Salamander vs. Newt

Salamander vs. Newt

Salamander and newt are types of amphibians. They belong to the group of tailed amphibians, better known as Urodela. There are more than 600 different salamanders and newts that can be found all over the world except on the Antarctica and in Australia. They usually inhabit areas near the ponds, lakes, rivers, or live in wet forests, swamps, grasslands and caves. Newts and salamanders have elongated, lizard-shaped body with long tail and short limbs. Unlike many other animals, they are able to regenerate nearly all parts of the body (limbs, tail, eyes, intestines, heart, spinal cord...). Newts are actually type of salamanders that differ from other members of this group by:

Lifestyle

Newts are either semi-aquatic or fully aquatic animals, while most salamanders spend their adult life on the solid ground (terrestrial species). There are some terrestrial newts and aquatic salamanders, but those are exceptions. Some species of newt, such as Kaiser's spotted newt, are active only 4 months during the year. When snow starts to melt and streams and ponds become filled with water, Kaiser's spotted newt emerges from torpor (dormant state) to eat and reproduce. Four months later, it returns to the burrow where it will stay until the next spring.

Morphology of Feet and Tail

As an adaptation to the aquatic life, most newts have short, webbed feet and paddle-like tail which facilitate movement in the water. Unlike them, terrestrial salamanders have well-developed toes which facilitate digging of burrows in the soil. They also have long, roundish tail.

Skin

Newts have dry, bumpy and warty skin, while salamanders have soft, smooth skin. In both cases, skin plays important role in breathing and it needs to be moist all the time.

Survival Strategies

Brightly colored salamanders and newts produce toxins in the skin to protect themselves against predators. Besides that, some newts use unique strategy which effectively repels many animals. Ribbed newt exposes its needle-sharp tips of the ribs through the skin when it needs to protect itself against predators.

Reproduction

Gender differences are more pronounced in newts. They also have more complex courtship ritual than other salamanders. Male newts are usually brightly colored during the breeding season and they often "dance" in front of the females to get their attention. Salamanders and newts produce 7 to 400 eggs per season, depending on the species. Newts generally lay more eggs than salamanders. They (newts) breed and lay eggs in the water. Some newts secrete gelatinous, toxic substance around their eggs to protect them against aquatic predators. Many salamanders lay eggs on the solid ground and exhibit parental care. They curl their bodies around eggs or hide them in leaves.

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