Phenology and growth of fire salamander larvae in streams and standing waters of the Vienna Woods


Hans Kraus

MSc Student (Adv: Günter Gollmann)

Unit for Theoretical Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology,
University of Vienna

As it is common for the majority of the amphibians, the fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) strongly depend on accessible water bodies for reproduction because of their complex lifecycle with an aquatic larval phase and terrestrial adults. Females of the fire salamander use different aquatic habitats for larval deposition, which can be divided in standing and flowing waters. The areas in the Vienna Woods I have investigated are “Maurer Wald“, “Neuwaldegg“ (“Schwarzenbergpark“ & “Eckbach“), “Lainzer Tiergarten“ (“Auerochsengehege“ & “Lainzer Bach“) and “Moosgraben“. The aim of this study was to examine and compare the size of fire salamander larvae in various waters in Vienna of the years 2018 and 2020. 

Larvae have been caught from these aquatic habitats and photographed to receive their length. The variables which have been investigated are the body length, tail length and total length. The data collection is still ongoing. The preliminarily data are based on the fact that each of these water bodies was approached 6- times. Due to the enormous weather pattern this year (less precipitation in winter – at the same time quite warm (but short onset of winter) and less rain at the beginning of spring), the data analysis is very different to that one of 2018. Therefore it turns out that streams are more stable than ponds. Furthermore, I assume that larvae deposition takes place in standing and flowing waters during the whole spring. There were no big differences in the total length between flowing and standing waters with the exception of these ponds where the larger larvae died because of a dried out or frozen pond. Compared to the data of 2018, is the result because of the milder winter this year that the larvae were deposited much earlier and over a longer period than in 2018.