Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
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.