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March 12, 1982

Toxic Salamanders

JAMA. 1982;247(10):1408. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320350022019

To the Editor.—  Susan G. Bradley, MD, and Larry J. Klika, RPh (1981; 246:247), in their report of fatal poisoning from the newt Taricha granulosa erroneously gave the impression that only newts of the US genera Taricha and Notophthalmus are toxic. All members of the salamander family Salamandridae that have been examined have skin toxins and would be dangerous if ingested by humans. These salamanders, commonly known as newts, are imported for the pet trade and, along with the US genera, are kept as pets by children. The following genera are known to be toxic and are commonly sold by pet stores: Triturus and Pleurodeles from Europe and Cynops, Paramesotriton, and Tylototriton from Asia.1,2 All of these salamanders have either rough skin or bright orange or red ventral coloration; most species have both characteristics. No salamander without toxins has either rough skin or red venter.Tetrodotoxin has been identified