DEEP: Northern Spring Salamander

Northern Spring Salamander

(Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus)

{Northern Slimy Salamander}

IDENTIFICATION: A large, robust, pink-colored salamander with a white translucent underbelly and fin like tail. Viewed from above the head is distinctly squared off. It has prolonged multiyear larval stage, and many large animals still have gills. Adults 125-190 mm total length.

The partially subterranean existence of this large predatory salamander makes documentation of its distribution very difficult. It is restricted to upland areas of the state. In northwestern Connecticut, spring salamanders have been collected in cold, clean, steeply-graded streams. These streams have a large spring-fed contribution to their water supply. In northeastern Connecticut and adjacent Rhode Island, spring salamanders are found in subterranean springs, most collections being in and near springhouses. Spring salamanders are increasingly abundant further north in western Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and upstate New York, and further south in the Appalachian Mountains. It is likely that this salamander was never common in the state, due to the lack of appropriate habitat. Conservation measures should include protecting the forest cover, water purity and thermal stability of the water source at known sites. The current die-off of hemlocks may affect the habitat quality in ravines inhabited by spring salamanders in northwestern Connecticut. The spring salamander is a "Threatened Species" in Connecticut and is strictly protected on all state lands.

Salamanders | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut