Salamandra infraimmaculata (Martens, 1885) - Near Eastern fire salamander
Hebrew name: סלמנדרה מצויה, salamandra metzuya
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: EN (B1) – Endangered
Distribution area: It inhabits spring collecting pools and seasonal rock pools on the Carmel, Galilee, Mt. Hermon and Nahal Dan. Israel is the southernmost limit of the species (Degani et al. 1999), and the Carmel population is the most southern population.
Historic distribution of the Subspecies: Similar to the current distribution area. The southern distribution area boundary has apparently not changed during the past 50 years.
Typical Habitat: Tadpoles develop in winter pools, spring collecting pools and slow flowing river tributaries. Adults inhabit humid habitats.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Habitat destruction (water sources drying up).
2. Water source pollution.
3. Habitat fragmentation and population isolation.
Population Size: According to the literature (Degani 1986) the adult population in Israel is estimated at between several hundred and a few thousand. Sixteen water bodies with salamander tadpoles were found in the Carmel area in 2000 (Sinai 2000). Salamander tadpoles were found in ten water bodies in the Galilee and northern Golan areas (Degani & Kaplan 1999).
Fluctuations in Population Size: The adult population is apparently more or less stable, despite inter-annual fluctuations in population size.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: There is no population continuity from the Carmel population to the Galilee population and the Mt. Hermon population. The Nahal Dan population is probably an isolated population differentiated from the above populations by biometric traits (body size, desiccation resistance, etc., Degani 1986) and in DNA composition (Degani et al. 1999).
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation: Protecting water bodies from drying up, pesticide spraying and pollution. Excavating artificial winter pools in nature reserves and protected sites.
Global Distribution area: Western Asia, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. Israel is the southern limit of the species’ global distribution.