Salamanders and newts are small and often brightly coloured. The bright contrasting colours are a warning to others as all salamanders and newts produce toxic skin secretions, some of which are highly poisonous. This family is informaly split into two groups: the smooth-skinned 'true salamaders' found predominantly in Europe and the rough-skinned newts that are more widely distributed through Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America. Currently, the number of species in this amphibian family stands at around 75.
Scientific name: Salamandridae
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The following habitats are found across the True salamanders and newts distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.
The Salamandridae are a family of salamanders consisting of true salamanders and newts. Currently, 74 species (with more expected) have been identified in the Northern Hemisphere - Europe, Asia, the northern tip of Africa, and North America. Salamandrids are distinguished from other salamanders by the lack of rib or costal grooves along the sides of their bodies and by their rough skin.
With a few exceptions, salamandrids have patterns of bright and contrasting colours. They have four well-developed limbs, with four toes on the fore limbs, and (in most cases) five toes on the hind limbs. They vary from 7 to 30 cm (3 to 12 in) in length.
The alpine salamander and Lanza's fire salamander give birth to live young, without a tadpole stage, but the other species lay their eggs in water. Some newts are neotenic, being able to reproduce before they are fully metamorphosed.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.