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The Antipredator Arsenal of Fire Salamanders: Spraying of Secretions from Highly Pressurized Dorsal Skin Glands

Edmund D. Brodie, Jr. and Neal J. Smatresk
Herpetologica
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 1990), pp. 1-7
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3892595
Page Count: 8
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The Antipredator Arsenal of Fire Salamanders: Spraying of Secretions from Highly Pressurized Dorsal Skin Glands
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Abstract

The fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, has the ability to spray defensive secretions. The sprays contain neurotoxins and are projected directionally at high velocity (>300 cm/s) in response to simulated predator attack. The greatly enlarged, specialized skin glands are individually encased by connective tissue sheaths and embedded in the epaxial musculature. This evolutionarily derived arrangement allows contractions of surrounding muscles to pressurize the gland contents to above 300 cm H2 O. Spraying defensive chemicals adds a powerful weapon to the antipredator arsenal of Salamandra.

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