There is a second yellow colored subspecies of alpine salamander, which was described in 2005 by Bonato and Steinfartz and is called Salamandra atra pasubiensis. This sweet little guy lives a few kilometers away from the Aurora salamander, along some narrow, rocky gorges that descend from the Pasubio Massif. It lives ONLY in this place, therefore it is very endangered. The body coloration of this subspecies varies among the individuals of the same population, ranging from uniform black, like Salamandra atra atra, to yellow patches for some aspects comparable to Salamandra atra aurorae but always less spread (less than 50% of the dorsal surface). The patches in Salamandra atra pasubiensis are mainly bright yellow, but can also be brownish. They are only found on the dorsal surface, on the head and the body and mostly on the proximal part of limbs.
This very rare salamander is listed on the Italian IUCN Red List as “Endangered”: it is found only in areas not used for agroforestry activities. Hence, the main threats for this special amphibian are its extreme isolation and illegal collection. In future also the climate change could become an additional problem.
Gorges of the Monte Pasubio: the natural habitats of S. atra pasubiensis
Many thanks to our italian cooperation partner Enrico Romanazzi for these beautiful pictures!
Bonato, L. (2000), A new interesting population of Alpine salamander (Salamandra atra) in the Venetian Prealps. Bollettino del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Venezia 50: 231-237
Bonato, L. (2001), La Salamandra alpina Salamandra atra Laurenti, 1768 sulle Prealpi Venete. Primo anno di un progetto di indagine intermuseale. In: Bon M., Scarton F. (red.), Atti 3° Convegno Faunisti Veneti.Associazione Faunisti Veneti, Boll. Mus. Civ. St. Nat., Venezia 51: 124-127
Bonato, L. and Grossenbacher, K. (2000), On the distribution and chromatic differentiation of the Alpine salamander Salamandra atra Laurenti, 1768, between Val Lagarina and Val Sugana (Venetian Prealps): an updated review (Urodela: Salamandridae). Herpetozoa 13 (3-4): 171-180
Bonato, L., Fracasso, G., Pollo, R., Richard, J. & Semenzato, M. (eds) (2007), Atlante degli Anfibi e dei Rettili del Veneto. Nuovadimensione Ed., Associazione Faunisti Veneti,, Portoguaro (VE), pp. 240
Bonato, L. and S. Steinfartz, 2005. Evolution of the melanistic colour in the Alpine salamander Salamandra atra as revealed by a new subspecies from the Venetian Prealps. Ital. J. Zool. 72, 253-260
Lanza, B., Andreone, F., Bologna, M.A., Corti, C., Razzetti, E. (2007), Fauna d’Italia, Amphibia Calderini, Bologna, pp. 537
Sindaco, R., Doria, G., Razzetti, E. & Bernini, F. (2006), Atlante degli anfibi e rettili d’Italia/ Atlas of Italian Amphibians and Reptiles. Societas Herpetologica Italica, Edizioni Polistampa, Firenze, pp. 792
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