Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus
Northern Spring Salamander / Salamandre pourpre
This large salamander has a sturdy body and a keeled tail. The colour is variable but
usually tends towards reddish or yellowish brown, orange or salmon. Canadian
individuals tend to have a mottled or netlike pattern on the back. It differs from
other salamanders in having a light bar that extends from the eye to the nostril.
Total length including tail can reach 22 cm.
The Northern Two-lined Salamander also has an
extremely keeled tail, but it has a yellowish band down the back and lacks the line
from the eye to the nostril. The Northern Dusky
Salamander has a keeled tail similar to the Northern Spring Salamander and a light
line on the face but this extends back from the eye to the corner of the mouth. The
Four-toed Salamander is smaller and
less robust. It has a constriction at the base of the tail and only four toes on the
In Canada, the Northern Spring Salamander is limited to extreme southern Quebec. Its
distribution southwestward through the Appalachians and Adirondacks to northern Georgia,
Alabama and Mississippi. Historically, it may have been found in Ontario.
Northern Spring Salamanders inhabits cool springs, mountain brooks, shaded seepages and
wet caves and elevations from 90 to 2000 m.
From 11-100 eggs are attached individually to the underside of rocks in cool water.
Larvae hatch in late summer or fall and may take up to four years before transforming.
Very little is known about the natural history of Northern Spring Salamanders.
Northern Spring Salamanders are sensitive to changes in water quality or quantity.
Given the rarity of this species in Canada it has been designated Special Concern by