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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Amphibians: Alpine salamander

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Description

The Alpine salamander (Salamandra atra) is a shiny black salamander. It is found on the Central and Eastern Alps, at altitudes above 700 metres. Adult alpine salamanders are approximately 9 to 14 cm in length. Their life expectancy is at least ten years.

It is an ovoviviparous amphibian, giving birth to two live young. Generally, at altitudes of 650-1,000 metres, a pregnancy lasts 2 years, and at altitudes of 1,400 to 1,700 metres, the pregnancy lasts 3 years.

A subspecies, the Golden Alpine Salamander (
Salamandra atra aurorae), is classified as being Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002. This species has golden or yellow spots on its back.

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