Middle English salamandre, from Anglo-French, from Latin salamandra, from Greek
First Known Use: 14th century
Salamander (Salamandra terrestris)—Jacques Six
Any member of about 400 species in 10 amphibian families (order Caudata), commonly found in fresh water and damp woodlands, principally in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Salamanders are generally nocturnal, short-bodied, 4–6 in. (10–15 cm) long, and brightly coloured. They have a tail, two pairs of limbs of roughly the same size, moist, smooth skin, teeth on the jaws and roof of the mouth, and, usually, internal fertilization. The largest species, the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus), is 5 ft (1.5 m) long. Salamanders eat insects, worms, snails, and other small animals, including members of their own species. See alsohellbender; newt.