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Fire Salamander of the Apennines

Image of a Fire Salamander of the Apennines

Salamandra salamandra gigliolii (Eiselt & Lanza, 1956)

It's an amphibian of the Urodela group (with adult individuals having a tail, unlike the Anura group, for example frogs, where the tail is lost evolving from larvae to the adult state) with a stocky and sturdy look and about 20 cm long. This subspecies of fire salamander is unique thanks to some yellow-orange spots of different shapes and dimension on its shiny black body. This bright coloration, called “aposematism”, is used for defense from predators (some reptiles of the Natrix genus, but also birds, especially corvids) as it's a warning of this species' capability of secrete a stinging substance covering the surface of the body. This salamander is mainly active during the night and particularly during humid days with rain and fog and not too low temperatures. In the Park it frequents exclusively of wood environments with beech dominance and medium or small permanent streams, where the larval development takes place safe from trouts predation preferring bigger water courses.

Generally it lives in vast woods in great valleys or extended territories, in the areas between 400 and 1,500 m of altitude, with an exception: within the Park this urodel amphibian reproduces in the St. Angelo Great Valley at Lama dei Peligni, in a small and humid wood area, inaccessible and surrounded by a rocky and very dry environment.

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