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Spectacled Salamander

Image of Spectacled Salamanders

Salamandrina perspicillata (Savi, 1821)

This small and thin amphibian belongs to a genus that's present exclusively in Italy, where it inhabits mainly the Apennine, with predominant extension along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast. When disturbed, this animal can pretend to be dead, a behavior known as “thanatosis” and “apparent death”, or raises the tail vertically or, even, it rolls it up on the back, showing the bright red colored belly to disorient predators. This salamander inhabits mountain woods with a thick groundcover, usually near water courses and seldom in resurgences or watering places between 200 and 1,300 m of altitude. During the wintering period or the aestivation it stays mainly underground, sometimes deeper than a meter, under rocks or rotting wood.

The female lays eggs during the spring, in water courses with a weak flow, in small holes, in limpid, and also temporary, puddles. Males, once they have completed the metamorphosis live exclusively on the ground and never go back to the water environment. The first spotting of population of spectacled salamander in the Adriatic Sea area happened in the very territory of the Majella National Park, during the mid '80s. In the northern sector of the Park this animal is localized in the Orfento River Valley and on the eastern mountainside of Mount Morrone. Instead, along the eastern side of Majella it is present in some fluvial valleys, while it is widespread continuously in the Pizzi Mounts area.

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