Miscellaneous Notes on Oriental Fire Salamanders (Salamandra infraimmaculata Martens, 1885) (Lissamphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae)

Wolfgang Böhme, Timo Hartmann, Jürgen Fleck, Thomas Schöttler

Abstract


We report on several aspects concerning Oriental fire salamanders (Salamandra infraimmaculata).
— (1) Colour pattern variability in S. i. semenovi: A barcode test (mtCOI) demonstrates that there is practically no genetic distance between semenovi samples from Iraq, Iran and easternmost Turkey, but only a slight one between these and a SE Turkish sample of S. i. orientalis.
— (2) Due to the difficulty to reliably distinguish between S. i. infraimmaculata and S.i. orientalis on morphological grounds, the latter cannot be characterised as being smaller than the former. If specimens from Karamanmaras are allocated to S. i. orientalis, this taxon would reach the same dimensional level as does S. i. infraimmaculata.
— (3) The latter as an unusual prey of the dice snake (Natrix tessellata).
— (4) We point on a so far overlooked character suitable to distinguish between the marginal southwestern (S. algira) and southeastern (S. infraimmaculata) species-level fire salamander taxa from true S. salamandra and we discuss the diagnostic value of this character. As a result, also based on this character, the published Tunisian record of S. algira should be regarded as wrong.


Keywords


Caudata: Salamandridae: Salamamandra infraimmaculata; barcode; morphology: color pattern, dimensions, pigmentation of poison gland exits; S. infraimmaculata as prey of Natrix tessellata; Near East

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