Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

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).

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.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from http://science.naturalis.nl/hosted-sites/salamanders/salamanders-of-the-old-world/species-list/salamandra/corsica
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the island of Corsica, France, where it is found throughout the island. It is found at altitudes of 50-1,750m, but is commonest from 500-1,300m asl.
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Distribution and Habitat

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).

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from http://science.naturalis.nl/hosted-sites/salamanders/salamanders-of-the-old-world/species-list/salamandra/corsica
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is found in a wide variety of habitats particularly mixed and deciduous woodland (Beech, Sweet Chestnut and Pine). This species gives birth to well developed larvae that complete metamorphosis in streams, ponds and other waters; fully metamorphosed young are occasionally produced.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2009

Assessor/s
Claude Miaud, Marc Cheylan, Roberto Sindaco, Antonio Romano

Reviewer/s
Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern since, although its Extent of Occurrence is less than 20,000 km2, it occurs in an area of extensive, suitable habitat which appears not to be under significant threat, it has a presumed large population, and it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2004
    Least Concern
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Population

Population
It is common in suitable habitat.

Population Trend
Stable
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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).

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from http://science.naturalis.nl/hosted-sites/salamanders/salamanders-of-the-old-world/species-list/salamandra/corsica
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threats to this species are loss of woodland habitat (especially as a result of forest fires). However, it is not believed to be significantly at risk.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

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).

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from http://science.naturalis.nl/hosted-sites/salamanders/salamanders-of-the-old-world/species-list/salamandra/corsica
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention. It occurs in several protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

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.

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Sparreboom, M. 2012. Salamanders of the old world: Salamandra corsica. Science.Naturalis. Accessed Febuary 2013 from http://science.naturalis.nl/hosted-sites/salamanders/salamanders-of-the-old-world/species-list/salamandra/corsica
  • Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.
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Wikipedia

Corsican fire salamander

The Corsican fire salamander (Salamandra corsica) is a species of salamander in the Salamandridae family found only on the island of Corsica as an endemic species. In former times, this species was known as a subspecies of the widespread but continental-distributed fire salamander, which may appear quite similar.

Contents

Habitat

Map of distribution
Deciduous mountain forests near Monte Cinto - habitat of Salamandra corsica

The Corsican fire salamander mainly lives in the deciduous mountain forests of the island. On the west coast near in the Calanques de Piana, salamanders have been found near sea level, but in general they appear as inhabitant of forests with deciduous oaks, such as sessile oak, downy oak and sweet chestnut gardens near the human settlements. Forests with the maritime pine and the Corsican black pine (Pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii var. corsicana) are also inhabited. Densely growing ferns (Pteridium aquilinum), tree heath, and other shrubby vegetation might diminish the fire salamander population, also as evergreen sclerophyllic woods, such as holly oak forests because of their minor precipitation sum. Beech forests are populated in the Castagniccia and also in the south of the island where this tree assembles dense azonal forests and does not appear mainly as upper tree line, as in the western mountain ranges of Corsica.

The midranges of the Corsican mountains seem to be preferred because of their constant humidity and moderate temperatures. Constant water in the creeks coming down from the summits supports good development of the larvae over the hot summer. They are born when the snow has melted away and the streams are safe again for the newborn larvae. Their surroundings and stone runs also offer the adults preferred places to hide from the daylight or the summer drought.

Unexpected ways of reproduction

The German herpetologist Robert Mertens found a pregnant Corsican fire salamander in the Restonica Valley that gave birth to four offspring without gills and already with the characteristic black and yellow of the adults. At the same time, he found normally developing aquatic larvae with their three characteristic feathery external gills on each side of their heads and camouflage blending into the pond's substrate. The astonishing reproductive ability of vivipary is well known from the fire salamander's northwest Spanish subspecies, S. s. bernardezi (Asturian fire salamander) and the alpine salamander (S. atra) from the central and east Alps. This can be interpreted as a local adaptation to xerothermic climate conditions and lack of ponds and brooks.

Threats

The Corsican fire salamander is threatened by habitat loss, forest works, road construction, and traffic. The species may also be threatened by water pollution, wildfires, and wood pasture. Introducing invasive fish species, such as rainbow trout in the larval habitats diminishes the reproduction of the island's fire salamanders singnificantly. Indigenous anadromous fish, such as the Mediterranean trout Salmo cettii, which is also highly endangered, seems not to have a significant influence on the amphibians.

References

  • Michel Delaugerre, Marc Cheylan (1992). Atlas de Repartition des Batraciens et Reptiles de Corse. L'Oikéma Pamplona (Spain): Parc Naturel Regional de Corse/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. ISBN 2-905468-09-2. 
  • Robert Mertens: Die Amphibien und Reptilien Korsikas – Senckenberg. Biol. 38 (1957, Heft 3/4): 175–192|location=Frankfurt/M.
  • Thomas Mutz: Salamandra corsica (Savi, 1838) – Korsischer Feuersalamander. – In: Burkhard Thiesmeier & Kurt Grossenbacher (Eds.): Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas, Schwanzlurche IIB. Aula Verlag Wiebelsheim (Germany), 2004, p. 1029–1046.
  • Willi Wolterstorff (1901). Streifzüge durch Corsika. Magdeburg: Faber’sche Buchdruckerei. p. 35. 
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