Salamandra atra 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Salamandridae

Scientific Name: Salamandra atra Laurenti, 1768
Common Name(s):
English Alpine Salamander, Golden Salamander
Taxonomic Notes: Four subspecies have been described: Salamandra atra atra; S. a. aurorae; S.a. prenjensis; and S. a. pasobiensis. The status of these subspecies remains questionable. S.a. prenjensis is often not considered to be valid. S.a. aurorae has been sometimes considered to be a separate species. Joger (1996), using serum proteins, showed significant differences, and he proposed the elevation of S.a. aurorae to a full species. Veith et al. (1998), analyzing mitDNA of S.a. aurorae did not find any significant difference. Riberon et al. (2001) indicate a complex pattern of divergence for the alpine populations, without reaching or stressing any taxonomic consequences.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Franco Andreone, Mathieu Denoël, Claude Miaud, Benedikt Schmidt, Paul Edgar, Milan Vogrin, Jelka Crnobrnja Isailovic, Rastko Ajtic, Claudia Corti, Idriz Haxhiu
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Amphibian Assessment)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

The subspecies Salamandra atra aurorae qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii) because its Extent of Occurrence is probably less than 100 km2, all individuals may be in a single location, and there is continuing decline in the quality of its habitat in the Bosco del Dosso.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is present in the European Alps (including a recently discovered population close to the village of Samoëns in the Département de la Haute-Savoie, France), with isolated populations in the Balkan Dinaric Alps in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro and northern Albania. It occurs at elevations between 400 and 2800m asl (more frequent between 800-2,000m asl). The subspecies Salamandra atra aurorae is largely restricted to the Bosco del Dosso and Val Rensola in north-east Italy (between 1,300 and 1,800m asl); new localities extending to the east were discovered in the early 1990s (with a distance between furthermost sites of 15km2), and it is possible that this subspecies might occur in the entire forested high plateau of the area. Further field surveys are needed to verify the full distribution of Salamandra atra aurorae.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Austria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; France; Germany; Italy; Liechtenstein; Montenegro; Serbia; Slovenia; Switzerland
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):400
Upper elevation limit (metres):2800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is still be abundant in Switzerland (although now considered to be extinct in some southern parts of the country), Germany, Austria and parts of Italy. It appears to be more rare and threatened in the Dinaric Alps in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro and northern Albania (e.g., Kalezic and Dzukic, 2001). Gasc et al. (1997) considered Salamandra atra aurorae to be highly endangered.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in cool, damp alpine meadows, stony pastures, dwarf heath and mixed, broadleaf and coniferous woodland. Animals are usually hidden below stones and logs, but can be encountered in shady places, or after rain, during the day. The species is unusual in that it has a ovi-viviparous method of reproduction by which it gives birth on land to an average of two fully metamorphosed offspring; the gestation period is between two and four years. It may be found in pastureland and other slightly modified habitats. It is not associated with water.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are generally no threats to the Italian populations of S. a. atra. Some local populations in Switzerland are threatened by road mortality and populations of the Dinaric Alps are threatened by localized habitat destruction through intensification of farming methods, tourism (skiing) and infrastructure development. The subspecies S. a. aurorae is threatened by collection for scientific purposes and the pet trade and general habitat alteration through excessive water abstraction from streams, and the removal of ground cover during forestry practices. Populations in Serbia and Montenegro are small, fragmented and threatened by over-collecting for the pet trade and possibly climatic changes.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Salamandra atra is listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Salamandra atra aurorae is listed on Annex II* of the EU Habitats Directive under the name 'Salamandra salamandra aurorae'; both Salamandra atra and 'Salamandra aurorae'[sic] are also listed on Annex IV of the Directive. The species is protected by national legislation in most range countries (e.g.. Switzerland, Slovenia) and it is present in a number of protected areas. Kalezic and Dzukic (2001) suggest the establishment of a protected area on Prokletije Mount would significantly aid the conservation of S. atra in the Dinaric Alps. The subspecies S. a. aurorae is present in the Natura 2000 sites of Cima Dodici (10,450 ha) and Pasubo e Piccole Dolomiti: Monte Pasubo (1,920 ha).

Citation: Franco Andreone, Mathieu Denoël, Claude Miaud, Benedikt Schmidt, Paul Edgar, Milan Vogrin, Jelka Crnobrnja Isailovic, Rastko Ajtic, Claudia Corti, Idriz Haxhiu. 2009. Salamandra atra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T19843A9023725. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided