Difference between Salamanders and Lizards


Very similar but completely different vertebrates

Similar body plan

Both salamanders and lizards have much in common regarding their appearance. Although they have evolved a primitive tetrapod physique, they are related to toads and frogs, not lizards. All salamanders and nearly all lizards are quadrupedal, although lizards tend to be more agile than their amphibian counterparts.

Salamanders vs. Lizards - point by point
Salamander's skin is moist, thin, water permeable and used for respiration. Glands located in the salamander's skin produces mucus which helps to protect it from bacterial infections. It also makes animal slippery, which may aid it during an escape from danger. The skin of lizards is thick, covered with overlapping scales and protects the animal from dehydration.
2.Reproduction and eggs
While salamanders lay their eggs without shells and deposit them in a moist environment, lizards typically bury their shelled, calcified eggs in soil or sand. In addition, some lizard species are ovoviviparous, meaning that fertilized eggs remain in the mother's organism until birth.
Newly hatched salamander is in a larval form that needs to metamorphose before becoming an adult form. Lizards' hatchlings do not undergo the metamorphosis, and they just need to grow up to become adults.
4.Ears and hearing
Unlike lizards, salamanders do not have external nor middle ears. That is why salamanders do not hear or emit any sounds, it is unnecessary for them. Lizards' heads are equipped with ear openings leading to their eardrums. Their hearing is not as good as that of mammals, but it is superior to that of many other reptiles such as snakes.
While lizards have only one organ responsible for respiration-the lungs, salamanders rely on skin, gills or lungs (or, in some species, the combination of skin and lungs altogether).
6.Defense mechanisms

They share a common characteristic - when in danger, both lizards and salamanders can shed their tails. This is where the similarities end.

Because of their slowness and clumsiness, salamanders have evolved different defensive strategies than lizards. Their slippery flesh helps them escape the predator's grasp. They also use chemical defenses as they have glands that produce toxins. Most of the time, the attacked salamander positions itself with its back to the attacker, as most of the venom-producing glands are located in the tail area.

Lizards have evolved many different strategies that vary from species to species. For example, some can outrun an attacker, play dead, puff up their body to prevent the predator from swallowing, deliver a venomous bite, or even squirt blood from pouches located above their eyes to confuse their opponent.


Despite their similar appearance, these animals are very different with respect to other criteria.

The first salamanders appeared on Earth in the middle Permian period, about 270 million years ago. First known lizard fossils, which were iguana-like creatures, date back to the middle Triassic age about 220 million years ago. That means salamanders lived on Earth about 50 million years longer than lizards. Although their head start in time, salamanders have not managed to diversify as much. Currently, there are about 655 species of salamanders and as many as 4,675 species of lizards.

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Salamanders vs. Lizards

Quick comparison

Both organisms have similar body features.
Samalanders and majority of lizards are oviparous
Salamanders and most lizards are predators. Salamanders are more opportunistic than lizards.
Both salamanders and lizards may shed their tails when in danger.
Salamanders are amphibians, lizards are reptiles.
Salamander's skin is moist while lizard have dry and covered with scales.
Amphibians usually lay eggs in water while lizards deposit them on the ground.
Salamanders do not emit any sounds contrary to lizards.

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