Salamander

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Salamander

By | November 2012
Page 1 of 2
Salamander is a common name of approximately 550 extant species of amphibians.[1] They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. Most salamanders have four toes on their front legs and five on their rear legs. Their moist skin usually makes them reliant.They are capable of regenerating lost limbs, as well as other body parts.

Physical characteristics

Mature salamanders generally have a basal tetrapod body form with a cylindrical trunk, four limbs and a long tail. The skin may be drab or brightly colored, exhibiting various patterns of stripes, bars, spots, blotches or dots. Male newts become dramatically colored during the breeding season.

Salamanders range in size from the minute salamanders, with a total length of 2.7 centimetres (1.1 in), including the tail, to the Chinese giant salamander which reaches 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) and weighs up to 65 kg (140 lb). Most, however, are between 10 centimetres (3.9 in) and 20 centimetres (7.9 in) in length.

Feeding

Terrestrial salamanders catch their prey by rapidly extending a sticky tongue which adheres to the prey, allowing it to be pulled into the mouth. In the lungless salamanders, muscles surrounding the hyoid bone contract to create pressure and actually "shoot" the hyoid bone out of the mouth along with the tongue. The tip of the tongue is composed of a mucus which creates a sticky end to which the prey is captured.

To find their prey, salamanders use trichromatic color vision extending into the ultraviolet range, based on three photoreceptor types that are maximally sensitive around 450 nm, 500 nm and 570 nm.[7]

Defense

Some salamander species use tail autotomy to escape predators. The tail will drop off and wriggle around for a little while, and the salamanders will either run away or stay still enough to not be noticed while the predator is distracted. They can also produce a white milky substance that is...