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SALAMANDERS

     Salamanders are typically nocturnal.  Unlike frogs, they lack the ability to produce vocal calls and their legs are not significantly longer than their arms.  Some are fully terrestrial and others are fully aquatic.  While most salamanders live just under the soil (and are often found under rocks and logs), some can bury deep into the soil and others can climb trees.  All are carnivorous, feeding primarily on insects.  Although they are not frequently seen, forests of the Northeastern U.S. typically contain significant numbers of them.  The combined mass of salamanders in a certain area of a forest often surpasses the combined masses of birds and mammals found there. 

    The hellbender is the only North American species of salamander which reproduces through external fertilization.  In all species occurring in Orange County, the female grasps packets of sperm with her cloacal lips and fertilization occurs inside her body.  A few salamanders give birth to live young (Behler, 1989).  Cloacal glands produce pheromones in many salamanders but these glands are reduced or absent in some groups with pheromone production assumed by glands in the skin (Russell, 1991). 

 

In some salamanders, the limbs are highly reduced.

The number of digits is reduced in amphiumid salamanders, proteid salamanders, brachycephalid frogs, and some microhylid frogs (Mannaert, 2006).

REDUCED LEGS REDUCED LEGS
FEET UNDERDEVELOPED  
     About 350 species of salamanders are known in the world.  Of the eight families of salamanders, seven are represented in North America including 112 species found in the United States and Canada.   
SKELETON  

SKELETON

A plethodontid salamander was recently discovered in Asia (the first known from that continent) which differs in the articulations between tarsal bones and possesses two premaxillary bones rather than one (Min, 2005).