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Salamanders and Newts: General Information

General Description

Salamanders are cold-blooded animals with moist, slimy skins. They usually have four legs and a long tail, although members of the siren family only have two legs. Their bodies can replace lost parts, such as the tail and legs. Most salamanders are less than six inches long, but the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) grows up to six feet long. Salamanders cannot hear sounds, nor do they produce any.

Distribution and Habitat

Salamanders and newts are found on all continents except Antarctica, with the greatest diversity being in the United States. They live in ponds, swamps, streams, lakes, rivers, wet mountain forests, and grasslands. One species, the olm (Proteus anguineus), is the only cave-dwelling amphibian.


The female salamander usually lays her eggs in early spring. The eggs are deposited one by one, in groups or in long strings. The larvae hatch from the eggs at different times. In some species, the larva does not leave the egg. The larva breathes through external gills until it changes into an adult. Some kinds of salamanders, called axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum), keep their larval characteristics throughout life. The female fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) does not lay eggs at all; it is the only species of amphibian to give birth to live young.


All salamanders are carnivores. Since they are relatively slow animals, they generally prey on slow-moving, soft-bodied creatures such as earthworms, slugs and snails. Larger species may eat fish, crayfish, and small mammals such as mice and shrews, which are usually taken by chance ambush.

Salamander or Newt?

"Salamander" refers to all Caudates that have tails as adults, including newts and salamanders. The term "newt" is most often used for salamanders that spend most of each year living on land. "Siren" usually refers to salamanders that have lungs as well as gills and never develop beyond the larval stage.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Amphibia
order Caudata

Family Ambystomatidae (mole salamanders)
Ambystoma altamirani
Ambystoma amblycephalum
Ambystoma andersoni
Ambystoma annulatum
ringed salamander
Ambystoma barbouri streamside salamander
Ambystoma bombypellum
Ambystoma californiense
California tiger salamander
Ambystoma cingulatum flatwoods salamander
Ambystoma dumerilii
Ambystoma flavipiperatum
Ambystoma gracile
northwestern salamander
Ambystoma granulosum
Ambystoma jeffersonianum
Jefferson's salamander
Ambystoma laterale blue-spotted salamander
Ambystoma leorae
Ambystoma lermaense
Lake Lerman salamander
Ambystoma mabeei Mabee's salamander
Ambystoma macrodactylum long-toed salamander
Ambystoma maculatum spotted salamander
Ambystoma mexicanum axolotl
Ambystoma opacum marbled salamander
Ambystoma ordinarium
Ambystoma rivulare
Ambystoma rosaceum
Ambystoma talpoideum
mole salamander
Ambystoma taylori
Ambystoma texanum
small-mouthed salamander
Ambystoma tigrinum tiger salamander
Ambystoma tremblayi
Ambystoma velasci
Mexican tiger salamander

Family Amphiumidae (amphiumas)
Amphiuma means two-toed amphiuma
Amphiuma pholeter one-toed amphiuma
Amphiuma tridactylum three-toed amphiuma

Family Cryptobranchidae (giant salamanders and hellbenders)
Andrias davidianus
Chinese giant salamander
Andrias japonicus
Japanese giant salamander
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis hellbender

Family Dicamptodontidae (Pacific giant salamanders)
Dicamptodon aterrimus Idaho giant salamander
Dicamptodon copei Cope's giant salamander
Dicamptodon ensatus California giant salamander
Dicamptodon tenebrosus Pacific giant salamander

Family Hynobiidae (Asiatic salamanders)
Batrachuperus karlschmidti
Batrachuperus londongensis
Longdong stream salamander
Batrachuperus pinchonii stream salamander
Batrachuperus tibetanus alpine stream salamander
Hynobius nigrescens black salamander
Onychodactylus fischeri long-tailed clawed salamander
Onychodactylus japonicus Japanese clawed salamander
Ranodon sibricus Semirechensk salamander

Family Plethodontidae (lungless salamanders)
Aneides aeneus green salamander
Aneides ferreus
clouded salamander
Aneides flavipunctatus black salamander
Aneides hardii Sacramento Mountain salamander
Aneides lugubris
arboreal salamander
Batrachoseps aridus
desert slender salamander
Batrachoseps attenuatus
California slender salamander
Batrachoseps campi Inyo Mountains slender salamander
Batrachoseps diabolicus hell hollow slender salamander
Batrachoseps gabrieli San Gabriel Mountain slender salamander
Batrachoseps gregarius gregarious slender salamander
Batrachoseps kawia sequoia slender salamander
Batrachoseps major
Batrachoseps nigriventris
black-bellied slender salamander
Batrachoseps pacificus Pacific slender salamander
Batrachoseps regius Kings River slender salamander
Batrachoseps relictus relictual slender salamander
Batrachoseps simatus Kern Canyon slender salamander
Batrachoseps stebbinsi Tehachapi slender salamander
Batrachoseps wrightorum Oregon slender salamander
Chiropterotriton arboreus
Chiropterotriton chiropterus
Chiropterotriton chondrostega
Chiropterotriton dimidiatus
Chiropterotriton lavae
Chiropterotriton magnipes
Chiropterotriton mosaueri
Chiropterotriton multidentatus
Chiropterotriton priscus
Cryptotriton adelos
Cryptotriton alvarezdeltoroi
Cryptotriton monzoni
Cryptotriton nasalis
Cryptotriton veraepacis
Cryptotriton wakei
Dendrotriton bromeliacius
Dendrotriton megarhinus
Dendrotriton xolocalcae

Desmognathus aeneus seepage salamander
Desmognathus apalachicolae Apalachicola dusky salamander
Desmognathus auriculatus southern dusky salamander
Desmognathus brimleyorum Ouachita dusky salamander
Desmognathus carolinensis Carolina mountain dusky salamander
Desmognathus fuscus dusky salamander
Desmognathus imitator imitator salamander
Desmognathus marmoratus
Desmognathus monticola
seal salamander
Desmognathus ochrophaeus Allegheny mountain dusky salamander
Desmognathus ocoee Ocoee salamander
Desmognathus orestes Blue Ridge dusky salamander
Desmognathus quadramaculatus black-bellied salamander
Desmognathus santeetlah yellow dusky salamander
Desmognathus welteri black mountain salamander
Desmognathus wrighti pygmy salamander
Ensatina eschscholtzii
California salamander
Eurycea aquatica brown-backed salamander
Eurycea bislineata northern two-lined salamander
Eurycea cirrigera southern two-lined salamander
Eurycea guttolineata three-lined salamander
Eurycea junaluska Junaluska salamander
Eurycea latitans Cascade Caverns salamander
Eurycea longicauda long-tailed salamander
Eurycea lucifuga cave salamander
Eurycea multiplicata many-ribbed salamander
Eurycea nana San Marcos salamander
Eurycea neotenes Texas salamander
Eurycea pterophila fern bank salamander
Eurycea quadridigitata dwarf salamander
Eurycea rathbuni Texas blind salamander
Eurycea robusta robust blind salamander
Eurycea sosorum Barton Springs salamander
Eurycea tridentifera Comal blind salamander
Eurycea troglodytes Valdina farms salamander
Eurycea tynerensis Oklahoma salamander
Eurycea wilderae blue ridge two-lined salamander
Gyrinophilus gulolineatus Berry cave salamander
Gyrinophilus palleucus Tennessee cave salamander
Gyrinophilus porphyriticus spring salamander
Haideotriton wallacei Georgia blind salamander
Hemidactylium scutatum four-toed salamander
Hydromantes brunus limestone salamander
Hydromantes platycephalus Mount Lyell salamander
Hydromantes shastae Shasta salamander
Ixalotriton niger
Leurognathus spp.
shovel-nosed salamander
Lineatriton lineolus Mexican slender salamander
Nototriton abscondens
Nototriton barbouri
Nototriton picadoi
Nototriton richardi
Nyctanolis pernix
Oedipina alfaroi
Oedipina altura
Oedipina carablanca
Oedipina collaris
Oedipina complex
Oedipina cyclocauda
Oedipina elongata
Oedipina ignea
Oedipina parvipes
Oedipina paucidentata
Oedipina poelzi
Oedipina pseudouniformis
Oedipina stuarti
Oedipina taylori
Oedipina uniformis
Parvimolge townsendi
Townsend's dward salamander
Phaeognathus hubrichti red hills salamander
Plethodon albagula
western slimy salamander
Plethodon aureolus Tellico salamander
Plethodon caddoensis Caddo Mountain salamander
Plethodon chattahoochee Chattahoochee slimy salamander
Plethodon chlorobryonis Atlantic coast slimy salamander
Plethodon cinereus eastern red-backed salamander
Plethodon cylindraceus white-spotted slimy salamander
Plethodon dorsalis
zig-zag salamander
Plethodon dunni Dunn's salamander
Plethodon elongatus Del Norte salamander
Plethodon fourchensis Fourche Mountain salamander
Plethodon glutinosus northern slimy salamander
Plethodon grobmani southeastern slimy salamander
Plethodon hoffmani valley and ridge salamander
Plethodon hubrichti Peaks of Otter salamander
Plethodon idahoensis Coeur D'alene salamander
Plethodon jordani Appalachian salamander
Plethodon kentucki Cumberland Plateau salamander
Plethodon kiamichi Kiamichi slimy salamander
Plethodon kistachie Louisiana slimy salamander
Plethodon larselli Larch Mountain salamander
Plethodon mississippi Mississippi slimy salamander
Plethodon neomexicanus Jemez Mountains salamander
Plethodon nettingi Cheat Mountain salamander
Plethodon ocmulgee Ocmulgee slimy salamander
Plethodon ouachitae Rich Mountain salamander
Plethodon petraeus Pigeon Mountain salamander
Plethodon punctatus white-spotted salamander
Plethodon richmondi ravine salamander
Plethodon savannah savannah slimy salamander
Plethodon sequoyah Sequoyah slimy salamander
Plethodon serratus southern red-backed salamander
Plethodon shenandoah Shenandoah salamander
Plethodon stormi Siskiyou mountains salamander
Plethodon teyahalee southern Appalachian salamander
Plethodon vandykei Van Dyke's salamander
Plethodon variolatus South Carolina slimy salamander
Plethodon vehiculum western red-backed salamander
Plethodon websteri southern zig-zag salamander
Plethodon wehrlei Wehrle's salamander
Plethodon welleri Weller's salamander
Plethodon yonahlossee Yonhlossee salamander
Pseudoeurycea altamontana
Pseudoeurycea anitae
Pseudoeurycea bellii
Pseudoeurycea brunnata
Pseudoeurycea cephalica
Pseudoeurycea cochranae
Pseudoeurycea conanti
Pseudoeurycea exspectata
Pseudoeurycea firscheini
Pseudoeurycea gadovii
Pseudoeurycea galeanae
Pseudoeurycea goebeli
Pseudoeurycea juraezi
Pseudoeurycea leprosa
Pseudoeurycea longicauda
Pseudoeurycea melanomolga
Pseudoeurycea mystax
Pseudoeurycea nigromaculata
Pseudoeurycea parva
Pseudoeurycea praecellens
Pseudoeurycea rex
Pseudoeurycea robertsi
Pseudoeurycea saltator
Pseudoeurycea scandens
Pseudoeurycea smithi
Pseudoeurycea unguidentis
Pseudoeurycea werleri
Pseudotriton montanus
mud salamander
Pseudotriton ruber red salamander
Stereochilus marginatus many-lined salamander
Thorius arboreus
Thorius dubitus
Thorius macdougalli
Thorius minutissimus
Thorius narisovalis
Thorius pennatulus
Thorius pulmonaris
Thorius schmidti
Thorius troglodytes
Typhlotriton spelaeus
grotto salamander

Family Proteidae (mudpuppies and waterdogs)
Necturus alabamensis Alabama waterdog
Necturus beyeri Gulf Coast waterdog
Necturus lewisi Neuse river waterdog
Necturus maculosus mudpuppy
Necturus punctatus dwarf waterdog
Proteus anguineus olm (blind cave salamander)

Family Rhyacotritonidae (torrent salamanders)
Rhyacotriton cascadae Cascade torrent salamander
Rhyacotriton kezeri Columbia torrent salamander
Rhyacotriton olympicus Olympic torrent salamander
Rhyacotriton variegatus southern torrent salamander

Family Salamandridae (newts and salamanders)
Chioglossa lusitanica gold striped salamander
Cynops ensicauda sword-tailed newt
Euproctus montanus Corsican brook salamander
Euproctus platycephalus Sardinian brook salamander
Mertensiella caucasica Caucasian salamander
Neurergus crocatus Lake Urmia newt
Neurergus kaiser Lorestan newt
Neurergus microspilotus Kurdistan newt
Neurergus strauchii Anatolia newt
Notophthalmus meridionalis black-spotted newt
Notophthalmus perstriatus striped newt
Notophthalmus viridescens red-spotted newt
Pachytriton brevipes black spotted newt
Pachytriton labiatus spotless stout newt
Paramesotriton caudopunctatus spot-tailed warty newt
Pleurodeles waltl Spanish ribbed newt
Salamandra salamandra fire salamander
Salamandrina perspicillata northern spectacled salamander
Salamandrina terdigitata spectacled salamander
Taricha granulosa rough-skinned newt
Taricha rivularis red-bellied newt
Taricha torosa
California newt
Triturus cristatus great crested newt
Tylototriton shanjing
Mandarin newt (Shanjing knobby newt)
Tylototriton verrucosus Himalayan newt

Family Sirenidae (sirens)
Pseudobranchus axanthus southern dwarf siren
Pseudobranchus striatus northern dwarf siren
Siren intermedia lesser siren
Siren lacertina greater siren


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The Robinson Library >> Order Caudata

This page was last updated on September 15, 2018.