The Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is one of Europe's largest salamanders (up to 20 cm in length). They have a stocky body with a black base color and a pattern of yellow spots or stripes. In the Netherlands they can't be confused with any other salamander due to their appearance. The larvae are brown/black and develop light yellow spots as they get older. These spots are especially noticeable at the base of their legs, close to the body.
Distribution & Life History
The Fire salamander is the only strictly terrestrial salamander in the Netherlands. All other Urodelans in the Netherlands are newts which have a aquatic phase in spring during mating season. In the Netherlands the species only occurs in the region called "Southern Limburg" in the most southern tip of the country (enclosed by Belgium and Germany - see map). Incidental records from the south-east of the province Gelderland and the extreme northeast of the province Overijssel are known but no populations exist in these areas (they do in nearby Germany). A hilly landscape with streams make up the natural habitat of the species. Calcareous soil, streams and seeps and a high ground water level appear to be the most important habitat requirements. Another important habitat characteristic are shaded, cool and moist hiding places. Larvae are deposited in clear, oxygenated water like streams, wells and ponds fed by streams. Worms and slugs make of the bulk of the diet of adult animals. Adults have a very small home range and individuals may be found in the some location for many years.
In the Netherlands the Fire salamander has been included in the National Red List (Staatscourant, 2009 cf. van Delft et al., 2007). All amphibians in the Netherlands enjoy protection through national law which protects native species (Flora and Fauna wet, table 3) including the Fire salamander. The Bern Convention also included the Fire salamander as a protected species (appendix 3).