The Meaning of the Salamander. Andrias scheuchzeri in Czech science and culture in the 20th century A most improbable and surprisingly strong material and semiotic connection exists between Czech lands and creatures as distant both geographically and biologically as Giant Salamanders (genus Andrias). These largest living amphibians from Asia became mighty symbols of both identity and otherness in Czech culture and science. From Čapek's dystopic novel "War with the Newts" (1936) to giant salamanders living in the basement of the Faculty of Science, these almost impossible creatures populate space and minds in large numbers. The paper will try to map their presence and explain the strange mutual devotion of people and amphibians.