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Caucasian salamander

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Title: Caucasian salamander  
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Subject: Salamandridae, Caucasus
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Caucasian salamander

Caucasian salamander
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae
Genus: Mertensiella
Species: M. caucasica
Binomial name
Mertensialla caucasica
Waga, 1876

The Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica) is a species of stream-dwelling Turkey. The subspecies M. c. janashvilii[2] is found at Mt. Mtirala near Batumi and probably along the Black Sea coast.


  • Habitat, behavior and diet 1
  • Reproduction 2
  • Evolution 3
  • Threats 4
  • Subspecies 5
  • References 6

Habitat, behavior and diet

The Caucasian salamander lives along the banks of mountain brooks and small rivers with fast currents, both in the forest belt and above timberline, up to about 2400 m above sea level.[3][4][5][6][7] The species is secretive and strictly nocturnal, and mates on land. The male uses the protuberance on the upper side of the tail for opening the female's cloaca and passes the spermatophore directly to the female.[8][9] Their diets consist of invertebrates living in soil or shallow water; an important part of the diet is amphipods.[10][11]


Sexual dimorphism is expressed by presence of a horn-like protuberance at the upper side of the male's tail, a characteristic recorded only in this species and Luschan's salamander; for this reason, these two species were, for a long time, unified in the same genus, Mertensiella.[12] Mating happens in the summer. the female deposits 10–25 large eggs (0.5 mm in diameter) in hidden places in shallow water or in moist places near brooks.[8][9][1] The larvae hatch in one to two months and hibernate one to three times before metamorphosis.[13]


In spite of external similarity with Luschan's salamander (protuberance on the tail), molecular data suggest the closest relative of M. caucasica is the

  1. ^ a b c d Ugur Kaya, Boris Tuniyev, Natalia Ananjeva, Nikolai Orlov, Theodore Papenfuss, Sergius Kuzmin, David Tarkhnishvili, Sako Tuniyev, Max Sparreboom, Ismail Ugurtas, Steven Anderson (2009) Mertensiella caucasica. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Franzen, M. (1999) Mertensiella caucasica (Waga, 1876) – Kaukasus-Salamander. Handbuch der Reptilien und Amphibien Europas. Band 4/1. Schwanzlurche (Urodela). Grossenbacher, K.G. and Thiesmeier, B. (eds.) 1:329–366. Aula Verlag. Wiesbaden
  5. ^
  6. ^ Mertensiella caucasicaGeorgia's Biodiversity Database: . Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  7. ^ a b Tarkhnishvili D, Kaya U. (2009) Status and Conservation of the Caucasian Salamander (Mertensiella caucasica). pp. 157–165 In: Zazanashvili, N., Mallon, D. (eds), Status and Protection Of Globally Threatened Species In The Caucasus.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^


  • M. c. caucasica (Waga, 1876)
  • M. c. djanaschvilii (Tartarachvili and Bakradze, 1989)


The salamander hardly has important natural enemies. The most important factor affecting it is Turkey. Large parts of the habitat of the salamander are not covered by any kind of protected areas.[7][1]



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