AmphibiaWeb - Salamandra corsica


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Salamandra corsica Savi, 1838
Corsican fire salamander, korsischer feuersalamander
Subgenus: Alpandra
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Salamandrinae
genus: Salamandra
Salamandra corsica
© 2016 Dr. Joachim Nerz (1 of 29)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).

Salamandra corsica are glossy black salamanders with yellow splotches on their dorsum that have adult sizes ranging from 120 - 300 mm. Males are generally smaller than females. The head is wider than it is long, and is rounded in shape. This species possess bright yellow colored paratoid glands and two lines of poison glands that run in parallel down their ventral sides, and two irregular rows of glands down the tail. The snout and toes are blunt and round, as is the tip of the tail. Males have pronounced cloacas, whose opening is a single longitudinal fold. Salamandra corsica has clear costal grooves running down the ventral sides. These salamanders have smooth, shiny skin, and easily visible yet reduced paratoid glands compared to other species in the Salamandra genus (Sparreboom 2012).

Salamandra corsica possesses aposematic yellow splotches against a highly contrasted black background, which warns predators of their unpalatable nature (Sparreboom 2012).

Studies show that the yellow splotches may experience dynamic change throughout the lifespan of an individual. Metamorphosed juveniles have round and small yellow patterns, while older adults possess increasingly irregular and larger yellow patterns with time (Beukema 2011).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: France

Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).
Salamandra corsica is endemic to the island of Corsica, France, and thus accustomed to a Mediterranean climate (Steinfartz et al. 2000). It can be located between 50 - 1750 m in altitude, but is most common in the 200 - 1300 m range (Miaud et al. 2009). This species occupies a deciduous forest habitat, typically composed of Beech, Pine, and Sweet Chestnut. They can be commonly collect close to freshwater streams or shaded ponds. Salamandra corsica prefer to sunbathe on top of large boulders topped with leaf litter and moss, and take refuge in the cool, moist environment beneath these boulders (Sparreboom 2012). Its habitat is similar to that of Salamandra salamandra (Noellert and Noellert 1992).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Adult Salamandra corsica typically breed in the warmer, moist weather of spring to avoid the harsh cold of winter or droughts of summer. Heavy rains excite the sheltering S. Corsica and encourage them to emerge from their refuges in large numbers. They are most active at night and live entirely on land with the exception of the larval stage (Sparreboom 2012).

Females of this species give live birth to larvae in streams or shaded ponds, which are then sheltered in small fresh water bodies where they metamorphose into adults (Sparreboom 2012). However, there have been some reports of direct development in S. Corsica, with females giving birth to fully metamorphosed young (Noellert and Noellert 1992; Miaud et al. 2009). Larvae range from 20 - 40 mm in length upon birth, possess long external gills, and a tail crest that starts in the central of the dorsal side. Once metamorphosed, juveniles range can measure from 50 – 110 mm in length and can grow up to 35 mm a year until they reach sexual maturity. This species can take up to five years to reach sexual maturity (Sparreboom 2012).

Salamandra corsica typically eats anything it can catch, including insects, arachnids, terrestrial mollusks, centipedes, and earthworms (Sparreboom 2012).

Trends and Threats
Although the range is limited, 20,000 km2 on their endemic island, S. corsica has a stable population. This is because the habitat itself, albeit isolated, is extensive and not currently under significant destructive danger. The only threat to S. corsica is loss of deciduous Corsican woodland via forest fires. However, fires do not occur often enough to affect species trends as a whole (Miaud et al. 2009).

Relation to Humans
This species is raised and sold in the pet trade along with other fire salamanders (Sparreboom 2012). In fact, most of the data on S. corsica reproduction stemmed from studies in captivity.

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Climate change, increased UVB or increased sensitivity to it, etc.

Salamandra corsica was once thought to be a subspecies of S. salamandra, but mitochondrial analysis has elevated this taxon to full species status and suggest S. corsica is the sister group of the clade containing the alpine salamanders, S. atra (S. a. aurorae, S. a. atra, and S. a. prenjensis; Steinfartz et al. 2000).

Salamandra is Latin for salamander, and the name corsica refers to the endemic location of this species: Corsica, France.


Beukema, W. (2011). ''Ontogenetic pattern change in amphibians: the case of Salamandra corsica.'' Acta Herpetologica, 6(2), 169-174.

Miaud, C., Cheylan, M., Sindaco, R., Romano, A. (2009). Salamandra corsica. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012.2. Downloaded on 16 February 2013

Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.

Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from

Steinfartz, S., Veith, M., and Tautz, D. (2000). ''Mitochondrial sequence analysis of Salamandra taxa suggests old splits of major lineages and postglacial recolonizations of Central Europe from distinct source populations of Salamandra salamandra.'' Molecular Ecology, (9), 397-410.

Originally submitted by: Arie van der Meijden, Katherine Luethcke (first posted 2000-01-07)
Life history by: Michelle S. Koo (updated 2021-03-17)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-03-17)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Salamandra corsica: Corsican fire salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 16, 2024.

Feedback or comments about this page.


Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 16 Jun 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.