predisposing the females' cloaca for uptake of the spermatophore (Sever et al. 1997) (also see "Life history").
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Greece, Turkey
The main limitations to the distribution of L. luschani seem to be abiotic factors like temperature and precipitation. The greatest part of its currently known distribution lies in an area that receives more than 1000 mm of precipitation annually and where the average temperature in January lies above freezing. The species is highly specialized and seems to be closely associated with the Karst-area. The cave systems in the limestone offer the salamanders a cool and humid retreat during the dry and hot summer. Not only natural caves are inhabited. Various authors report the occurrence of this species near human settlements, inhabiting loose rock walls and ruins. Their natural habitat however ranges from pinewoods at sea-level to dry vegetation with Quercus coccifera. The specialized reproductive biology of L. luschani allows it to inhabit areas devoid of surface water. (see "Life History")
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Boehme, W., Grossenbacher, K., and Thiesmeier, B. (1999). Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas, band 4/I:Schwanzlurche (Urodela). Aula-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.
Sever, D. M., Sparreboom, M., and Schultschik, G. (1997). "The dorsal tail tubercle of Mertensiella caucasica and M. luschani (Amphibia: Salamandridae)." Journal of Morphology, 232, 93-105.
Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.
Titus, T.A., and Larson, A. (1995). ''A molecular phylogenetic perspective on the evolutionary radiation of the salamander family Salamandridae.'' Systematic Biology, 44, 125-151.
Veith, M., Steinfartz, S., Zardoya, R., Seitz, A., and Meyer, A. (1998). ''A molecular phylogeny of 'true' salamanders (family Salamandridae) and the evolution of terrestriality of reproductive modes.'' Journal of Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 36, 7-16.
Weisrock, D. W., Macey, J. R., Ugurtas, I. H., Larson, A. and Papenfuss, T. J. (2001). ''Molecular phylogenetics and historical biogeography among salamandrids of the “true” salamander clade: Rapid branching of numerous highly divergent lineages in Mertensiella luschani associated with the rise of Anatolia.'' Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 18(3), 434-448.
Originally submitted by: Arie van der Meijden, Meredith J. Mahoney (first posted 1999-12-15)
Edited by: Meredith J. Mahoney, Tate Tunstall, Michelle Koo (2021-03-17)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Lyciasalamandra luschani: Lycian salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/4256> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Sep 19, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 19 Sep 2021.
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