Subspecies

There are 14 subspecies of the Fire Salamander, but the subspecies S. s. beschkovi and S. s. werneri are controversial. S. s. alfredschmidti was newly discovered in 2006.

-Salamandra salamandra salamandra (Nominate form)

It is a middle to big sized, strongly build salamander. The tail and extremities are relatively long. The head is moderately arched, the muzzle is acuminate rounded. The back is irregular to cross spotted. The animals in the Northwest show mostly stripe-spotted or spot-striped patterns. The typical habitat is Nürnberg, Germany (Böhme et al. 2003). The specific description you can find here

- Salamandra salamandra werneri

The body and the tail is elongated. The ventral side is unicolored black, the tail is moderately spotted, throat and neck are totally yellow. The extremities are spotted lively with some red-brown tones in between. The typical habitat and distribution is the Pelion-mountain in Greece.

- Salamandra salamandra beschkovi
They have an extremely short tail and very short legs. Very characteristic is an accumulation of yellow spots along or on the spine. The typical habitat is the Pirin-mountain in southern Bulgaria. S. s. beschkovi is probably a site-modification of S. s. salamandra.

- Salamandra salamandra gigliolii
It is relatively small, slender and with delicate limbs. The tail is long and high, the head is broad and flat. The extremities, fingers and toes are elongated. The yellow spots are often broad and netlike connected. Black often only appears as spots. The head shows a lot of yellow, which surrounds a small, central black spot. The distribution of S. s. gigliolii stretches across the Apennines east of Genoa to the southern tip of Italy.

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The salamanders on the Iberian peninsula exhibit a significant geographic variation which involves size, snout form, relative length of legs and  fingers and overall color patterns. The following trends in color pattern occur from west to east of the Iberian Peninsula: From stained color pattern to irregular striped forms; from hooked, horseshoe and annular spots to roundish and smaller spots with increase of red spots. On the head the yellow spots diminish. An increment in siz and tail length is shown In the Cantabrian Mountains.

Numerous genetic studies have been conducted to determine the clades of the Iberian salamander populations. Currently, 9 or 10 subspecies of salamanders are recognized in the Iberian Peninsula (which represents the highest diversity across the global range of the species), with the recent separation at the species level (not fully accepted) of the penibetic salamander (S. longirostris). Their reproduction  strategy (ovoviviparous, viviparous) is a feature that determines the degree of phylogenetic separation among clades:

- Salamandra salamandra almanzoris

It is a smaller, spotted form with reduction of the yellow coloration. As of several different research reports, there are very long larval periods and because of that, above average size specimens can occur. The typical habitat is Laguna Grande de Gredos in the center of Spain, at 2027 m altitude. It also occurs in Sierra de Guadarrama. It has species status for some authors (Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009).

© David Donaire

- Salamandra salamandra bejarae
The parotids are short and broad. Medium size. Color pattern: yellow and reddish spots, usually forming commas. Iberian distribution: Sistema Ibérico, Eastern Sistema Central, Montes de León and Montes de Toledo. Phylogenetic relationships with S. s. terrestris and S. s. gallaica.


© David Donaire

- Salamandra salamandra bernardezi
Small size, rounded snout. Color pattern: yellow bands on black background. Reproduction:  more pronounced  viviparity than in S. s . fastuosa.
Iberian distribution: Cantabrian Mountains , from Galician NE to W of Cantabria. Genetic variability: there used to be  two well diferenciated forms. One of them has  been elevated to subspecies level.


© Javier Benavides

- Salamandra salamandra alfredschmidti
The Fire Salamanders of the Rio Tendi valley (Asturias, Spain), which have long been considered as S. s. bernardezi, differ from individuals from the type locality Oviedo of S. s. bernardezi and all remaining recognized Iberian subspecies with regard to their coloration and mitochondrial sequence composition. They exhibit a wide range of individual variability with regard to their body coloration. So far, these locally restricted populations of S. salamandra can be considered as a separate subspecies (Köhler & Steinfartz 2006).
Small size, rounded snout. Color pattern: Trend towards loss of yellow spots by means of melanin reduction into uniform coffee brown tones on the body and tail. Head yellowish. Otherwise it presents a yellowish color without defined spots.


© Javier Benavides

- Salamandra salamandra crespoi
Large size ( > 25 cm ). Small head with pointed snout. Short legs and long fingers. Color pattern: small longed spots yellow, red or brownish, often with a comma or cane form. It often presents yellow spots in gular area. Iberian distribution: southern Portugal mountains. Phylogenetically related to S. s . morenica.


© David Donaire

- Salamandra salamandra fastuosa
Medium size, just a little larger than S. s. bernardezi.  The tail is relatively long and very low. The head is small and the muzzle is round and short. The parotids are extremely small and the fingers are relatively long. S. s. fastuosa is distributed in eastern Asturias, Spain.
Color pattern: Head and back present yellow stripes, always striped longitudinal. Reproduction: trend to present viviparity in mountain areas. Iberian Distribution: east Cantabrian Mountains to central Pyrenees. Phylogenetically related to S.s. terrestris.

© David Donaire

-Salamandra salamandra gallaica
Large size, robust form. Pointed snout. Color pattern: irregular yellowish, reddish, o brownish spots, often forming arabesques. Also some dark red spots. Frequently, yellow spots in gular region. The yellow spots often show a red coloration in the center, the throat and the head are sometimes completely red. Reproduction: Trend to viviparous on islands. Iberian distribution: Central and southern Galicia, Portugal and much of Extremadura. Phylogenetically related to S. s. terrestris (Galician populations) and S. s. bejarae (populations of Central Portugal). It’s a complex population without genetic status.

This picture is available here

- Penibaetic salamander (S. s. longitrostris): very large adult size (up to 23 cm). Robust forms. Pointed snout. Color pattern: black background with large rounded or sub-quadrangular yellow spots, sometimes with forked or bilateral organization. Large and symmetric spots on both eyelids and parotids. Rarely presents small red spots bordering larger yellow ones. Sometimes have a row of yellow spots surrounding lower jaw.
Iberian distribution: southern mountains from Guadalquivir River in the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga. Historical populations of Granada are currently considered extinct.
Phylogenetically, it’s a very distinct clade. Until recently, penibaetic salamander was considered a subspecies of fire salamander, a fact that has not acquired scientific consensus yet (Speybroeck et al., 2010)

- Salamandra salamandra morenica

Large (> 21 cm), pointed snout, although less than S. longirostris. Color pattern: yellow and red spots with diversity of shapes, rounded or elongated with forked aspect, as S. s . crespoi. Yellow spots in gular region. Iberian distribution: Sierra Morena and prebaetic mountains (Cazorla, Segura, Alcaraz, and northeast mountains of Granada province). Genetically, it is a local variation of S. s. crespoi.

© Eduardo Escoriza

- Salamandra salamandra terrestris
It is a middle sized, striped form, stronger build than S. s. fastuosa. Tail, extremities and toes are relatively short, the parotids are broad.
Color pattern: two yellow bands semi continuous along back or rounded spots disposed more sparsely. A red coloration is rarely found. This subspecies is distributed in Catalonia, on the north facing part of the Pyrenees, in France, in the southern part of Belgium, in the southern part of the Netherlands, and in the North and West of Germany. Phylogenetic relationships with S. s. fastuosa, S. s. gallaica and S. s. bejarae.

© David Donaire

Böhme, W., B. Thiesmeier & K. Grossenbacher (eds.) 2003. Salamandra Salamandra (Linnaeus, 1758) – Feuersalamander. Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas, Bd.4/2B : Schwanzlurche (Urodela) IIB; Salamandridae III: Triturus 2, Salamandra: BD 4/IIB: 969-1028. Wiebelsheim.

Köhler, G. & S. Steinfartz 2006. A new subspecies of the fire salamander Salamandra salamandra (LINNAEUS, 1758) from the Tendi valley, Asturias, Spain. In: Salamandra: 42, 13-20.

Masó, A. y Pijoan, M. 201. ANFIBIOS Y REPTILES DE LA PENÍNSULA IBÉRICA, BALEARES Y CANARIAS. Ed. Omega.

Pleguezuelos, Márquez, Lizana. 2004. Atlas y Libro rojo de los anfibios y reptiles de España.

Salvador, A, García-París, M. 2001. Anfibios españoles. Ed. Esfagnos. Talavera de la Reina, Toledo.

Steinfartz S. & M. Veith & D. Tautz 2000. Mitochondrial sequence analysis of Salamandra taxa suggests old splits of major lineages and postglacial recolonizations of Central Europe from distinct source populations of Salamandra salamandra. In: Molecular Ecology: 9, 397-410.

S.I.A.R.E. Servidor de Información de Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Asociación Herpetológica Española – Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino: http://siare.herpetologica.es/

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