Long-tailed Salamander
Eurycea longicauda

Photo by D Dennis

Listed:  State Species of Special Concern.

Description:  This species is an elongate salamander with a conspicuously long tail.  Coloration of the body is yellowish-orange to yellowish-brown with black spots on the back and sides.  The black spots on the sides of the tail form a line of herringbone-shaped markings.  The belly is usually unmarked.  Larvae are initially unmarked but develop dark mottling on the sides of their body.  They then begin to develop a typical adult color pattern.

Habitat/Range:  In North Carolina, the long-tailed salamander occurs only in the extreme northwestern corner of the state.  They may be found in caves or along the margins of shale or limestone stream beds.  Long-tailed salamanders found along streams will commonly take cover under rocks and rotting logs or in rock crevices.  Long-tailed salamanders in some locations migrate to and from subsurface habitats and may only be prevalent above ground from mid spring to late summer.

Diet:  Both larval and adult long-tailed salamanders are thought to be invertebrate generalists, consuming any invertebrates that may be seasonally or locally available.

Reproduction:  Long-tailed salamanders are thought to breed between late fall and early spring.  Eggs are generally deposited in water but are seldom discovered in the field and are thought to be deposited underground in caves or subterranean streams and seeps.  Unlike many closely related species, adult long-tailed salamanders are not thought to guard their eggs until hatching.  Hatchling salamanders emerge from their eggs with external gills and spend 6 months to a year as fully-aquatic larvae before transforming into terrestrial adults.


Back to Salamanders of North Carolina
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The shaded region represents the range of the long-tailed salamander in North Carolina.

Photo by D Dennis

Notice the herringbone-like pattern on the tail.
Photo by Grant Connette

Photo by John Jensen

Photo by JD Willson

Photo by Grant Connette

This website created by: J. Willson, Y. Kornilev, W. Anderson, G. Connette and E. Eskew.
For comments or questions contact M. Dorcas: midorcas@davidson.edu.
M. Dorcas homepage: http://bio.davidson.edu/dorcas
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina 28035-7118.

Partial Funding for this website provided by a Associate Colleges of the South, National Science Foundation, and Duke Energy.