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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus
Northern Spring Salamander / Salamandre pourpre

Northern Spring Salamander
© Tom Gula (replace [at] with @ when emailing)

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.

Confusing Species
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 hind feet.

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.

Natural History
Very little is known about the natural history of Northern Spring Salamanders.

Conservation Concerns
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 COSEWIC.