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Plethodontidae Gray, 1850

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Chapter Summary

The family Plethodontidae is by far the largest salamander family of the world, with more than 376 recognised species. Salamanders in this family are commonly called 'lungless salamanders' and are widely distributed in the Americas, with a small number of species in southeastern France, north and central Italy and Sardinia, and one species in Korea. All plethodontid salamanders are lungless and breathe through their moist skin. Fertilisation is internal by means of a spermatophore. Plethodontids are unique among salamanders in having narrow grooves between each nostril and the upper lip, called nasolabial grooves. The European lungless salamanders are presently grouped in two genera, Atylodes with one species, and Speleomantes with seven species. Their taxonomic history is complicated and their classification and nomenclature is subject to debate. The Korean genus Karsenia is monotypic and sister to a clade containing the North American Hydromantes and European Atylodes and Speleomantes.

Keywords: Fertilisation; Korean genus Karsenia; lungless salamander family; Plethodontidae



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