Longtail Salamander Jesse W. Jaycox

Longtail Salamander
Jesse W. Jaycox

Amphibia (Amphibians)
Plethodontidae (Lungless Salamanders)
State Protection
Special Concern
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Global Conservation Status Rank


Did you know?

Lungs are absent in the longtail salamander, as well as in all salamanders of the family Plethodontidae. Respiration is accomplished through the skin and the lining of the mouth (Conant and Collins 1998).

State Ranking Justification

Approximately ten historical locations were noted by Bishop (1941), but only one location has recently been confirmed. Approximately 12 locations were reported in 1998 and 1999 for the New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. Since 1999, one additional location was reported in 2002. New York is at the northern limit of the range and the state range may be more restricted or localized than is suggested by Conant and Collins (1998). The species may also have fairly specific habitat requirements but future survey efforts are likely to confirm additional populations.

Short-term Trends

Although the short-term trends are not well understood, the statewide population is not likely to be increasing. Wherever stream water quality has been significantly reduced, populations can be expected to decline. Additional data is needed to determine if the population is stable or declining.

Long-term Trends

This species was historically located north to Albany, with approximately ten historical locations noted by Bishop (1941) but none of these have recently been confirmed. It is now possibly restricted to the southern tier and southeastern counties west of the Hudson River.

Conservation and Management


Stream channelization, siltation of streams, waterborne contaminants, pathogenic organisms, and unregulated collecting are all considered threats.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

There is a need to develop a management plan for this species and other selected stream salamander species in New York.

Research Needs

Research needs include determining the distribution, population status, and habitat suitability throughout the state.



Transformed individuals and adults are found in moist or wet terrestrial situations, usually along the borders of streams, swamps, seeps, marshes, etc.

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Hemlock-northern hardwood forest (guide)
  • Intermittent stream* (guide)
  • Marsh headwater stream* (guide)
  • Rich mesophytic forest (guide)
  • Rocky headwater stream* (guide)
  • Spring

Associated Species

  • Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)


New York State Distribution

This species formerly occurred north to Albany, but is now possibly restricted to the southern tier and southeastern counties west of the Hudson River. Within this range, it appears to be fairly localized.

Global Distribution

This species occurs from southern New York to Missouri, south to Arkansas, Tennessee, extreme northeastern Mississippi, northern Alabama, extreme northwestern Georgia, western North Carolina, and northwestern Virginia (Carlin 1997).

Best Places to See

  • Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (Sullivan County)

Identification Comments

Identifying Characteristics

The length of adults ranges from 10-15.9 cm (4-6.25 inches), with the record being 19.7 cm (7.75 inches). The ground color varies from yellow to orange or even red, and vertical black markings are present on the tail. These markings are usually conspicuous, although they may vary from the herringbone or "dumbbell" theme that is often described. The black markings on the tail are larger and more conspicuous on some individuals from scattered portions of the range. The young have a relatively short tail (Conant and Collins 1998).

Best Time to See

Longtail salamander adults are usually terrestrial and nocturnal (Pfingsten and Downs 1989). Based on observations in New York as well as observations in New Jersey and Indiana (Petranka 1998), adults are likely to be active from late April to October. Adults and juveniles disperse to winter underground retreats in October in New Jersey (Petranka 1998), and are likely to do the same in New York.

  • Present
  • Reproducing

The time of year you would expect to find Longtail Salamander present and reproducing in New York.

Similar Species

  • Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

Longtail Salamander Images


Longtail Salamander
Eurycea longicauda (Green, 1818)

  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Craniata
      • Class Amphibia (Amphibians)
        • Order Caudata (Salamanders)
          • Family Plethodontidae (Lungless Salamanders)

Additional Resources


Barbour, R. W. 1971. Amphibians and reptiles of Kentucky. Univ. Press of Kentucky, Lexington. x + 334 pp.

Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

Bishop, S.C. 1941. The salamanders of New York. New York State Museum Bulletin No. 324. Albany, NY.

Carlin, J. L. 1997. Genetic and morphological differentiation between Eurycea longicauda longicauda and E. guttolineata (Caudata: Plethodontidae). Herpetologica 53:206-217.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp.

Green, N. B., and T. K. Pauley. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles in West Virginia. University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. xi + 241 pp.

Ireland, P.H. 1979. Eurycea longicauda. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 221:1-4.

Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison, III. 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 264 pp.

Minton, S. A., Jr. 1972. Amphibians and reptiles of Indiana. Indiana Academy Science Monographs 3. v + 346 pp.

Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 1985. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Nongame Unit. Wildlife Resources Center. Delmar, NY.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 2005. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy Planning Database. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

Petranka, J.W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 587pp.

Pfingsten, R. A., and F. L. Downs, eds. 1989. Salamanders of Ohio. Bull. Ohio Biological Survey 7(2):xx + 315 pp.

Valentine, B. D. 1962. Intergrading populations and distribution of the salamander EURYCEA LONGICAUDA in the Gulf states. J. Ohio Herpetol. Soc. 3(3):42-51.


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: July 12, 2005

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2019. Online Conservation Guide for Eurycea longicauda. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/longtail-salamander/. Accessed March 20, 2019.

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