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Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

spring.salamander
photo by John D. Wilson
least concern


Common Name: Spring Salamander
Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia
Size: 9 inches (22.86 cm) record length, averages between 5 – 7 inches (12.7 – 17.78 cm)

The Spring Salamander is found in and around cool, well oxygenated mountain springs, creeks, and seeps. They can spend time under logs, stones, and leaves near the springs. They are noted as being hard to find even with their wide range. Like all members of the family Plethodontidae, they lack lungs! The salamanders rely on absorbing oxygen through their skin. It is why they are found in cool, well oxygenated streams, since it allows them to absorb oxygen easier. In the southern part of their range, the Spring Salamander is known for eating other salamander species.

Breeding occurs during the fall and early winter. The males will deposit their sperm in the water and the female will pick it up with her cloaca. She will store it until she is ready to produce her eggs. The females will lay her eggs in late spring to summer. Few egg masses from the Spring Salamander has been found because the eggs are laid in underground recesses in the springs. Females lay between 10 – 100 eggs are laid at a time. The larval period can last 3 – 4 years.

photo by Todd Pierson

There are 4 different subspecies of the salamander. Subspecies are dumb but whatever floats your boat.

  • Northern Spring Salamander¬†(G.p. porphyriticus)
  • Kentucky Spring Salamander¬†(G.p. duryi)
  • Blue Ridge Spring Salamander (G.p. danielsi)
  • Carolina Spring Salamander (G.p. dunni)

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