This species is restricted to north-west Africa, with a fragmented range in parts of northern Morocco (Rif and Moyen Atlas), Ceuta (Spain), and northern Algeria (coastal mountain ranges). There is an uncertain record (based on a museum voucher specimen) of this species from northern Tunisia; the presence of Salamandra algira in Tunisia requires further verification. The species has an altitudinal range of approximately 80-2,450m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
It is generally restricted to humid montane forests where it is found under stones and beneath roots in Cedar (Cedrus) and Oak (Quercus) woodland. It has also been observed in caves in parts of its range. This salamander appears to be ovoviviparous over most of its distribution (8-50 eggs are produced), but viviparous in the Tangitana region of Morocco. In general, the females produce 15-16 larvae; the larvae may be deposited in either cisterns or small streams.
This is generally a very rare species, especially in Algeria. However, it is locally common in the central and western Rif Mountains in Morocco. It is possibly extinct on Beni Snassen Mountain in north-eastern Morocco.
The species occurs in small relict populations that are heavily threatened by deforestation, overgrazing by domestic livestock, and channelization of water sources for irrigation. The species is locally threatened by mortality on roads, and there is some collection of this species in small numbers for the international pet trade; further investigations are needed to determine the impact of trade on populations.
The species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and is protected by national legislation in Spain. It is not known if this species occurs in any protected areas.
Red List Status
Listed as Vulnerable, because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2 and its Area of Occupancy is less than 2,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is a continuing decline in the extent and quality of its forest habitat in Morocco and Algeria.
Recent morphological, ecological and genetic studies on Salamandra algira indicate that there are at least three differentiated phenotypes and genotypes with parapatric distribution. Salamandra algira must be considered a complex of more than one species. A taxonomic revision of this complex is needed (Bogaerts and Donaire-Barroso 2003).
David Donaire-Barroso, Iñigo Martínez-Solano, Alfredo Salvador, Mario García-París, Ernesto Recuero Gil, Tahar Slimani , El Hassan El Mouden, Philippe Geniez, Tahar Slimani, Jose Mateo 2009. Salamandra algira. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T59464A11927380. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T59464A11927380.en .Downloaded on 23 February 2019