Maryland's Salamanders and Newts (Order Caudata)

Salamanders and newts are nocturnal and secretive animals with long slender bodies, long tails and in most cases, two pairs of legs. Their life cycles can be totally aquatic, totally terrestrial, and in between--spending time both on land and in water. 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.​

Salamander and Newt Anatomy

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Mole Salamanders (Family Ambystomatidae)

Adult photo of Eastern Tiger Salamander courtesy of Jim White Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum)
Photo courtesy of Jim White
pdf documentEndangered
Adult Photo of Jefferson Salamander courtesy of John White Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
Photo courtesy of John White
pdf documentWatch​list
Adult Photo of Marbled Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum)
Photo courtesy of Lori Erb
Adult Photo of Spotted Salamander courtesy of John White Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
Photo courtesy of John White

Hellbenders (Family Cryptobranchidae)

Adult photo of Hellbender courtesy of John White Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)
Photo courtesy of John White
pdf documentEndangered
Former Name: Eastern Hellbender

Mudpuppies (Family Proteidae)

Adult photo of Mudpuppy courtesy of Art Hulse Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus)
Photo courtesy of Art Hulse
pdf documentEndangered-Extirpated
Former Name: Common Mudpuppy

Lungless Salamanders (Family Plethodontidae)

Adult Photo of Green Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)
Photo courtesy of Mark Tegges
pdf documentEndangered
Adult Photo of Northern Dusky Salamander courtesy of Ed Thompson Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
Photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke, CC by 2.0
Adult photo of Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
Photo courtesy of Mark Tegges
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of David Kazyak
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of Jay Kilian
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola)
Photo courtesy of David Kazyak (1)
Photo courtesy of Jay Kilian (2)
Adult Photos of Long-tailed Salamander courtesy of Brian Gratwicke, CC by 2.0 Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda)
Photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke, CC by 2.0
Adult Photo of Northern Two-Lined Salamander courtesy of John White Northern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)
Photo courtesy of John White
Adult Photo of Southern Two-lined Salamander courtesy of Andrew Hoffman CC by NC ND 2.0 Southern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera)
Photo courtesy of Andrew Hoffman CC by NC ND 2.0
Adult Photo of Spring Salamander courtesy of Dave Huth CC by NC 2.0 Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)
Photo courtesy of Dave Huth CC by NC 2.0
Former Name: Northern Spring Salamander
Adult photo of Mud Salamander courtesy of John White Mud Salamander (Psuedotriton montanus)
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Former Name: Eastern Mud Salamander
Habitat Photo for Red Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers Red Salamander (Psuedotriton ruber)
Photo courtesy of John White
Former Name: Northern Red Salamander
Adult Photo and Foot Detail Photo of Four-toed Salamander courtesy of John White Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
Photo courtesy of John White
Photo of Eastern Red-backed Salamander Lead-backed and Red-backed morphs courtesy of Mark Tegges Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)
Photo courtesy of Mark Tegges
Adult Photo of Northern Slimy Salamander courtesy of Brian Gratwicke CC by NC 2.0 Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)
Photo courtesy of Brian Gratwicke CC by NC 2.0
Photo of Adult Valley and Ridge Salamander, courtesy of John White Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani)
Photo courtesy of John White
Adult Photo of Wehrle’s Salamander courtesy of Ed Thompson Wehrle’s Salamander (Plethodon wehrlei)
Photo courtesy of Ed Thompson
pdf documentIn Need of Conservation

Newts (Family Salamandridae)

Adult Photo of Eastern Newt courtesy of Paul Kazyak
Eft Photo of Eastern Newt courtesy of Kerry Wixted
Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
Adult Photo (top) courtesy of Paul Kazyak
Juvenile Photo (bottom) courtesy of Kerry Wixted
Former Name: Red-Spotted Newt
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