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Lizards & Snakes

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Lizards & Snakes


Cortland Herpetology Connection

Salamander Key

See also species distribution maps at the New York State
Amphibian and Reptile Atlas Project

Key to the families of adult salamanders in New York

1.a. External gills present Proteidae
1.b. No external gills 2
2.a. Gill slits present Cryptobranchidae
2.b. No gill slits present 3
3.a. Costal grooves present 4
3.b. No costal grooves Salamandridae
4.a. Nasolabial grooves present Plethodontidae
4.b. No nasolabial grooves Ambystomatidae

Key to the species of the family Proteidae of New York

1.a. Only species found in New York Mudpuppy
Necturus maculosus

Key to the species of the family Cryptobranchidae of New York

1.a. Only species found in New York Hellbender
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis

Key to the species of the family Salamandridae of New York

1.a. Only species found in New York Red-spotted newt
Notophthalmus viridescens

Key to the species of the family Ambystomatidae of New York

1.a. Yellow spots or blotches on a dark body 2
1.b. No yellow spots 3
2.a. Spots arranged in 2 rows on back, tail generally round, chin white or gray but not yellow Spotted salamander
Ambystoma maculatum
2.b. Spots numerous, tail taller than wide, chin yellow Eastern tiger salamander
Ambystoma tigrinum
3.a. Bold white or silver crossbands on back, belly dark Marbled salamander
Ambystoma opacum
3.b. No bold white crossbands, often light blue or silver flecking on sides, belly gray Jefferson/Bluespotted complex
Ambystoma jeffersonianum-
A. laterale

Key to the species of the family Plethodontidae of New York

1.a. Light line from eye toward angle of jaws 2
1.b. No light line, hind limbs distinctly thicker
than forelimbs
2.a. Tail rounded in cross section Mountain dusky salamander
Desmognathus ochrophaeus
2.b. Tail with distinct dorsal keel Northern dusky salamander
Desmognathus fuscus
3.a. Four toes on hind feet Four-toed salamander
Hemidactylium scutatum
3.b. Five toes on hind feet 4
4.a. Body with dorsal red stripe, sides dark Redback salamander
Plethodon cinereus
4.b. No red stripe 5
5.a. Yellow under tail, two dark stripes bordering a yellow/tan/gold dorsal stripe, belly white or yellow Northern two-lined salamander
Eurycea bislineata
5.b. Not as in 5a 6
6.a. Body all orange, pink, red, or purple 7
6.b. Body brown, grey, black 9
7.a. Acanthal ridge and light line from eye to nostril, body pink, salmon, or purple Northern spring salamander
Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
7.b. No ridge or line from eye to nostril 8
8.a. Body orange, red or purple with numerous small black spots, tail short and thick Northern red salamander
Pseudotriton ruber
8.b. Body orange or yellow orange, tail long and thin, dark spots on body and dark vertical bars on tail Longtail salamander
Eurycea longicauda
9.a. Costal grooves = 19, limbs small,
belly mottled
Redback salamander
Plethodon cinereus
9.b. Less than 19 costal grooves, limbs moderate 10
10.a. Bright white spots scattered over dark body, throat grayish, 16 costal grooves Slimy salamander
Plethodon glutinosus
10.b. Dark body with light flecking on sides, throat light, usually 17 costal grooves Wehrle's salamander
Plethodon wehrlei


Dr. Peter Ducey, Project Director
Biology Department, SUNY Cortland
Email: duceyp@cortland.edu
Craig Cramer, Webmaster
Email: cdcramer@clarityconnect.com

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