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AMPHIBIANS » SALAMANDERS
Berry Cave Salamander

Berry Cave Salamander
Gyrinophilus gulolineatus

Found in only 3 counties (Knox, McMinn, and Roane) of the Ridge and Valley Province in east TN. Formerly a subspecies of Tennessee Cave Salamander (G. palleucus).

Description: A long-bodied salamander (4.0 to 9.0 inches in length) with small eyes, lack of eyelids, wide head, spatulate snout, and bright red feathery, external gills. Overall coloration is salmon to pale pink with pale belly. Also, has unique dark stripe on forward half of throat.

Similar Species: Tennessee Cave Salamander has smaller head and body and lacks throat stripe.

Habitat: Caves, sinkholes, or near mouths of caves. Prefers caves with water flowing inward.

Diet: Primarily aquatic invertebrates.

Breeding information: Unknown. Most likely breeds in caves and passages they occupy.

Status in Tennessee: Declining due to water quality degradation from above ground disturbance. In 1994 TWRA listed the Berry Cave Salamander as Threatened.

Fun Facts:

  • Berry Cave Salamanders are “neotenic,” meaning they spend their lives in the larval phase.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Cave entrances in the Ridge and Valley Province.

For more information:

The Salamanders of Tennessee web site

Sources:

Caldwell, R.S. and J.E. Copeland. 1992. Status and habitat of the Tennessee cave salamander, Gyrinophilus palleucus.Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Final report, Nashville, Tennessee.

Conant, R. and Collins, J. 1998. Peterson Field Guides: Reptiles and Amphibians (Eastern/Central North America). Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 616pp.