AmphibiaWeb - Salamandridae
AMPHIBIAWEB

Salamandridae

127 species in 21 genera

Commonly Called True Salamanders, Newts, European Salamanders


Cynops pyrrhogaster;
Photo by Joachim Nerz
(Click for family gallery)

Salamandrids are small to medium sized (Salamandra and Pleurodeles reach more than 200 mm) terrestrial or aquatic salamanders. Mostly distributed throughout Europe and Asia, although the distribution of Salamandra and Pleurodeles reaches North Africa, and the genera Notophthalmus and Taricha are endemic to North America. Most species have toxic skin secretions. Many Salamandrids develop dorsal body and tail fins when they return to an aquatic stage, while rough skin is characteristic of its terrestrial phase as adult newts. Lungs are present in juveniles and adults. Salamandrids achieve internal fertilization through the use of a spermatophore which the male induces the female to take up through a courtship dance.

The family is organized into three subfamilies: Salamandrininae, Salamandrinae, and Pleurodelinae. Salamandrininae is sister to the clade containing the other salamandrids and only has one genus, Salamandrina, known from the mountains of Italy. Salamandrinae species are generally slender and distributed in south and central Europe through western Asia and northern Africa. Pleurodelinae species are generally known as Newts, with a distinct terrestrial phase and equally distinct, sometimes flamboyantly so, aquatic phase when adults return to water for breeding.

News Highlight:
June 5, 2017: North American newts, Notophthalmus, form a relatively young clade that appears to be experiencing a mini-adaptive radiation (DeLisle and Rowe 2017). Derived taxa are becoming more aquatic. Males are diverging from females as a result of disruptive selection related to competition for food. This increase in sexual dimorphism is manifest in feeding-related head morphology. The authors suggest that sexual antagonism and its resolution may accompany local adaptation, environmental change and adaptive radiation, in contrast to some theoretical work suggesting that evolution of sexual dimorphism might act as a constraint.
Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Aquatic and terrestrial species
  • Biphasic or triphasic life cycles, where larvae are fully aquatic, and may metamorphose into terrestrial juveniles and or adults. Some species return to aquatic form as adults, either seasonally for breeding or permanently
  • Males court females for breeding
  • Many possess highly toxic secretions from poison glands in their skin
  • Fertilization is internal through a spermatophore
  • Some morphological characters for the group are: 1) vomerine teeth extending posteriorly on lateral edges of vomers; 2) frontal-squamosal arch present; 3) vertebrae opisthocoelous; 4) costal grooves above the ribs are absent; 5) functional lungs are present; 6) functional eyelids are present.
  • Global distribution in Europe, western Asia, Asia, northern Africa and North America
Salamandridae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Subfamily Pleurodelinae (110 species)

Genus Calotriton (2 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Calotriton arnoldi account photos no sound/video
Calotriton asper account photos no sound/video

Genus Cynops (9 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Cynops (Cynops) ensicauda account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynops) pyrrhogaster account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) cyanurus account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) fudingensis account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) glaucus no account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) orientalis account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) orphicus no account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Cynotriton) wolterstorffi account photos no sound/video
Cynops (Hypselotriton) chenggongensis no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Echinotriton (3 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Echinotriton andersoni account photos no sound/video
Echinotriton chinhaiensis account photos no sound/video
Echinotriton maxiquadratus account photos no sound/video

Genus Euproctus (2 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Euproctus montanus account photos no sound/video
Euproctus platycephalus account photos sound/video

Genus Ichthyosaura (1 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Ichthyosaura alpestris account photos no sound/video

Genus Laotriton (1 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Laotriton laoensis account photos no sound/video

Genus Lissotriton (10 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Lissotriton graecus no account no photos no sound/video
Lissotriton kosswigi no account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton lantzi no account no photos no sound/video
Lissotriton maltzani no account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton schmidtleri no account no photos no sound/video
Lissotriton (Lissotriton) helveticus account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton (Lissotriton) italicus account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton (Lissotriton) montandoni account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton (Lissotriton) vulgaris account photos no sound/video
Lissotriton (Meinus) boscai account photos no sound/video

Genus Neurergus (5 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Neurergus (Musergus) barani no account no photos no sound/video
Neurergus (Musergus) strauchii account photos no sound/video
Neurergus (Neurergus) crocatus account photos no sound/video
Neurergus (Neurergus) derjugini account photos no sound/video
Neurergus (Neurergus) kaiseri account photos no sound/video

Genus Notophthalmus (3 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Notophthalmus (Notophthalmus) perstriatus account photos no sound/video
Notophthalmus (Notophthalmus) viridescens account photos no sound/video
Notophthalmus (Rafinus) meridionalis account photos no sound/video

Genus Ommatotriton (3 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Ommatotriton nesterovi no account photos no sound/video
Ommatotriton ophryticus account photos no sound/video
Ommatotriton vittatus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Pachytriton (10 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Pachytriton airobranchiatus account no photos no sound/video
Pachytriton archospotus no account no photos no sound/video
Pachytriton brevipes account photos no sound/video
Pachytriton changi no account photos no sound/video
Pachytriton feii account no photos no sound/video
Pachytriton granulosus no account no photos no sound/video
Pachytriton inexpectatus no account photos no sound/video
Pachytriton moi account photos no sound/video
Pachytriton wuguanfui no account no photos no sound/video
Pachytriton xanthospilos no account photos no sound/video

Genus Paramesotriton (14 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Paramesotriton aurantius no account no photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton qixilingensis no account no photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Allomesotriton) caudopunctatus no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Allomesotriton) longliensis no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Allomesotriton) wulingensis no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Allomesotriton) zhijinensis account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Allomesotrtion) maolanensis no account no photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) chinensis no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) deloustali no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) fuzhongensis no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) guangxiensis no account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) hongkongensis account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) labiatus account photos no sound/video
Paramesotriton (Paramesotriton) yunwuensis no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Pleurodeles (3 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Pleurodeles nebulosus no account photos no sound/video
Pleurodeles poireti account photos no sound/video
Pleurodeles waltl account photos no sound/video

Genus Taricha (4 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Taricha (Taricha) granulosa account photos no sound/video
Taricha (Taricha) sierrae account photos no sound/video
Taricha (Taricha) torosa account photos no sound/video
Taricha (Twittya) rivularis account photos no sound/video

Genus Triturus (9 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Triturus anatolicus account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Pyronicia) marmoratus account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Pyronicia) pygmaeus no account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) carnifex account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) cristatus account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) dobrogicus account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) ivanbureschi no account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) karelinii account photos no sound/video
Triturus (Triturus) macedonicus no account photos no sound/video

Genus Tylototriton (31 species)    [subfamily Pleurodelinae]
Tylototriton thaiorum no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) anguliceps account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) himalayanus no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) kachinorum no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) kweichowensis account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) ngarsuensis no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) panwaensis no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) phukhaensis account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) podichthys account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) pseudoverrucosus no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) pulcherrimus no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) shanjing account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) shanorum account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) taliangensis account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) uyenoi account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) verrucosus account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Tylototriton) yangi account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) anhuiensis account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) asperrimus no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) broadoridgus no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) dabienicus no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) hainanensis no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) liuyangensis no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) lizhengchangi no account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) notialis account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) panhai account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) pasmansi no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) sparreboomi no account no photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) vietnamensis account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) wenxianensis account photos no sound/video
Tylototriton (Yaotriton) ziegleri account photos no sound/video
Subfamily Salamandrinae (15 species)

Genus Chioglossa (1 species)    [subfamily Salamandrinae]
Chioglossa lusitanica account photos no sound/video

Genus Lyciasalamandra (7 species)    [subfamily Salamandrinae]
Lyciasalamandra antalyana account photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra atifi no account photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra billae account photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra fazilae no account photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra flavimembris no account photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra helverseni no account no photos no sound/video
Lyciasalamandra luschani account photos no sound/video

Genus Mertensiella (1 species)    [subfamily Salamandrinae]
Mertensiella caucasica account photos no sound/video

Genus Salamandra (6 species)    [subfamily Salamandrinae]
Salamandra (Alpanadra) atra account photos no sound/video
Salamandra (Alpandra) corsica account photos no sound/video
Salamandra (Alpandra) lanzai account photos no sound/video
Salamandra (Oriandra) infraimmaculata account photos no sound/video
Salamandra (Salamandra) algira account photos no sound/video
Salamandra (Salamandra) salamandra account photos no sound/video
Subfamily Salamandrininae (2 species)

Genus Salamandrina (2 species)    [subfamily Salamandrininae]
Salamandrina perspicillata account photos no sound/video
Salamandrina terdigitata account photos no sound/video


Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: https://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed:

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.