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Proteidae Gray, 1825

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Chapter Summary

Salamanders of the family Proteidae are permanently aquatic and retain the large, filamentous gills and caudal fins characteristic of larvae throughout life. The family Proteidae contains two genera, the European genus Proteus and Necturus. Necturus is an eastern North American genus with normal pigmentation, functioning eyes and four digits on each foot. The grouping of the genera Proteus and Necturus into a single family is controversial and should be considered tentative. The shared features by which these genera are grouped together taxonomically are possibly a result of parallel, paedomorphic evolutionary trends and not strongly indicative of common ancestry. Proteus is a European, subterranean salamander, which has degenerate eyes. The body is slender and the number of toes is reduced on both fore- and hindlimbs. The genus Proteus may consist of several cryptic species.

Keywords: Necturus; Proteidae; Proteus; Salamanders



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