Lungless salamander

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Lungless salamander
Kaldari Batrachoseps attenuatus 02.jpg
Batrachoseps attenuatus, a plethodontid
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Suborder: Salamandroidea
Family: Plethodontidae
Subfamilies

Bolitoglossinae
Hemidactyliinae
Plethodintinae
Spelerpinae

DIstribution of Plethodontidae.png
Native distribution of plethodontids (in green)

The Plethodontidae, or lungless salamanders, are a family of salamanders. Most species are native to the Western Hemisphere, from British Columbia to Brazil, although a few species are found in Sardinia, Europe south of the Alps, and South Korea. In terms of number of species, they are by far the largest group of salamanders.[1]

Biology[edit]

A number of features distinguish the plethodontids from other salamanders. Most significantly, they lack lungs, conducting respiration through their skin, and the tissues lining their mouths. Another distinctive feature is the presence of a vertical slit between the nostril and upper lip, known as the "nasolabial groove". The groove is lined with glands, and enhances the salamander's chemoreception.[1]

Adult lungless salamanders have four limbs, with four toes on the fore limbs, and usually with five on the hind limbs. Many species lack an aquatic larval stage. In many species, eggs are laid on land, and the young hatch already possessing an adult body form. Many species have a projectile tongue and hyoid apparatus, which they can fire almost a body length at high speed to capture prey.

Measured in individual numbers, they are very successful animals where they occur. In some places, they make up the dominant biomass of vertebrates.[2] Due to their modest size and low metabolism, they are able to feed on prey such as collembola, which are usually too small for other terrestrial vertebrates. This gives them access to a whole ecological niche with minimal competition from other groups.

Taxonomy[edit]

The family Plethodontidae consists of four subfamilies and about 380 species divided among these genera, making up the majority of known salamander species:[3]

Subfamily Genus, scientific name, and author Common name Species
Bolitoglossinae
Hallowell, 1856
Batrachoseps Bonaparte, 1839 Slender salamanders
19
Bolitoglossa Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 Tropical climbing salamanders
117
Bradytriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Finca Chiblac salamander
1
Chiropterotriton Taylor, 1944 Splay-foot salamanders
12
Cryptotriton García-París & Wake, 2000 Hidden salamanders
7
Dendrotriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Bromeliad salamanders
6
Nototriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Moss salamanders
13
Nyctanolis Elias & Wake, 1983 Long-limbed salamanders
1
Oedipina Keferstein, 1868 Worm salamanders
25
Parvimolge Taylor, 1944 Tropical dwarf salamanders
1
Pseudoeurycea Taylor, 1944 False brook salamanders
50
Thorius Cope, 1869 Minute salamanders
23
Hemidactyliinae
Hallowell, 1856
Hemidactylium Tschudi, 1838 Four-toed salamander
1
Plethodontinae
Gray, 1850
Aneides Baird, 1851 Climbing salamanders
6
Atylodes Gistel, 1868 Sardinian cave salamander
1
Desmognathus Baird, 1850 Dusky salamanders
20
Ensatina Gray, 1850 Ensatinas
1
Hydromantes Gistel, 1848 Web-toed and European cave salamanders
3
Karsenia Min, Yang, Bonett, Vieites, Brandon & Wake, 2005 Korean crevice salamanders
1
Phaeognathus Highton, 1961 Red Hills salamanders
1
Plethodon Tschudi, 1838 Slimy and mountain salamanders
55
Speleomantes Dubois, 1984 Cave salamanders
7
Spelerpinae
Cope, 1859
Eurycea Rafinesque, 1822 North American brook salamanders
27
Gyrinophilus Cope, 1869 Spring salamanders
4
Pseudotriton Tschudi, 1838 Mud and red salamanders
3
Stereochilus Cope, 1869 Many-lined salamander
1
Urspelerpes[4] Camp, Peterman, Milanovich, Lamb, Maerz & Wake, 2009 Patch-nosed salamander
1

Following a major revision in 2006, the genus Haideotriton was found to be a synonym of Eurycea, while the genera Ixalotriton and Lineatriton were made synonyms of Pseudoeurycea.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lanza, B., Vanni, S., & Nistri, A. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  2. ^ Hairston, N.G., Sr. 1987. Community ecology and salamander guilds. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
  3. ^ Min, M.S., S. Y. Yang, R. M. Bonett, D. R. Vieites, R. A. Brandon & D. B. Wake. (2005). Discovery of the first Asian plethodontid salamander. Nature (435), 87-90 (5 May 2005)
  4. ^ Camp, C. D.; et al. (2009). "A new genus and species of lungless salamander (family Plethodontidae) from the Appalachian highlands of the south-eastern United States". Journal of Zoology 279: 1–9. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00593.x. 
  5. ^ Frost et al. 2006. THE AMPHIBIAN TREE OF LIFE (http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/bitstream/2246/5781/1/B297.pdf)

External links[edit]