Salamandridae – Newts & true salamanders

All newts are salamanders, but not vice versa: newts spend more of their adult lives in the water

Salamandrid salamanders, thriving mainly in the scenic landscapes of Europe and Asia, stand out as one of the most widely spread families in the realm of amphibians. Their extensive geographic presence highlights their adaptability to a variety of habitats.

What sets “real salamanders” apart from their amphibian relatives is their smooth, non-slimy skin, while newts, a subgroup within the family, feature a distinctive rough skin texture. However, it’s not just their skin that captures attention; most adult salamandrids sport vibrant and captivating colors that add to their charm.

In the realm of courtship, salamandrids engage in elaborate displays that can be truly mesmerizing. These courtship rituals often involve the male encircling the female, a fascinating spectacle preceding their bonding as mates. This intricate dance is not just a display of romance but also a glimpse into their intriguing social interactions.

Salamandrids find their homes in moist forests and subalpine meadows, where they predominantly lead subterranean lives. They emerge from their burrows under logs or stones on mild, damp evenings, exploring their terrestrial territories. Some species exhibit remarkable fidelity to specific breeding sites, returning year after year to the same watery havens.

Beyond their visual appeal and courtship rituals, salamandrid salamanders play crucial ecological roles. As larvae, they actively regulate insect populations, making them valuable contributors to local ecosystems. Furthermore, their presence serves as a reflection of environmental health, offering insights into the conditions of their habitats.