Family Friday

Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders

Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders

Number of Subfamilies: 2 – Hemidactyliinae and Plethodontinae
Number of Genera: 28
Number of Species: 471

Plethodontidae is the largest family of salamanders. It is nicknamed the lungless salamanders because none of the species have lungs! The family is thought to diverged in the Appalachian Mountain range in the United States. Most of the family is found in the New World of North America, Central America, and South America, but there are a few species in European and South Korea.


California slender salamander by Stephen Friedt

The genus Batrachoseps is known as the Slender Salamanders. They can be identified from most other salamanders from the family because they have 4 toes on each foot. Most species are found in California but they are also in Oregon and Baja California.

Mexican Climbing Salamander by Josiah H. Townsend

The genus Bolitoglossa is nicknamed the tropical climbing salamanders because they are found from Mexico down to Brazil and that they can climb trees. They are also called the Web-footed Salamanders but only like half the species have webbing. Two species in the family are actually poisonous, the Ringtail Salamander (Bolitoglossa rostrata) and the La Palma Salamander (Bolitoglossa subpalmata).

The genus Bradytriton has only one species – Finca Chiblac Salamander (Bradytriton silus). It is found only in Guatemala.

Chiropterotriton is known as the Splayfoot Salamanders or Flat-footed Salamanders. They are found only in Mexico.

Cryptotriton is known as the Hidden Salamanders. They are found in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Dendrotriton is known as the Bromeliad Salamanders. They are found in Central America and South America.

Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni)

Eurycea is known as the Brook Salamanders, Blind Salamanders, and Cave Salamanders. They are found in North America.

Tennessee Cave Salamander (Gyrinophilus palleucus)

Gyrinophilus is known as the Spring Salamanders. They are found in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern United States and Canada.

Four Toed Salamander by Brian Gratwicke

The Four-Toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)is the only member of the genus Hemidactylium. It is found in the eastern part of the United States and Canada.

The genus Nototriton is home to salamanders called the “Moss” Salamanders. They are found in Central America.

Long-limbed Salamander by Sean Michael Rovito

The Long-limbed Salamander (Nyctanolis pernix) is the only member of the genus Nyctanolis. It is found in Guatemala and Mexico.

Taylor’s Worm Salamander by Vladlen Henríquez

The genus Oedipina is named the Worm Salamanders because they have long slender bodies and tiny limbs.

Townsend’s dwarf salamander (Parvimolge townsendi) is the only member of the genus Parvimolge. It is found in Mexico.

The genera Pseudoeurycea is known as the False Brook Salamanders. They are found from Mexico to Guatemala.

Red Salamander by Leif Van Laar

The genera Pseudotriton is known as the Red or Mud Salamanders. They are found in the eastern United States.

The Many-lined Salamander (Stereochilus marginatus) is the only species of the genus. It is found in southeastern United States.

The Minute Salamanders are from the genus Thorius. They are named after their small bodies. They are found in Mexico.

The Patch-nosed Salamander (Urspelerpes brucei) is the only species from the genus Urspelerpes. It is only found in the state of Georgia in the United States.


The genus Aneides is known as the Climbing Salamanders. They are found in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. They have prehensile tails.

Black Belly Salamander by Fredlyfish4

The Dusky Salamanders are from the genus Desmognathus. They are found in the eastern half of the United States and Canada.

Ensatina eschscholtzii photo by Marshal Hedin

The genus Ensatina only has one species – Ensatina Salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii). It is found on the West Coast, from Baja California up to British Columbia.

The genus Hydromantes is named the Web-Toed Salamanders. They are found in California and in Europe (mostly Spain). Some have separated the salamanders into two genera because of the distance between the group, Speleomantes being the European genus.

Korean Crevice Salamander by Todd Pierson

Korean Crevice Salamander (Karsenia koreana) is the only member of it’s genus. More importantly, it’s the only Plethodontid from Asia.

Red Hills Salamander - Phaeognathus hubrichti
Red Hills Salamander – (Phaeognathus hubrichti) photo by John P. Clare

The Red Hills Salamander is only found in Georgia and is the only member of it’s genus.

Red Backed Salamander by  Rklawton

The genus Plethodon is known as the Woodland Salamanders or Slimy Salamanders. They are found in Southern Canada and the United States.

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