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Ospreys are an indicator species. The health of their population has implications for the health our coastal ecosystems.

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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide


Image of An adult northern spring salamander.Zoom+ An adult northern spring salamander. © Brian Zarate

Northern spring salamander

Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus

Species Group: Amphibian

Conservation Status

State: Special Concern

 


IDENTIFICATION

4 1/4” - 8 5/8”. The northern spring salamander has a reddish coloration – typically either pink/orange or light brown with a reddish tinge. Darker markings form a faintly mottled or netlike pattern, but this mottling is not always obvious. Older individuals are darker. A faint light line bordered by a faint gray line runs from eye to tip of snout. The tail is keeled.

Image of Range of the northern spring salamander in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the northern spring salamander in New Jersey.

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

Northern spring salamanders can be found in undeveloped mountainous habitat within Warren, Sussex and Passaic Counties.

DIET

Northern spring salamanders feed on a variety of invertebrates including earthworms, insects, crickets, ants, snails and slugs as well as other salamanders

LIFE CYCLE

Adults breed during the winter and spring along streams. Females lay 40-60 eggs under rocks in small streams during the summer. Females remain with embryos until they hatch in late summer or fall. Larvae remain in slow moving sections of streams and can take 2-3 years to mature.

CURRENT STATUS, THREATS, AND CONSERVATION

Northern spring salamanders exhibit strong fidelity to their breeding streams. They have suffered from degraded water quality in these streams. Our expanding network of roads has negatively impacted this species by impeding salamander movements and increasing the incidence of roadside mortality.

The primary threats facing northern spring salamanders in New Jersey are the loss, alteration, and degradation of quality habitat. Specialized habitat requirements and strong fidelity to forested streams and springs render these salamanders vulnerable to habitat loss. In addition, restricted range and isolated populations hinder their ability to recover from localized extirpations or declines. An expanding network of roads fragmenting forests may impede salamander movements or result in road mortality of dispersing juveniles. These salamanders are sensitive to water quality and may therefore be negatively affected by runoff, insecticide spraying, and other pollutants.

Northern spring salamander locales, including breeding streams and terrestrial habitats, should be protected from development, habitat degradation, and the reduction of water quality. In addition, mosquito control efforts, including insecticide spraying, should be restricted in the areas these salamanders occur.


Text written by Brian Henderson in 2011.


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
       Class: Amphibia
          Order: Caudata
             Family: Plethodontidae
                Genus: Gyrinophilus
                   Species: G. porphyriticus porphyriticus

Find Related Info: Special concern, Amphibians

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