Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

Spring Salamander
photo by John P Clare
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 lives 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.

Spring Salamander
photo by Todd Pierson

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

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

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the salamander as Least Concern for Extinction. The Spring Salamander has a large range and are thought to be abundant throughout it. Habitat destruction to make room for urban areas is a threat to the salamanders.

Spring Salamander Mating

Breeding occurs during the fall and early winter. The males deposit their sperm in the water and the female picks it up with her cloaca. Then, she stores it until she is ready to produce her eggs. The females lay their eggs in late spring to summer. Few egg masses from the Spring Salamander have 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.

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