North African fire salamander

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North African fire salamander
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae
Genus: Salamandra
Species: S. algira
Binomial name
Salamandra algira
Bedriaga, 1883

The North African fire salamander (Salamandra algira) is a species of salamander in the Salamandridae family found in Algeria, Morocco, Spain, and possibly Tunisia. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, rivers, and caves. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Subspecies[edit]

  • S. a. algira Mt. Edough (Algeria)-Neotype
  • S. a. tingitana Jabal Mousa (Morocco)
  • S. a. spelaea Ouartass (Morocco)

Distribution and habitat[edit]

is endemic to northwestern Africa where it is found only in the Rif Mountains and Middle Atlas Mountains in northern Morocco, the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, and the coastal mountains of northern Algeria. It has been recorded from northern Tunisia, but this may be an error. Its altitudinal range is from sea level to about 2,459 m (8,070 ft). Its habitat is typically the floor of moist forests of oak and cedar where it hides under roots and stones. It is also known from caves.[1]

Ecology[edit]

Over most of its range, the North African fire salamander is ovoviviparous with eight to 50 eggs per batch, females retaining the eggs internally until they hatch, with the young being nurtured from the egg yolks. However, in the Tingitana region, the young seem to obtain their nourishment, at least in part from the female, in the form of secreted fluids and are considered viviparous. This results in fifteen or so larvae which are deposited in streams or pools.[1]

Status[edit]

Although locally common in places, the North African fire salamander is rare in others and has a fragmented distribution range. The main threat it faces is the destruction of its forest habitat. Other threats include the channelling of the forest streams for irrigation, overgrazing by livestock, and collection of the salamanders for the pet trade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being "vulnerable".[1]

Sources[edit]

  • Donaire-Barroso, D., Martinez-Solano, I., Salvador, A., Garcia-Paris, M., Gil, E.R., Tahar, S. & El Mouden, E.H. 2004.