Large Alpine  Salamander

Salamandra lanzai  

Salamandre de Lanza

This salamander is an endemic specimen of the Cottian Alps where it occupies a relatively small area. It is often confused with the similar Salamandra atra that is wide spread on the rest of the Alps.

They are from 12 to 20 cm long with a lifespan of up to 20 years.

Diet consists in a wide range of terrestrial invertebrates, varying upon the period of the season.

This species can be found mostly in the mount Viso area and in the valley Germanasca, Pellice and Guil from 1200 to 2600 m elevation in woods or prairies where they live mainly on alpine meadows and slopes, often next to brooks. The lowest localities are positioned in mixed and coniferous forests.

Their period of activity is during the Alpine summer, from about the beginning of May to October.

Breeding does not rely on water at any stage (as it does with the other salamanders) and copulation appears to take place at the end of summer. The female gives birth to perfectly formed young as the metamorphosis from larvae to adult form occurs before birth. Gestation is thought to take 2 to 3 years which is a considerable time and the young salamanders are immediately able to eat and live on their own.

The number of new born varies from 1 to 6.

Considering their unusual isolated habitat location they aren’t thought to be under any obvious threats however they are classified as vulnerable due to their small population size.

The Map below shows the French Departement where they are present but in reality they only occupy a small area near the border with Italy


Considered vulnerable but with what is thought to be a stable population. Threats are principally human activities, tourism, road building and other infrastructure projects.