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Range Map

Northern Slimy Salamander

Northern Slimy Salamander
Plethodon glutinosus

Occurs in the eastern two-thirds of the state. White-spotted Slimy, Mississippi Slimy, and Northern Slimy Salamanders are virtually indistinguishable, and make up the Slimy salamander complex.

Description: A large salamander (4.5 to 8.0 inches in length) having black dorsum with small, white or silver spots scattered over the body. Belly is lighter than the back and the tail is round.

Similar Species: Distinguished from identical White-spotted Slimy and Mississippi Slimy Salamanders by range and genetic analysis. Tellico Salamander has a separate range and Cumberland Plateau Salamanders are smaller and have a light chin. Southern Appalachian Salamander usually has fewer and smaller white spots on back and sides.

Habitat: Beneath rocks, logs, and forest litter in woodland habitats; occasionally around cave entrances.

Diet: Earthworms, spiders, snails, flies, beetles, aphids, and other invertebrates.

Breeding information: Adults reproduce terrestrially during the spring and summer. Females lay 15-35 eggs in rotting logs or under stones and brood the eggs until hatching. The young hatch directly into miniature adults.

Status in Tennessee: Appears to be common in Great Smoky Mountains and in parts of its range. Relatively resilient to timber harvesting; however clear-cuts have a negative impact on populations.

Fun Facts:

  • The genus name Plethodon means “full of teeth”, reflecting the large number of teeth in the jaws.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Mid- to lower elevation forests of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

For more information:

The Salamanders of Tennessee web site


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

Dodd, Jr., C.K. 2004. The Amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville TN.

Jensen, J. B., Camp C. D., Gibbons, W., and Elliot, M. J. 2008. Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia, University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA. 575pp.