Salamanders of Georgia

The spotted salamander is one of the state's native species.
The spotted salamander is one of the state's native species. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The scientific order caudata, or salamander, lists 420 living species worldwide. Of these species, 44 are found living in Georgia. The state's many wetland habitats and warm, moist climate make it well suited for amphibians such as salamanders. The state has a wide range of salamander species including several rare varieties.

Fully Aquatic Salamanders

All salamanders start life in the water and some leave the water either temporarily or permanently, once matured. Several of the state's salamanders are fully aquatic. The amphiuma salamanders are eel-like amphibians with no rear limbs and tiny, almost invisible front limbs. Georgia is home to both the one-toed and two-toed varieties. Siren salamanders are similar having no rear legs but noticeable small front limbs. The sirens are fully aquatic with the dwarf, lesser and greater siren species living in Georgia. The dwarf waterdog, mudpuppy, Alabama waterdog and hellbender salamanders are also native aquatic species.

Mole Salamanders

The state is home to five species known as mole salamanders. These types of salamanders are so called because they dig burrows in which to live and hide. Georgia's mole salamanders are the flatwood, spotted, marbled, mole and tiger salamanders. Mabee's salamander occurs in extreme southern South Carolina near the Georgia border, so it may appear in Georgia, but has not been confirmed.

Dusky Salamanders

The largest group of salamanders in Georgia are the dusky, or seal, salamanders. Nine members of the Desmognathus live in the state including the Apalachicola, southern, spotted and ocoee dusky salamanders. The other native species in the group are the seepage, black-belly, dwarf black-bellied, shovel-nosed and seal salamanders.

Brook Salamanders

Brook salamanders tend to prefer slow moving, shallow water such as streams. Seven of Georgia's salamanders are in the eurycea, or brook salamander group. The species are the chamberlains dwarf, southern two-lined, three-lined, long-tailed, cave, dwarf and blue ridge two-lined salamanders. Brook salamanders tend to be among the smallest.

Slimy Salamanders

The plethodon, or slimy salamanders, are well represented in the state with six different resident species. Most slimy salamanders tend to be dark in color and produce a sticky secretion on the skin to deter predators. Georgia's slimy salamanders are the slimy, southern red-back, Jordans, southern zig zag, websters and red varieties.

Other Salamanders

The remaining Georgia salamander species tend to be the sole members of their genus. The green salamander is a climbing variety. The Tennessee cave and spring salamander species are known as cave salamanders. The other native species include the Georgia blind and the four-toed salamanders which each have their own genus groups. The striped and red-spotted newts are both also salamanders and are found in Georgia.

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