Aurora salamander

News about the Aurora salamander in zimbrian language! ;-)

Latest News for the Aurora salamander: In 2014 an agreement has been eventually signed between the Region of Veneto and the University of Padova (Department of Biology and Department of Territory and Agro-Forestry Systems). The collaboration aims to develop and test an alternative method for forestry operations of cut and harvest, which should be more respectful than the conventional ones towards the populations of Aurora’s salamander and their habitat. Let’s maintain high attention to this little jewel!

The Aurora salamander, also called “golden alpine salamander”, is a yellow colored subspecies of the Alpine salamander. It is only found on the Sette Comuni and Vezzena plateaus in north-eastern Italy. It is listed as “critically endangered” on a global scale and is a “high priority species” in the FFH-directive of the European Union. It has been described for the first time in a scientific paper in 1982 and has a special story: HERE, you can have a look at the panels of an exhibition dedicated to this special amphibian! To give you some impressions about this animal, watch this movie! It is really incredible, but in the last years, the local municipalities have cut the trees in the typical habitats of the Aurora salamander, in particular at the Bosco del Dosso. Enrico Romanazzi, an italian herpetologist and our cooperation partner, has started a petition together with famous salamander researchers and international herpetological societies to save the golden alpine salamander. It is necessary to manage the Aurora-woods in the right way, together with herpetologists and forestry technicians. Sign HERE to save this unique amphibian!

Bosco del Dosso after forestry works and Bosco del Dosso how it naturally should stay!

Here is the story of this very special salamander: the Aurora-Salamander (Salamandra atra aurorae) is a subspecies of the alpine salamander and does only (!!) occur in Italy on the Sette Communi Plateau. It has a special golden colour and also a very special story. But read by yourself…

The Aurora-Salamander is talking:

Dear folks, do you know me? I am the Aurora-Salamander and I am living in the „Commune of Asiago“ (Commune di Asiago). Bear in mind: I am living ONLY in the Sette Comuni Plateau and in no other place in the whole world!!! Here I am colonising all woods and valleys north- and eastwards of the Assa-Valley: in the valleys Valle Sparvieri, Val d´Anime, Val Rémaloch, Bosco del Dosso, Vaio del Pian del Morto, Val rotta, Costa Larici, Val Renzola, Bosco del Köbele, Casara Meàtta, Val Galmarara, Zebio, Val di Nos. Now it´s more than 1 million years ago that I´ve seen my relative, the Alpine Salamander. He has lost all our beautiful golden spots of the back and now he is completely black. He is colonising nearly the whole alpine region, but does not live here with us on the high plateau of the “Seven Municipalities” (Sette Comuni). Watch out: I am not the Fire Salamander, who is generally living in the lowlands, but also occurs here in the Seven Communes. He is not my closest relative, in contrast to the Alpine Salamander who is a real moutaineer, the same as me! Well, for such a long time I´m living here, as the last surviver of an ancient tribe, eating insects, worms, spiders and snails. At the end of september, I´m hiding myself and sleeping the whole winter long until the beginning of May.  Just one time every two or three years our females give birth to a small salamander baby. Nothing changed in the whole years since I´m living here. But then, about 2000 years ago, a lot of people arrived in our mountains, many Longobardic warriors, who deforested great parts of our woods, transforming them into pasture land, grass land and fields. In addition, streets and houses were constructed. Their language is called Cimbric („Cimbro“), the oldest and highest German language, which they have used and defended for more than 1000 years. But then, after the big and horrible war of 1915-1918, when nearly the whole plateau was destroyed, a decreasing number of people was using this language. Around the year 2000, only a few persons were able to speak this beautiful and noble language: the last remnants of an ancient tribe – what a pity!!! And also other things were happining at that time. In the year 1978, a professor from the University of Modena, who was called Mr. Trevisan,  discovered me with his family and his friends in the „Vaio del Pian del Morto“. He killed 12 of our friends and put one of us, a big and fat male, in a bottle filled with alcohol. They exposed his corpse, which was preserved in alcohol, in the Museum of Florence and called it holotype number 13456. And then, Professor Trevisan gave us a latin name: Salamandra atra aurorae. (At that time, the Alpine Salamander was already called Salamandra atra atra and the Fire Salamander was called Salamandra salamandra). Oh, my dear folks, you can not imagine what has happened, after Professor Trevisan had published his discovery: People were coming from the whole world to the Commune of Asiago to get our friends, to kill them or to put them into small boxes, until they died in the houses of these people! Moreover,  zoologists from universities were comming and they cut some of the toes of our friends to investigate our genes and to find out, who are our closest relatives. Then, on the 11th of May in 2007, one of my friends from the Val Sparvieri, was taking a walk across the border of the ancient Austria, back on the high plateau of Vezzenza until the Val Postesina. There, two zoologists from the Netherlands saw him and published the new discovery, that we also live beyond the Commune of Asiago. And something else happened these days: Many woods, where I am living, were deforested, leading to desiccation of the soil. In this way, we could not live there anymore, another reason why such a little number of us remained until now. Yes, it was indeed a horrible world and I am so glad that now everything has changed: Now, in the year 2500, we are not caught by the peoply anymore, because they have become more intelligent and they restarted to appreciate the old beech-, silver fir- and spruce-woods  together with the Aurora-Salamanders. And they began to speak the old language Cimbric again, because they are real and noble „Cimbricans“, the last remnants of an ancient tribe. And we are the real and noble Aurora-Salamanders, also we the last remnants of an ancient tribe :-)

Güllander Ekkelsturtzo (Salamandra atra aurorae)

Many thanks to Remigius Geiser, the author of this text which is originally in Cimbrian. He is teaching this exceptional language, Cimbrian, at the University of Salzburg. You can find more information about Remigius Geiser on the following pages:

Many thanks to photographer Gianbattista Rigoni “Tita” Stern for these amazing pictures of Salamandra atra aurorae!

Beukema, W., Brakels, P. (2008), Acta Herpetologica n.3(1): pp. 77-81

Bonato, L. and Fracasso, G. (1998), Bollettino del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Venezia pp. 31-35

Bonato, L. and Grossenbacher, K. (2000), Herpetozoa pp. 171-180

Bonato, L., Fracasso, G. (2003), Movements, distribution pattern and density in a population of (Caudata: Salamandridae). Amphibia-Reptilia, 24 (3): 251-264

Bonato, L., Steinfartz, S. (2005), Italian Journal of Zoology n.72 pp. 253-260

Grossenbacher, K. (1994), Zur Systematik und Verbreitung der Alpensalamander (). Abb. Ber. Naturk., 17: 75-81

Grossenbacher, K. (1995), Was ist mit los? Elaphe (N.F.), 3: 6-8

Sindaco, R., Doria, G., Razzetti, E., Bernini, F. (2006), Societas Herpetologica Italica, Edizioni Polistampa, Firenze

Temple, H.J., Cox, N.A (2009), Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg

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