Amphibians and Reptiles of Long Island,
Staten Island and Manhattan


Regional Salamanders

10. Marbled Salamander - Ambystoma opacum
Description: 3 ½ - 4 ½ " (9-11.7 cm). This salamander appears to have silvery/white bands across an otherwise black dorsum. These bands can vary from complete to incomplete. Black belly. 11-13 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: Not very common in our area. Fossorial. Found on L.I., extinct elsewhere. Lives under logs and rocks. Found in our Pine Barrens and deciduous forests. Prefers dry areas, although sometimes found in moist areas. Mates from Late August to October. Mating and eggs laid on land. Female lays 69-150 eggs with an average of around 98. Young emerge from eggs as early as November when the eggs are flooded by water and are just under an inch in size. Transform 4-6 months later.
 
 

11. Spotted Salamander - Ambystoma maculatum
Description: 5 5/16 - 9" (13.5 - 23 cm). This species is quite distinct, with a chubby body, two rows of round yellow to orange spots and an otherwise black dorsum and gray belly. Yellow head spotting is more common in our area. 12 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species is listed as a "Species of Special Concern" by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is not very common on L.I. and is extinct in the rest of our area. It is seldom seen because of itís fossorial lifestyle, spending most of itís time under logs and rocks in forested areas. Found in both moist and dry soils. A very early breeder, this species mates from March to April. Around 150-200 gelatinous eggs are laid in masses in water. Larvae hatch from April to May at around ½" and transform after 2-4 months. ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.
 

12. Eastern Tiger Salamander - Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum
Description: 5 7/8 - 9 ¾" (15 - 35 cm). This is our largest salamander. Highly irregular splotches olive to yellow color on black dorsum. Olive/yellow dorsum. Very plump, with 12-13 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species is listed as "Endangered" by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is uncommon and found only on L.I. Fossorial. Live in heavily forested areas with moist to dry soils in scattered populations throughout our area. Seldom seen, except during breeding. They live under logs and rocks and also underground in rodent and self made burrows. This is the largest salamander in the eastern U.S.  Mates February to April. Gelatinous egg masses are attached to submerged vegetation. Larvae hatch during summer at about ½". They transform into adults when they reach about 4-7". Females lay 205-328 eggs deposited in 5-8 egg masses. Average mass is 41 eggs.  ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.
 
 

13. Blue Spotted Salamander Complex- Ambystoma laterale x jeffersonianum
Description: 3 ½ - 5 1/8" (9 - 13 cm). Dorsum grayish to bluish with blue to bluish white speckles. Belly lighter shading. 12-14 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species is listed as a "Species of Special Concern" by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In our region it is considered quite rare and is only found on L.I. It prefers acidic, moist areas in wooded areas. Fossorial. Lives under logs and rocks. Mates from April to May. Gelatinous eggs are scattered individually or in small clusters and attached to submerged vegetation. Emerge late spring to summer. Transform by late summer/early fall. Long Island was thought to have a population of the pure blue species, but recently it may have been determined that they are the common hybrid complex with Jeffersonís Salamander.  ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.

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14. Redback Salamander - Plethodon cinereus
Description: 2 3/8 - 4 ¾" (6 - 12 cm). "Red-backed" phase has red stripe extending down top of dorsum from base of head to tip of tail. Sides black to gray, belly black with white splotches. "Lead backed" phase completely black to slate gray with same belly as red-backed. 18-20 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: May resemble Four-Toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum), but has five toes on hind legs and gray belly.

Lifestyle: Very common and found throughout our area. Found in terrestrial woodlands and can tolerate disturbed areas. Usually found under forest debris. This species is completely terrestrial, including breeding (the only amphibian in our range that does not need water to lay eggs in). Breeds October through April. Eggs laid in cluster of 3-14 in June and July. Eggs laid and develop on land. Larvae hatch at about 1". May be nocturnally active on forest floor when feeding.
 
 

15. Four Toed Salamander - Hemidactylium scutatum
Description: 2 - 3 ¾" (5.1 - 9.5 cm). Belly is enamel-white with black speckles while dorsum is red/brown and sides gray. This species has four toes on hind legs, and often has a constricted area by the base of the tail. 13-14 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: Red-backed salamanders (P. cinereus) may look similar, but has five toes and enamel-white belly.

Lifestyle: Not very common. Found on L.I. and is extinct from the rest of our area. Tolerate both moist and dry woodlands and wetlands. Live under forest debris. Breeds late winter to early spring. Lays 18-40 eggs in nest cavity near water. Nests may be communal with more that 40 eggs. Larvae hatch late spring at ½" and enter water. Transform late summer. Great care should be taken if handling this species because the tail is prone to breaking off at the constriction.  ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.
 
 

16. Red Spotted Newt - Notophthalmus viridescens
Description: 2 3/8 - 5 1/8" (6 - 13 cm). Yellow or brown dorsum with bright orange spots. Belly is yellow to cream with many pepper-like black spots.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species is not very common by may be abundant locally. Found throughout most parts of our area. Many individuals remain completely aquatic in this part of itís range, although red efts do sometimes occur if ponds dry up. Prefers slow moving, vegetated pools with sufficient sunlight. Mates from March to May. Males tailsí enlarge and take on a black color during this time. 200-400 eggs laid individually on submerged vegetation.  These hatch from May to August at 3/8 " (1cm) and transform in late summer.
 
 

17. Two Lined Salamander - Eurycea bislineata
Description: 2 ½ - 4 5/16" (6.4 - 11 cm). Yellow to brown dorsum, with a dark line running down each side. Lines may be broken, especially around tail. Belly pale yellow to white. Tail is oval and compressed. 13-16 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: This species is somewhat common and can be found throughout our area. They prefer to be in or close to rivers, streams and brooks. May be found under rocks and logs near waterís edge. Breeds April to July. 15-100 eggs laid under and on submerged debris. Eggs hatch June and July at ½" and transform in 1-3 years.
 
 
 
 

18. Red Salamander - Pseudotriton ruber
Description: 4 - 6 ¼" (10-16 cm). Completely red to coral colored stout species. Dorsum heavily speckled with black spots. Adults become more brownish/purplish in color. 16-17 costal grooves.

Similar species in our area: NONE

Lifestyle: Found only on S.I. and is quite uncommon. Found in and under mosses and debris in or near moist wetland habitats. Breeds in early fall. 50-80 eggs laid in water. Hatch at 1" in late fall. Transform in 2 years.  ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.
 
 
 
 

19. Dusky Salamander - Desmognathus fuscus

Description: 2 1/2 - 5 1/2" (6.4 - 11.5 cm). Distinct pale line from eye to jaw angle. Tail is keeled an triangular. Gray to brown in color and may be plain or mottled. Venter is usually lightly mottled with brown or gray. Costal grooves: 14.

Similar Species in our Area: NONE

Lifestyle: Found near woodland bodies of water, brooks, springs and creeks. If this species is still in our area, it is only found on S.I. and is probably quite rare. Breeds June to September. Lays 12 to 36 eggs in clusters on aquatic debris. Larvae hatch in 6-13 weeks. Mature 3-4 years later.  ANY SIGHTINGS OF THIS SPECIES SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION.