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Salamandridae Goldfuss, 1820

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Chapter Summary

This family, Salamandridae Goldfuss, includes the species regarded as typical newts and salamanders. It is a diverse family, including large-and small-bodied, terrestrial and, at least partly, aquatic species. Some are strictly terrestrial and some are permanently aquatic. The largely terrestrial salamanders are smooth-skinned while most of the other genera have a rough skin. Most species have aquatic larvae except for some viviparous salamanders that give birth to fully metamorphosed offspring. No single feature uniquely characterises all salamandrids as a monophyletic group, but a combined analysis of morphological and molecular characters strongly supports the monophyletic view. The family Salamandridae has a Holarctic distribution and is represented in Europe, north-western Africa, Asia, and North America. Fertilisation is internal. A male inseminates a female using a spermatophore that he deposits in front of her. The female picks up the sperm with her cloaca.

Keywords: aquatic species; Asia; Europe; North America; north-western Africa; salamander



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