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Wildlife in Italy: Strinati geotriton

Wildlife in Italy: Strinati geotriton


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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Amphibians
Order: urodeles
Family: Pletodontidi
Kind: Speleomantes
Species: S. strinatii

The Geotritone of Strinati lives on both sides of the Ligurian Apennines and the Maritime Alps, from the provinces of Parma and Massa Carrara in the east to the Nicoise in the west, in Italian and French territory, preferring wet and rocky environments, such as streams, banks of water bodies, caves and crevices in the rock, between sea level and 2300 m altitude.

Distinctive characters

Adult males reach 11-12 cm in length. Females are slightly longer. The coloring and ornamentation of the body are very variable. The background color is light brown to black on the back, often with spots, netting or stripes of other colors, red, yellow, ocher, gray or green; often has a metallic sheen. The ventral side is generally dark in color. The hind legs are slightly longer than the front ones. Adults have parotoid glands on either side of the head.

Biology

He lives almost exclusively in cave environments. During the rains or in very humid periods it is possible to find it even outdoors, not far from the caves. It is particularly common in the karst environment. It can adapt to live even in artificial constructions such as forts and abandoned mines. Its troglophile and hypogean habits make it difficult to trace.
It is active when heavy rainfall ensures high relative humidity. The frost of the winter period inhibits its activity.
It lays about ten eggs in a subaerial environment and the larval development is direct. The female defends the eggs from predators and other possible dangers until hatching, which occurs towards the end of winter. Males reach sexual maturity in the third year, females in the fourth year.

Geotriton of Strinati (photo http://science.naturalis.nl)

Geotriton of Strinati (photo Enrico Lana)


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