paperclip salamander



  • The oldest salamanders found were 250 million years old.
  • Salamanders are amphibian, which means "two lives": one aquatic, and one terrestrial (like frogs). The larva of salamanders is aquatic and pretty much looks like the adult, except for the three gills on the side of its neck (looks like feathers, allows to breath). The adult is terrestrial.
  • They live in three types of habitats:
    • Large bodies of water (St-Lawrence River)
    • Streams
    • Forests
  • Their body temperature is low, which allows them to reduce their perspiration level and thus to conserve water. They also have fewer predators and can occupy a niche (ecological context where all conditions for survival are satisfied) where resource competition with other species is low.
  • On the other hand, their metabolism is low.
  • Salamanders have a permeable skin and can breath through it. This breathing mechanism is effective enough to allow them to survive without lungs.
  • They are sit-and-wait predators, which means that they wait for a prey to pass in front of them to catch it. Some can project their tongue like frogs.
  • Amphibians are becoming scarcer throughout the world. Their population decline would be due to habitat loss, increase of UV rays and pollution. Since their skin is permeable, they absorb contaminants faster. Because of that they are sometimes called health indicators of the environment.

Québec species:

  • Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)
  • Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
  • Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)
  • Yellow-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
  • Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
  • Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ocrophaeus)
  • Eastern Redback Salamander, (Plethodon cinereus)
  • Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
  • Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)
  • Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

What are the main differences between a lizard and a salamander?

The Lizard...

  • Is a reptile
  • Is covered with scales
  • Its skin feels dry at touch
  • Needs high body temperature (get its heat from the sun, air and soil)
  • Is mainly active at day

The Salamander...

  • Is an amphibian
  • Has a permeable skin
  • Its skin feels moist, cold and rubbery
  • Remains active even if temperature drops below zero
  • Is mainly active at night