As it is a highly aquatic species, the breeding of the sharp-ribbed salamander coincides with the rainy season, the timing of which differs throughout its range (1) (2). Mating occurs within the water body, with the male holding the female from underneath with their limbs entwined. The pair may remain in this position for days. During mating, the male salamander releases a package of sperm cells, which are taken up by the female and stored for fertilisation (2) (7).
After two days, the female sharp-ribbed salamander will lay between 800 and 1,500 eggs in vegetation or underneath stones in the water (1) (2) (3). The tiny eggs are usually laid in groups of between 9 and 20, and each egg has a protective jelly-like layer up to three times larger than the embryo itself. The eggs hatch after 13 to 18 days, with metamorphosis occurring after 3 months of life, when the larvae take the adult form (2).
A voracious predator, the sharp-ribbed salamander will eat most attainable prey within its range, including molluscs, worms, insects, other amphibians and small fish (2) (3) (5). It is a very resilient species and is able to last long periods of time without eating, changing its diet depending on the availability of prey (2). Most of the activity of this species takes place at night (3) (5).
The sharp-ribbed salamander has a highly specialised defence mechanism, from which it receives its common name. When threatened, it will convulse, forcing its pointed ribs through the orange spots on the sides of its body. This skin is poisonous, and therefore when the ribs push through, sharp, contaminated spines are created which can penetrate the mouth of the predator, causing high levels of pain (2) (4) (6) (8) (9). The sharp-ribbed salamander may also slap its tail at the predator, drawing attention away from other areas of the body, which unlike the tail, are not expendable (4).