Salamanders are among the animals which make up the Kingdom Amphibia, especially the order Caudata. There are around 400-500 species known worldwide and some of them are mostly found in the temperate lands of tropical South, Central America and all over the Northern hemisphere. In the past, salamanders have spread out in regions like British Columbia and central Labrador. If you wish to know more about them, then below are some of the interesting facts about salamanders.
Salamanders vary in sizes. Some might only get to the size of 3.9 cm while others may reach up to the size of 180 cm. Among the smallest salamanders is the 4-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) that just reaches 5-9 cm. On the other hand, one of the largest is the mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) that may reach a length of 43 cm. Salamander’s life span also varies. The Chinese giant salamander can live for around 52 years while other salamanders may only reach a couple of years.
Salamanders closely resemble the lizards. That’s the main reason they are typically mistaken as lizards. However, salamanders don’t have the characteristics that lizards have. For example, salamanders do not have claws. Also, they’ve moist skin compared to lizards that have dry and scaly skin.
Normally, salamanders can not hear sounds; rather, they depend on the vibrations they sense in the environment. These animals are also voiceless, although some species have the ability to generate soft squeaks. Some of these species breathe through their pair of nostrils, while others breathe through gills or skin, or at times in combination. They often have movable eyelids and nice teeth. Their heart consists of 2 atria and one ventricle, making it a 3-chambered organ.
Salamanders hibernate every year so as to survive. Since they cannot endure extremely cold temperatures, they need to dig underground. Aquatic salamanders are generally active at any given time of the year while terrestrial salamanders are only active during night time, or when the soil is moist or damp. Temperate seasons or warm interval may immediately cause them dehydration.
There are two ways on how the eggs of the salamanders could be fertilized. It can be through external or internal fertilization. Internally, the male will fall jellylike capsule of sperms and the female will eventually take up these sperms through the lips of the cloaca. The eggs are fertilized as they are pushed out. On the other hand, external fertilization occurs when the egg is currently outside the salamanders’ body.
Normally, salamanders are carnivorous. Smaller species like small insects and small invertebrates while salamander larvae eat tadpoles.
Importance in the Environment
Salamanders are considered as great advantage in the area of agriculture and forest industry because they consume harmful insects that may destroy crops and plants. Without them, a break in the food chain can happen and problems associated with plant industry may arise.
Salamanders today are continuously decreasing in quantity because a great deal of universities and research labs catch them and make them subjects in their studies. That’s the reason local laws are protecting these salamanders in order to maintain their numbers in the wild. Take your part in the campaign of saving salamanders. Read more information about salamanders so you will understand how to care for them properly.