Friday, February 3, 2012

Pyrenean Brook Salamander

Calotriton asper
As the name suggests, the Pyrenean Brook Salamander (sometimes called the Pyrenean Newt) is endemic to Europe's Pyrenean Mountains. They live in clear, oxygen-rich mountain streams and lakes, and live at a variety of altitudes ranging from around 175m to 2900m. The species can be identified by its squarish head and warty skin.

Pyrenean Brook Salamanders live most of their lives in the water, though they do have very flattened bodies and heads that allow them to hide under rocks at the waters' edge. Mating takes place after waking up from hibernation, and the eggs are laid underwater.

The length of the larval stage depends a lot on the altitude in which the Salamanders are living. The stage last around 14 months for those at lower altitudes, but can take as long as two years for those higher up on the mountain. Pyrenean Brook Salamanders can live as long as 20 years.

The species is still relatively safe overall, due to their large range. However, some local populations are becoming scarce and even extinct, due to habitat loss from damming, development, and pollution.

IUCN Status : Near Threatened
Location : France and Spain
Size : Length up to 5.5in (14cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Caudata
Family : Salamandridae -- Genus : Calotriton -- Species : C. asper

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