AmphibiaWeb - Salamandra algira


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Salamandra algira Bedriaga, 1883
Algerian Salamander, North African Fire Salamander, Arous Chta
Subgenus: Salamandra
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Salamandrinae
genus: Salamandra
Salamandra algira
© 2007 Frank Teigler (1 of 156)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
CITES Appendix III
National Status None
Regional Status None


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For a thorough species account of the five subspecies, please see the Hernandez account written by Axel Hernandez featuring images of all the subspecies and a table of diagnostic characters.

A slender bodied salamander with a relatively long, laterally-flattened tail. Adults of both sexes attain a snout-vent length of about 200 mm, sometimes longer. The females are usually larger than males. The male's cloaca is much more swollen than the female’s cloaca. The background is usually black, but can also be dark brown. The salamanders possess yellow spots, which do not follow a clear pattern. They may also have red spots on the head.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Algeria, Morocco

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
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This species may be extinct in Tunisia. In the countries where it occurs, it only lives in the north. If the species is found at the southernmost boundaries of its distribution, it usually lives at higher altitudes. This species occurs from near sea level to 2010 m, and is generally restricted to oak or pine forests, but there have been reports of this species living in unforested areas. Type locality is Mount Edough near Annaba, Algeria, from an elevation of approximately 1,000 m.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Salamandra algira lives in oak, pine or mixed forests, sometimes in caves. They spend the day under logs, snags, stones, or even in rodent burrows and holes.

The activity of this species stops during the summer period. When the rain starts to fall in November, the animals become active again. The breeding season occurs in the winter months. The animals mate on land, and can give birth to completely metamorphosed young salamanders, but usually give birth to larvae.

Relation to Humans
The Arabic common name for this species, Arous Chta, means "bride of the rain."

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Intensified agriculture or grazing
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants

Although described as a full species, the Algerian salamander was later considered to be a subspecies of the common European salamander, Salamandra salamandra. Veith (1994) raised this species to the full species based on an electrophoretic study. This was later further supported by a DNA study by Veith et al. (1998).

Since then, up to four subspecies have been recognized with distinct life history, geographic distribution and morphology ((Donaire Barroso and Bogaerts 2001). See the account by Axel Hernandez (above tab) where each subspecies (S. a. algira, S. a. atlantica, S. a. tingitana, S. a. splendens, and S. a. spelaea) is delineated and described.


Donaire, B. D., and Bogaerts, S. (2001). ''Observations on viviparity of Salamandra algira in North Morocco.'' Herpetologia Candiana. P. Lymberakis, E. Valakos, P. Pafilis, nd M. Mylonas, eds., SEH, Irakleio, 147 – 151.

Schleich, H. H., Kastle, W., and Kabisch, K. (1996). Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz Scientific Publishers, Koenigstein.

Veith, M. (1994). ''Ioenzymelektrophoretische Untersuchungen am Feuersalamander - Beispiele fur den Einsatz einer modernen Technik.'' Elaphe, 2(1), 53.

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.

Originally submitted by: Ted Papenfuss and Vance T. Vredenburg (first posted 2002-02-25)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker, Michelle S. Koo (2020-01-11)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2020 Salamandra algira: Algerian Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 30, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 30 May 2024.

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