Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts (Order Caudata)

Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders and Newts (Order Caudata)

Salamanders and newts are nocturnal and secretive animals with long slender bodies, long tails and in most cases, two pairs of legs. Life cycles include animals that are totally aquatic, totally terrestrial, and in between--spending time both on land and in water. Habitats include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, swamps, underground caves, under rocks and logs, some animals burrow and some climb trees. Their skin is actually a respiratory surface, allowing oxygen to enter the body. The outer layer of skin is frequently shed and usually eaten. Salamanders and newts eat a varied diet including small invertebrates, insects, slugs, snails, and worms. They in turn provide food and are eaten by shrews, birds, snakes, other salamanders, beetles, centipedes, and spiders.

Biologists studying newts and salamanders have found that many of these animals have remarkable orientation and homing abilities. These animals can disperse from their birth places to several kilometers away or more. Other studies demonstrated that individual animals were able to find their way back to the exact stretch of stream where they were caught. Vision and smell seem to be important to navigation but even blind individuals find their way. Biologists think that the pineal body in the brain is sensitive to light and aids these animals in navigating by cuing them in to the sun’s position in the sky even on cloudy days. Other studies have shown that cave salamanders and red-spotted newts can detect the earth’s magnetic field and will use it as a navigation cue.​

Salamander and Newt Anatomy


PhotoCommon NameScientific NameState Status

Adult photo of Eastern Tiger Salamander courtesy of Jim White
Adult photo of Eastern Tiger Salamander courtesy of Jim White

Eastern Tiger Salamander
Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum

This is a State Endangered species.  If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Adult Photo of Jefferson Salamander
Adult Photo of Jefferson Salamander courtesy of John White

Jefferson Salamander
Ambystoma jeffersonianum

​This is a State Watchlist species.  It was formerly state listed as “Threatened” but has been found to have a larger Maryland distribution than previously known and is locally abundant in some areas.

Adult photo of Marbled Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb
Adult Photo of Marbled Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb

Marbled Salamander
Ambystoma opacum

Photo of adult Spotted Salamander courtesy of John White
Adult Photo of Spotted Salamander courtesy of John White

​Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum

Adult photo of Eastern Hellbender courtesy of John White
Adult photo of Eastern Hellbender courtesy of John White

Eastern Hellbender
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis

Photo 1: Adult photo of Common Mudpuppy courtesy of Art Hulse
Adult photo of Common Mudpuppy courtesy of Art Hulse

Common Mudpuppy
Necturus maculosus maculosus

​This animal is State-listed as Endangered/Extirpated, meaning it occurred in Maryland historically, but currently no known populations exist.  If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Adult photo of Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges
Adult photo of Allegheny Mountain
Dusky Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Desmognathus ochrophaeus

Adult photo courtesy of David Kazyak
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of David Kazyak

Photo 1: Adult photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of Jay Kilian
Adult Photo of Seal Salamander courtesy of Jay Kilian

Seal Salamander
Desmognathus monticola

Adult photos of Long-tailed Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Adult Photos of Long-tailed Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

Long-tailed Salamander
Eurycea longicauda longicauda

Adult photo of Northern Two-Lined Salamander courtesy of John White
Adult Photo of Northern Two-Lined Salamander courtesy of John White

Northern Two-lined Salamander
Eurycea bislineata

Photo 1: Adult photo of Northern Spring Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb
Adult Photo of Northern Spring Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb

Northern Spring Salamander
Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus

Photo 1: Adult photo of Eastern Mud Salamander courtesy of John White
Adult photo of Eastern Mud Salamander
courtesy of John White

Eastern Mud Salamander
Pseudotriton montanus montanus

This is a rare (or overlooked) species in Maryland that is currently on the State’s Watchlist.  If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Habitat photo of Northern Red Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Habitat Photo for Northern Red Salamander courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers

Northern Red Salamander
Pseudotriton ruber ruber

Adult Photo of Four-toed Salamander, courtesy of John White
Adult Photo and Foot Detail Photo of Four-toed Salamander courtesy of John White

Four-Toed Salamander
Hemidactylium scutatum

Adult photo of Green Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges
Adult Photo of Green Salamander courtesy of Mark Tegges

Green Salamander
Aneides aeneus

This is a State Endangered species. If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Eastern Red-back Salamander - Lead-backed and Red-backed morphs courtesy of Mark Tegges
Photo of Eastern Red-backed Salamander Lead-backed
and Red-backed morphs courtesy of Mark Tegges

Eastern Red-backed Salamander
Plethodon cinereus

Adult photo of Northern Slimy Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb
Adult Photo of Northern Slimy Salamander courtesy of Lori Erb

Northern Slimy Salamander
Plethodon glutinosus

Photo of adult Valley and Ridge Salamander, courtesy of John White
Photo of Adult Valley and Ridge Salamander, courtesy of John White

Valley and Ridge Salamander
Plethodon hoffmani

Adult photo of Wehrle’s Salamander courtesy of Ed Thompson
Adult Photo of Wehrle’s Salamander courtesy of Ed Thompson

Wehrle’s Salamander
Plethodon wehrlei

This species is rare and listed as In Need of Conservation. If you find any, please contact DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Photo 1: Adult photo of Red-spotted Newt courtesy of Paul Kazyak
Adult Photo of Red-spotted Newt courtesy of Paul Kazyak

Eft Photo of Red-spotted Newt courtesy of Kerry Wixted
Eft Photo of Red-spotted Newt courtesy of Kerry Wixted

Red-Spotted Newt
Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Photo1.jpg
Adult Photo of Northern Dusky Salamander courtesy of Ed Thompson
 

​Northern Dusky Salamander

​(Desmognathus fuscus)