Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts
Salamanders and Newts
21 species in Maryland
Salamanders and newts are nocturnal and secretive animals with long slender bodies, long tails and in most cases, two pairs of legs. Life cycles include animals that are totally aquatic, totally terrestrial, and in between--spending time both on land and in water. Habitats include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, swamps, underground caves, under rocks and logs, some animals burrow and some climb trees. Their skin is actually a respiratory surface, allowing oxygen to enter the body. The outer layer of skin is frequently shed and usually eaten. Salamanders and newts eat a varied diet including small invertebrates, insects, slugs, snails, and worms. They in turn provide food and are eaten by shrews, birds, snakes, other salamanders, beetles, centipedes, and spiders.
Biologists studying newts and salamanders have found that many of these animals have remarkable orientation and homing abilities. These animals can disperse from their birth places to several kilometers away or more. Other studies demonstrated that individual animals were able to find their way back to the exact stretch of stream where they were caught. Vision and smell seem to be important to navigation but even blind individuals find their way. Biologists think that the pineal body in the brain is sensitive to light and aids these animals in navigating by cuing them in to the sun’s position in the sky even on cloudy days. Other studies have shown that cave salamanders and red-spotted newts can detect the earth’s magnetic field and will use it as a navigation cue.
Click on a picture or species name for profiles
of each of the 21 species of Maryland’s salamanders.
|Common Name||Scientific Name||State Status|
|Eastern Tiger Salamander||Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum||Endangered|
|Jefferson Salamander||Ambystoma jeffersonianum||Watchlist|
|Marbled Salamander||Ambystoma opacum|
|Spotted Salamander||Ambystoma maculatum|
|Eastern Hellbender||Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis||Endangered|
|Common Mudpuppy||Necturus maculosus maculosus||
|Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander||Desmognathus ochrophaeus|
|Northern Dusky Salamander||Desmognathus fuscus|
|Seal Salamander||Desmognathus monticola|
|Long-tailed Salamander||Eurycea longicauda longicauda|
|Northern Two-lined Salamander||Eurycea bislineata|
|Northern Spring Salamander||Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus|
|Eastern Mud Salamander||Pseudotriton montanus montanus|
|Northern Red Salamander||Pseudotriton ruber ruber|
|Four-Toed Salamander||Hemidactylium scutatum|
|Green Salamander||Aneides aeneus||Endangered|
|Eastern Red-backed Salamander||Plethodon cinereus|
|Northern Slimy Salamander||Plethodon glutinosus|
|Valley and Ridge Salamander||Plethodon hoffmani|
|Wehrle’s Salamander||Plethodon wehrlei||In Need of Conservation|
|Red-Spotted Newt||Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens|
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
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The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.