northern spring salamander

(Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus)


This is a large, stout salamander with pink-orange to salmon coloration and black spots or streaks that are widely distributed. The sides have darker reticulations enclosing pale spots. There is a light line from the eye to the nostril bordered below with a darker band. The belly may have a few small, dark, scattered spots on the belly and more numerous spots on the throat and margin of the lower jaw. The length is up to 193 mm. This species will lay eggs from July to August. The clutch size is from 20-60 and they hatch in about 3 months. The females mature at 5 years. The adults are nocturnal and the aquatic juveniles are more active in the day than adults. This species is dormant in the summer.


This salamander is found in the Blue Ridge region of Virginia. It lives beneath stones, logs, and boards on the water’s edge or among roots and stones embedded in banks and the bottoms of streams and springs. It also inhabits wet depressions beneath logs, stones, or leaves in the surrounding forest. It will not tolerate warm, muddy, or polluted water. It may dig deep into the bed of a stream or spring in winter and during low-water periods in the summer.


This species preys on larval and adult insects, arthropods, worms, and other small invertebrates. On rainy nights, adults leave the stream and forage along its banks. The juveniles may forage in beds of submerged plants in springs or streams.