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Eurycea longicauda — known as the long-tailed salamander[4] or longtail salamander[5] — is a species of lungless salamander native to the Appalachian Region of the eastern United States. It is a "cave salamander" that frequents twilight zones of caves and also inhabits springs and surrounding forest.[5]

Long-tailed salamander
Eurycea longicauda (long-tailed salamander).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Plethodontidae
Genus: Eurycea
E. longicauda
Binomial name
Eurycea longicauda
(Green, 1818)

Salamandra longicauda Green, 1818[2]
Spelerpes melanopleurus Cope, 1894 "1893"
Spelerpes stejnegeri Eigenmann, 1901



There are two[1][6] or three subspecies:[3]

  • E. l. longicauda (Green, 1818) (long-tailed salamander, eastern long-tailed salamander)
  • E. l. melanopleura (Cope, 1894 "1893") (dark-sided salamander, black-sided salamander, Cope's cave salamander)
  • E. l. pernix Mittleman, 1942 (Midland long-tailed salamander)

Eurycea guttolineata has earlier been treated as a subspecies of Eurycea longicauda (that is, as E. l. guttolineata), but is now considered a full species.[7]

The dark-sided subspecies from Ozark County, Missouri


Body color varies from yellow to orange-red to red with random black spots.[5] E. l. longicauda measure on average 50 mm (2.0 in) snout–vent length (SVL) and have 72 mm (2.8 in) long tail.[8]


E. l. melanopleura reproduces in November to February. The eggs measure 7 mm (0.28 in) in diameter. The larvae hatch in January–March at about 10 mm (0.39 in) snout–vent length (SVL). They metamorphose seven months later at 23–28 mm (0.91–1.10 in) SVL. Males become sexually mature between 31–43 mm (1.2–1.7 in) SVL and females 33–43 mm (1.3–1.7 in) SVL. The largest males and females are 55 mm (2.2 in) SVL.[9]

Habitat and conservationEdit

Eurycea longicauda inhabit streamsides, spring runs, ponds, cave mouths, and abandoned mines. With wet weather, they may venture into wooded terrestrial habitats. They hide in rock crevices or under rocks, logs, etc. Eggs are laid in underground crevices associated with aquatic environments, but in caves they may also be attached to objects in or above water.[1]

The overall population size of this species is large (probably more than 100,000). Some local populations may have been impacted by strip mining and acid drainage from coal mining, but there are no major threats overall. Its range overlaps with several protected areas.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2014). "Eurycea longicauda". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T59268A64164108. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T59268A64164108.en.
  2. ^ Green, Jacob (1818). "Descriptions of several species of North American Amphibia, accompanied with observations". Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 1: 348–359.
  3. ^ a b Frost, Darrel R. (2017). "Eurycea longicauda (Green, 1818)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  4. ^ Crother, Brian I., ed. (August 2012). Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Seventh edition. SSAR Herpetological circular No. 39 (PDF). Shoreview, MN: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR). pp. 1–92. ISBN 978-0-916984-85-4. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Conant, R.; Collins, J.T. (1998). A field guide to reptiles & amphibians: eastern and central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-90452-7.
  6. ^ Petranka, J.W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press.
  7. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2017). "Eurycea guttolineata (Holbrook, 1838)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  8. ^ Carlin, Joel L. (1997). "Genetic and morphological differentiation between Eurycea longicauda longicauda and E. guttolineata (Caudata: Plethodontidae)". Herpetologica. 53 (2): 206–217. JSTOR 3893330.
  9. ^ Ireland, Patrick H. (1974). "Reproduction and larval development of the dark-sided salamander, Eurycea longicauda melanopleura (Green)". Herpetologica. 30 (4): 338–343. JSTOR 3891429.

External linksEdit

  Data related to Eurycea longicauda at Wikispecies   Media related to Eurycea longicauda at Wikimedia Commons