There are different types of salamanders around the globe, but most of them can only be found in the northern hemisphere. Salamanders are unusual species that play important parts in the habitats in which they live.
The characteristics of salamander species are quite diverse, ranging from those barely a few inches long to the largest amphibian in the world.
Because there are so many different types of salamanders, it can be difficult to comprehend what characteristics distinguish one salamander from another and how they connect.
We have compiled a reference guide to answer questions such as these. Continue reading to acquire knowledge regarding different types of salamanders.
There are around 740 different species of salamanders still in existence today. These species are divided into ten families within the order Caudata.
Salamanders are classified as amphibians because they have moist skin, four legs, and tails roughly the same length as their bodies.
In the same way as other amphibians, salamanders must have access to water to survive. Most salamander species spend their adult lives in humid regions on land, but they go back to bodies of water to reproduce, and their offspring also spend their larval stages in water.
Some species live their entire lives in the water and can reach maturity more quickly than terrestrial ones. There is evidence that different types of salamanders existed as early as the Jurassic period, which one may find in the fossil record.
List of Different Types of Salamanders
1. Spanish Ribbed Newt
The Spanish ribbed newt, also known as the Pleurodeles waltl, takes the concept of self-defense to a whole new level.
These newts have barbs down the sides of their bodies in addition to having toxic skin to protect them from potential predators.
When the newt feels threatened, it will push these barbs, which are actually ribs, through the skin of its body.
The Spanish ribbed newt can grow up to 12 inches (0.3 meters) in length and can range in hue from dark to light gray.
They frequently have dark brown spots on their bodies. The Iberian Peninsula, as well as Morocco, are both home to populations of the Spanish ribbed newt.
In order to survive in this arid region, Spanish ribbed newts will conceal themselves during the dry season by crawling into crevices and hiding under rocks.
2. Iranian Harlequin Newt
The Iranian harlequin newt, also known as Neuerergus kaiseri, is a species of Neuerergus that you can only find in the hilly regions of the Lorestan Province.
These newts, also known as Kaiser’s spotted newts, are brilliantly colored and can grow up to 5 inches (0.1 meters) in length. They have spots of red, yellow, black, and white on their bodies.
Because the rainy season in their mountainous area only lasts a few months, Iranian harlequin newts have developed a unique adaption to deal with this circumstance.
They usually hibernate during the dry season, when small streams and other water sources have dried up, rather than hibernating during the winter in order to avoid cold temperatures.
There is proof for this since scientists have documented this behavior.
3. Fire Salamander
A more well-known salamander species is the fire salamander, scientifically known as Salamandra salamandra.
These salamanders have a striking black and yellow coloring and can grow up to 12 inches (0.3 meters) in length. You can find them in forest areas across the entirety of central Europe.
The tales surrounding salamanders in early European culture inspired the naming of fire salamanders. This species hibernates inside dried logs and will crawl out after the winter months.
4. Luschan’s Salamander
The brilliant yellow and orange markings on the body of the Luschan’s salamander (Lyciasalamandra luschani) are distinguishing characteristics that might vary amongst the three subspecies.
This salamander species reside in Turkey and Greece, in the shrubby Mediterranean vegetation and temperate woodlands.
The overall length of a Luschan’s salamander, which can reach up to 5 inches (0.1 meters) in length, is also referred to as the Lycian salamander.
5. Sierra Juarez Hidden Salamander
The Sierra Juarez hidden salamander, known scientifically as Thorus adelos, is a great example of the family Plethodontidae.
Like other different types of salamanders, these salamanders have teeth on the roof of their mouth in addition to the maxillary teeth typical of salamanders.
The Sierra Juarez hidden salamander is a species of salamander that is exclusive to the cloud forests in the region of Oaxaca, Mexico. It measures around 2 inches (0.05 meters) in length.
6. Arboreal Thorius Salamander
The arboreal thorius salamander, also known as the Thorius arboreus, is the smallest salamander species. It measures roughly half an inch (0.01 meters) in length.
The only place you can find arboreal thorius is at high elevations in the cloud forests of Mexico. They are brown with a dorsal stripe that is reddish in color.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies this salamander species as “critically endangered.”
Mudpuppies, which belong to the species Necturus maculosus, are the only type of salamander that habitually call out to one another. They are also known as waterdogs.
Their high-pitched, squeaky chirps are similar to the sound of a dog barking, which led to the origin of their name.
Adult mudpuppies can survive in the wild for up to eleven years, develop to a length of between 0.2 and 0.4 meters, and have gills outside their bodies.
Mudpuppies are endemic to North America and can be found living at the bottom of bodies of water across the continent. They spend their whole life cycle inside the water.
The olm salamander, also known as Proteus anguinus, is a species of salamander considered to be one of the most special because it is blind and lives in caves in southeastern Europe.
Olms are known to live in the wild for more than a century and are identifiable by the feathery red gills they keep well into adulthood.
These species have adapted to life in the dark, and while they have eyes during their larvae stage, those eyes are covered by layers of skin when they are adults.
This allows them to live in the dark. Olms are able to detect electrical currents in the water, which helps them hunt.
Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) are one of the most well-known species on our list of different types of salamanders because they maintain some larval characteristics until maturity.
This process is referred to as paedomorphosis. Axolotls that have reached adulthood retain their external gills, coupled with an upper fin that runs along the spine and a lower fin at the tail’s base.
Axolotls are typically dark brown with black speckling. However, color mutations are prevalent and include albino, white, and individuals of other colors.
Currently, fewer than 1,000 axolotls are living in the wild, and they are endemic to Lake Xochimilco, located in Mexico City.
Since 2006, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has designated the axolotl as a critically endangered species due to the destruction of its natural habitat, the contamination of its water supply, and the introduction of new species.
10. Marbled Salamander
The marbled salamander, scientifically known as Ambystoma opacum, lives in moist woods across the eastern United States.
Adult marbled salamanders can grow to be around 0.1 meters in length and are black or dark brown in color with bands of silvery-white across their backs.
In contrast to other species in the Ambystomatidae family, marbled salamanders give birth to their young fully on land during autumn.
This behavior distinguishes marbled salamanders from other different types of salamanders. The female will bury fertilized eggs in shallow depressions, tend to them, and keep them moist until the rain causes the nest to get flooded.
11. Two-toed Amphiuma
The adult two-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma means) can reach between 14 and 30 inches (0.4 and 0.8 meters) and live in semi-aquatic environments.
The fact that this salamander has two toes on each foot inspired the naming of the species, hence the name “two-toed.” Two-toed amphiuma spends most of their lives in water, even though they can technically crawl through the boggy ground on their little legs.
You can find these salamanders in marshy forests from New Orleans to southeastern Virginia. They range from Louisiana to Virginia.
12. Pacific Giant Salamander
The Pacific giant salamander, also known as the Dicamptodon tenebrosus, is the largest terrestrial salamander in the world.
You can only find it in the wet, deep woods of the Pacific Northwest in the United States. The undersides of these salamanders are cream-colored, and their brown backs have a purplish mottling pattern.
A few things set Pacific giant salamanders apart from other different types of salamanders, including the fact that they can climb up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) into the trees, howl or bark when they feel threatened, and often give a painful bite when touched.
Adults will enter hibernation throughout the winter when the temperature drops to a certain point; during this period, they have been discovered as deep as 20 feet (or 6 meters) underground.
13. Southern Torrent Salamander
Southern torrent salamanders, also known as Rhyacotriton variegatus, can be found along the coasts of Northern California and Oregon.
They are approximately 10.16 centimeters in length and are about 4 inches long. The backs of these salamanders are speckled brown, giving them the appearance of camouflage, yet, the undersides of their bodies are bright yellow.
Southern torrent salamanders can take anywhere from four to four and a half years to reach full sexual maturity as adults.
The adults of the Hellbender salamander(Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) can grow up to 30 inches (0.8 meters) long.
This makes them the largest species of salamander in North America. This kind of salamander lives its entire life in water and might be a greenish-brown or gray color with black markings.
The wrinkled appearance of a hellbender’s body increases its ability to take in oxygen through the pores of its skin.
Even while adults have lungs and larvae have gills, the primary way that hellbenders take in oxygen is through their skin through a process known as skin respiration.
The idea that hellbenders contain poison is widespread, although it’s not true. Although this is not true, their teeth are extremely sharp and can easily pierce human skin.
Native Americans frequently relied on hellbenders as a source of food in the past.
Hellbenders are at risk of extinction in the Ozarks of the eastern United States due to their habitat degradation and the streams’ pollution.
15. Chinese Giant Salamander
Chinese giant salamanders(Adrias davidianus) are one of the largest species on our compilation of different types of salamanders.
They can reach up to six feet and a half feet (two meters). In the same way, hellbenders acquire oxygen entirely through their skin, Chinese gigantic salamanders have wrinkled bodies to increase their surface area and aid in oxygen absorption. This is another way that they are quite similar to hellbenders.
The body of a Chinese giant salamander has shades of green, brown, and gray, which helps it blend in with its environment as a river bottom dweller.
Due to the absence of other animals that could potentially prey on them, these salamanders are at the top of their food chain.
Because some people fancy them as a delicacy, humans pose the greatest risk to the survival of the Chinese giant salamander.
16. Persian Mountain Salamander
The Talysh and Elburz Mountains in Iran are the only places where the Persian mountain salamander, also known as Paradactylodon persicus.
There have been reports of possible sightings in Azerbaijan. Caves, fish-free streams in broadleaf woods, and the slopes of mountainous terrain are the preferred habitats for this salamander species.
Because their territory is so small, There is very little information about the Persian mountain salamander.
However, there have been reports that the larval period lasts more than a year and that hibernation does not occur because the climate is warm and wet throughout the year.
17. Reticulated Siren
The reticulated siren, also known as the Siren reticulata, was found in the wetlands of Florida. This species can reach a maximum length of 2 feet (0.6 meters) and has a gray body with darker patches.
Since they are only found in murky water and spend their entire lives at the bottom of swamps, there is limited information about this species of salamander’s life cycle or food.
18. Mountain Stream Salamander
The mountain stream salamander (Ambystoma altamirani) is rarely larger than 12 cm in length. Their back and sides are purplish black, while their belly is purple.
In addition, they have light-colored stripes that go from head to tail.
Their habitat, sometimes known as the mountain stream siredon, is also in Mexico, but they reside at great heights above sea level.
They are most common in tiny rivers in pine or oak forests but can also thrive in grassland waterways. Adults can be either aquatic or terrestrial. The species is likewise threatened with extinction.
19. Blunt-headed Salamander
The blunt-headed salamander (Ambystoma amblycephalum) is unique to Mexico. They reside in high environments at around 2,000 meters above sea level.
They are mostly found in scrublands and are currently critically endangered.
Their average size is less than 9 cm, making them diminutive compared to other salamander species. This species undergoes metamorphosis; therefore, the juvenile and adults look different.
The dorsal region is dark or black, while the ventral region is gray with cream-colored dots of varying size.
20. Anderson’s Salamander
Anderson’s salamander (Ambystoma andersoni), named after herpetologist James Anderson, has robust bodies that reach between 10 and 14 cm in length.
This species, like the axolotl, does not metamorphosis. Their coloring is dark orange with black markings that one can find all over the body.
So far, it has only been discovered in Mexico’s Zacapu lagoon and the streams and canals surrounding it. They prefer to hide in the bushes along the stream bank.
Regrettably, this salamander is likewise extremely endangered.
21. Delicate-skinned Salamander
There has been no extensive research on the extinction risks of the delicate-skinned salamander (Ambystoma bombypellum); hence, it is classified as ‘insufficient data’ by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
It is not particularly huge, measuring approximately 14 cm on average.
Their back is bluish-brown gray in color, with a middorsal black line running from head to tail. The caudal and lateral areas are likewise pale gray, whereas the ventral sides are brown.
It lives in bodies of water 2,500 meters above sea level in meadows and mixed woodlands. It is a form of mole salamander that is extremely rare.
22. Lake Pátzcuaro Salamander
The Lake Patzcuaro salamander (Ambystoma dumerilii) is a neotenic species that can only be found in Mexico’s Lake Patzcuaro and is critically threatened.
Males and females measure between 15 and 28 cm in length, making them one of the largest salamanders on our list of different types of salamanders.
Their coloring is consistent and often a roasted brown. However, some reports show the presence of persons with this tonality in the lower areas, although mixed with violet and other lighter tones.
23. Leora’s Stream Salamander
The Leora’s stream salamander (Ambystoma leorae) used to have a wider range, but it is now severely restricted due to pollution and habitat modification. This species is currently critically endangered.
This species goes through metamorphosis, and as adults, they stay in bodies of water to survive. Their usual size is around 20 cm, and they have a greenish coloration with brown patches on the lateral and dorsal sections, while the ventral part is cream-colored.
24. Lake Lerma Salamander
The Lake Lerma salamander (Ambystoma lermaense) mainly inhabits its natural habitat. They are 16 cm or larger in length, and their colors range from gray to black if they are neotenic.
Those that go through metamorphosis have lighter-colored legs and areas surrounding the mouth.
They reside in the remains of Lake Lerma and the rivers that flow into it. Because of the significant impact on the habitat, the IUNC has listed them as critically endangered.
25. Taylor’s Salamander
The Taylor’s salamander (Ambystoma taylori) is a neotenic species in the wild. However, captive animals in laboratories have undergone some transformation.
They are roughly 17 cm or less in length, and their hue ranges from mild yellow to more vivid tones, with dark or light patches appearing all over the body in some cases.
These salamanders inhabit the brackish waters of the Alchichica lagoon and its surrounding basin. They usually stay at the bottom but can come ashore at night. They’re also considered critically endangered.
26. Spotted Salamander
Compared to other different types of salamanders, the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is quite huge, reaching about 10 inches in length.
Salamanders of the genus are primarily black with orange or brown markings on their bodies.
Swamps and woodlands, particularly at higher elevations, are preferred habitats. This salamander can also be found in the country’s east, although not along the coast.
Because it is nocturnal, it is difficult to see. Furthermore, it is a rare sight because it lives in distant places and is active throughout winter.
Salamanders of this species have always guided themselves after winter rains to ponds where they will lay eggs in the spring.
This species can lay up to 200 eggs in ponds. Only a few of these make it to adulthood.
27. California Slender Salamander
Bactrachoseps attenuatus resides across California. It is identifiable by its dark body with yellow or brown stripes.
The species is linked to redwood forests and California oak woods because it is adapted to live near water sources. They mostly stay in areas with freshwater streams or ponds.
The species is medium in size and is well-known for its agility. The California slender salamander mainly consumes termites and worms. It burrows and hunts for its favorite prey.
The species will occasionally seek shelter in existing burrows and underground nests. It requires moisture and a cool location to hide during the hottest parts of the day.
28. Northern Slimy Salamander
You can find the Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) in the states of New York, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Alabama. This species is primarily black with a few light spots on it.
The slime produced by this genus of salamanders gives rise to its name. This is a sticky material used to keep predators at bay.
Like most other types of salamanders, the Northern Slimy salamander favors damp soils and spends most of its time hiding under leaves. This is also an excellent place to look for ants and beetles.
29. Northern Two-lined Salamander
The Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) got its name from the two lines that run from head to tail and distinguish this species.
This genus of salamanders is quite tiny. In adulthood, they can reach a length of 120mm. As the name says, you can find these salamanders in the Northeastern United States and Canada.
The genus salamanders favor stony waterways, where you may often spot them seeking food. The species’ low proportions also make it one of the most vulnerable salamanders in the Northeast.
Its main predators include birds, owls, and snakes.
30. Red Salamander
Red Salamanders (Pseudotriton ruber) thrive across Eastern US woodlands, ponds, and shrubland. The body of the species is brilliant red with little black markings.
Salamanders of the genus grow to 7.1 inches in length and are popular for having a diverse environment, with a few outliers, such as Indiana, which is listed as endangered due to habitat fragmentation.
Like other different types of salamanders, the Red salamander breathes via its skin. It also consumes invertebrates like other salamanders.
Red salamanders consume insects. They also eat earthworms, but only as adults, because they are larger than some insects that young salamanders eat. Adult Red salamanders devour spiders and crabs as well.
31. Long-tailed Salamander
The Long-tailed Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) is an orange or orange-brown salamander with black spots.
Its tail accounts for more than half of its total body length. These different types of salamanders can reach a length of 8 inches.
They reside in the Eastern United States near water sources such as streams, rivers, and ponds.
These salamanders are simple to spot since they gather. Long-tailed salamanders usually stay in groups of up to a few hundred.
This is usually a shaded area because they like to avoid the sun throughout the day and only come out in the evening.
32. Blue-spotted Salamander
The Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is a unique mention on our list of different types of salamanders. They are a rapidly expanding species found throughout the Northeastern United States.
This species’ coloration has blue undertones, as the name implies. The species stands out in its natural habitat, which includes ponds with dense foliage, due to its black hue with blue overtones.
These salamanders can be found in woodlands as well. They are drawn to coniferous forests the most. As they grow, these salamanders go further inland from the ponds where they hatch.
Females of the Blue-spotted Salamander can lay up to 300 eggs annually, making it one of the most prolific breeders in temperate climes.
33. Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Salamanders in this genus (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) can be found throughout the eastern United States. They appear in a variety of colors, but the majority are brown.
These salamanders also have a line running down their back that might be black, yellow, brown, or black.
Streams and ponds are preferred habitats. The species prefers to avoid larger streams and rivers in the eastern United States due to the presence of predatory fish.
The species’ adults can also thrive in rocky places. They prefer to live under huge boulders, which are often within wooded areas.
34. Black-bellied Slender Salamander
This species is native to California (Batrachoseps nigriventris). You can spot them in California’s scrub and forests. Many people mistake these salamanders for simple worms because they resemble earthworms.
The skin of black-bellied slender salamanders is brown, black, or reddish. These are salamander species that do not resemble other different types of salamanders.
Because they resemble worms, they move more slowly and are a bigger target for prospective predators. Salamanders in the genus are likewise extremely fragile and may die if handled.
35. Long-toed Salamander
The Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum) is the second most common salamander in the United States. You can find them across the Pacific Northwest, primarily in highlands and alpine meadows.
Salamanders of this species are quite small, reaching just 2 to 3.5 inches in length. It dwells at high altitudes and occasionally at low altitudes, where it is active all year.
This species, which humans rarely observe due to its reclusive nature, is known to overwinter in the ground, below the surface, and in frigid conditions.
Long-toed salamanders have been observed overwintering in groups. The ability to store protein is one of the adaptations that allow the species to hide beneath the ground for months.
During the winter, when it lives in the ground with up to 25 other different types of salamander species, it feeds on stored protein stores around its body and in its tail.
36. Seal Salamander
Many hardwood woodlands are home to the Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola). Its preferred habitat is little forest streams, where the females lay their eggs.
Female Seal salamanders lay fewer eggs than the typical species in North America. They can lay up to 30 eggs every year. Even with a low amount of eggs laid, the species remains abundant.
It reaches plenty by the toxins it employs in self-defense. As a result, only snakes dare to assault the Seal salamander.
Moreover, adult Seal salamanders frequently hide in small cracks throughout the day. Predators find it difficult to enter these distant places.
37. Cave Salamander
This species (Eurycea lucifuga) is indigenous to the United States. It dwells in caves or near caves, as the name implies. It can wander hundreds of yards away from caverns.
Researchers have discovered Cave salamander subspecies in forests and settings with no caverns. These habitats include those in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia.
Cave salamanders are recognizable by their vivid orange or yellow body color and black patches on the dorsal side.
These salamanders live in secrecy and have clandestine reproduction procedures. While their reproductive habits are well understood, their eggs are a rare sight.
This suggests that Cave salamanders may lay eggs in caves, crevices, underground, or other secluded sites. Female Cave salamanders lay eggs over a period of many months, from September to February.
38. Barred Tiger Salamander
The Barred Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) looks a lot like a tiger. It gets its name from its dual-colored stripped body.
Barred Tigers are also among the largest species on our list of different types of salamanders. They can grow to be more than 10 inches long, making them ideal pets, even though dealing with them is now outlawed in many parts of the country.
These salamanders are famous for their resemblance to tigers but exhibit unique behaviors such as cannibalism.
According to research, this salamander species will resort to cannibalism even with abundant food. Otherwise, the species is opportunistic, feeding on practically any insect or animal it can ambush.
39. Western Red-backed Salamander
The Western Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon vehiculum) is one of the tiniest salamander species in the United States Northeast.
It enjoys the area’s woodlands, as well as the riparian streams and rocky terrains, as do many other salamander species.
Western Red-backed Shrike Salamanders have unique bands that extend from head to tail. These bands can have a variety of colors, which can make it difficult to distinguish this species from other banded salamanders.
It is much smaller than the typical size of salamander species in North America. It rarely grows taller than 2 inches in the wild.
The Western Red-backed salamander has unusually small limbs compared to the rest of its body size.
40. Northern Zigzag Salamander
The Northern Zigzag Salamander (Plethodon dorsalis), which is the last mention in our compilation of different types of salamanders, is a polymorphic species found in the United States.
Because this species comes in a variety of hues and patterns, identification might be difficult.
Its most typical color is dark, with a zigzag line running from its head to the tip of its tail. This is a tiny species that can reach 3.5 inches in length.
The issue with identifying it by its zigzag line is that it also comes in various hues, such as brown, that do not have the line that runs from head to tail.
It feeds on various insects and spiders and is one of the most common salamanders in the United States.