Description: Spring salamanders are one of the largest
stream salamanders in our region (5 - 7.5 in; 12 - 19 cm).
They have a fairly slender build and a light-colored ridge
running from the eye to the tip of the snout. Coloration varies
from salmon to yellowish brown with hints of red, and quite often
there is a mottled or cloudy appearance with small dark spots.
The venter is flesh colored with small black spots on the belly
and throat. This species' elongate build and nasal ridge distinguish
it from the similar mud and red salamanders (Pseudotriton
Range and Habitat: Spring Salamanders throughout the Appalachian
Mountains and northeastern U.S. In our region they are restricted
to mountainous areas of northern Georgia and northwestern South
Carolina. This species is found in and around clear, cool mountain
springs, creeks, and seeps. They are occasionally found fairly
far from water in moist forests.
Habits: Spring Salamanders are most frequently encountered
under rocks, logs, and other cover objects near streams or seeps.
Although they take cover under such objects by day they are active
at night when they search for invertebrate and small vertebrate
prey. In some regions the bulk of Spring Salamander diets consist
of other salamanders. Adults are frequently found crossing roads
on rainy nights. Breeding occurs during the fall and spring and
females lay up to 100 eggs in the summer. Relatively few spring
salamander nests have been found suggesting that this species
often lays its eggs in underground sections of streams. Larvae
are aquatic and have one of the longest larval periods of any
salamander in our region, lasting 3 - 4 years. Consequently, larvae
are very large at metamorphosis, nearly reaching adult size. Larvae
of this species can be very difficult to differentiate from those
of mud and red salamander (Pseudotriton sp.)
Conservation Status: The Spring Salamander is not protected
in Georgia and is common in its preferred habitat, but alteration
of stream habitat, particularly sedimentation, has had detrimental
effects on the habitat of this salamander.
Lowe, W. H., K. H. Nislow, and D .T. Bolger. 2004. Stage-specific
and interactive effects of sedimentation and trout on a headwater
stream salamander. Ecological Applications 14(1):164-172.
Account Author: Matt Slafkosky, University of Georgia
- revised by J.D. Willson