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Do salamanders and newts call each other?

According to Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests, some salamanders and newts do call to each other.  Collins says their calls are just not as loud, or as often as frogs and toads. “Vocalization is very limited in salamanders, but does occur.  Some species of lungless salamanders in the southern Appalachians produce soft squeaks, while some large aquatic salamanders of the Southeast United States create low whistles at times.  A variety of barks, clicks, squeaks and whistles are made by newts from Europe and western North America, Pacific giant salamanders and the mole salamanders.”

Collins adds that the limited knowledge of sound production in salamanders seems to associate vocalizations with defense.  Frogs and toads tend to call mainly to attract a mate.

Salamanders also communicate with one another both chemically and visually.  Collins explains that many salamander species have well developed glands used in courtship behaviors. These are often referred to as “hedonic” glands. This chemical invitation often leads to very complex, stereotypical and species specific courtship “dances” during the mating process.

Whether for defense or for love, communication among newts and salamanders seems to be used only when needed.  Collins says, “There’s not a lot of casual conversation going on with these critters.  At least that we know about.”  



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