Lungless Salamander
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Lungless Salamander

Lungless salamander
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous to recent, 70.6-0 Ma
Kaldari Batrachoseps attenuatus 02.jpg
Batrachoseps attenuatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Suborder: Salamandroidea
Family: Plethodontidae
Gray, 1850
Subgroups
DIstribution of Plethodontidae.png
Native distribution of plethodontids (in green)

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

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] An estimated 1.88 billion individuals of the southern redback salamander inhabit just one district of Mark Twain National Forest alone, about 1,400 tons of biomass.[3] Due to their modest size and low metabolism, they are able to feed on prey such as springtails, which are usually too small for other terrestrial vertebrates. This gives them access to a whole ecological niche with minimal competition from other groups.

The earliest known fossil remains referred to this family are known from the Late Cretaceous of Wyoming.[4]

Taxonomy

The family Plethodontidae consists of two extant subfamilies and about 478 species divided among these genera, making up the majority of known salamander species:

Subfamily Genus, scientific name, and author Common name Species
Hemidactyliinae
Hallowell, 1856
Aquiloeurycea Rovito, Parra-Olea, Recuero, and Wake, 2015
6
Batrachoseps Bonaparte, 1839 Slender salamanders
21
Bolitoglossa Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 Tropical climbing salamanders
132
Bradytriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Finca Chiblac salamander
1
Chiropterotriton Taylor, 1944 Splay-foot salamanders
18
Cryptotriton García-París & Wake, 2000 Hidden salamanders
7
Dendrotriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Bromeliad salamanders
8
Eurycea Rafinesque, 1822 North American brook salamanders
32
Gyrinophilus Cope, 1869 Spring salamanders
4
Hemidactylium Tschudi, 1838 Four-toed salamanders
1
Isthmura Dubois and Raffaelli, 2012
7
Ixalotriton Wake and Johnson, 1989 Jumping salamanders
2
Nototriton Wake & Elias, 1983 Moss salamanders
20
Nyctanolis Elias & Wake, 1983 Long-limbed salamanders
1
Oedipina Keferstein, 1868 Worm salamanders
38
Parvimolge Taylor, 1944 Tropical dwarf salamanders
1
Pseudoeurycea Taylor, 1944 False brook salamanders
39
Pseudotriton Tschudi, 1838 Mud and red salamanders
3
Stereochilus Cope, 1869 Many-lined salamanders
1
Thorius Cope, 1869 Minute salamanders
29
Urspelerpes Camp, Peterman, Milanovich, Lamb, Maerz, and Wake, 2009 Patch-nosed salamanders
1
Plethodontinae
Gray, 1850
Aneides Baird, 1851 Climbing salamanders
9
Desmognathus Baird, 1850 Dusky salamanders
24
Ensatina Gray, 1850 Ensatinas
1
Hydromantes Gistel, 1848 Web-toed salamanders
5
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
57
Speleomantes Dubois, 1984 European cave salamanders
8

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

Conservation Status

Conservation Status of Plethodontidae According to IUCN Redlist (2018)
Status Number of Species
Least Concern 94
Near Threatened 39
Vulnerable 63
Endangered 80
Critically Endangered 63
Extinct 1
Data Deficient 40

References

  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.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Hairston, N.G., Sr. 1987. Community ecology and salamander guilds. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
  3. ^ Salamanders a more abundant food source in forest ecosystems than previously thought
  4. ^ "Fossilworks: Plethodontidae". fossilworks.org. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Frost et al. 2006. THE AMPHIBIAN TREE OF LIFE (http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/bitstream/2246/5781/1/B297.pdf)

External links


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