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Lungless Salamanders: Plethodontidae

Two-lined Salamander (eurycea Bislineata): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Two-lined salamanders are small, thin salamanders with long, tapered tails. The eyes bulge out from the head. The color of these salamanders ranges from greenish yellow to yellow or orangish brown. Broad bands extend from behind the eyes along the trunk to near the tip of the tail. This band is marked with dark brown or black spots. On each side of the dark brown band is a brown or black stripe that extends from the eye well onto the tail. The sides of the salamanders are light with dark spots, and the belly is bright yellow with scattered dark spots. These salamanders are 5 to 5.5 inches (13 to 14 centimeters) long from tip of snout to tip of tail.

These salamanders are 5 to 5.5 inches (13 to 14 centimeters) long from tip of snout to tip of tail. (Illustration by Gillian Harris. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: The geographic range of two-lined salamanders extends from northeastern Canada through the northeastern part of the United States to Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia.

Habitat: The larvae of most two-lined salamanders live in small springs and water that has seeped up through the ground and collected in a pool. They sometimes live in ponds, where they live on the bottom. Young salamanders that have recently gone through metamorphosis and adults usually stay near streams in forested areas but move out into the forest, sometimes quite far from the water. As adults some two-lined salamanders stay on land for much of the year.

Diet: Larvae of two-lined salamanders eat the larvae of small water-dwelling insects but also eat small crustaceans. Adults feed mainly on small insects but also eat snails.

Behavior and reproduction: Two-lined salamanders look for food in the forest at night. Some scientists believe these salamanders guard their territory. Scientists believe two-lined salamanders mate on land and that females store sperm until it is time to lay the eggs. The fertilized eggs are laid one at a time under rocks in small streams. The females form nests but do not guard them. Nests can contain more than one hundred eggs, but there are usually about fifty eggs in a nest. Eggs take as long as ten weeks to hatch. After hatching, most two-lined salamanders live as larvae for about two years before metamorphosis is complete. Two-lined salamanders in the southern parts of the range are larvae for about one year.

Two-lined salamanders and people: Two-lined salamanders have no known importance to people.

Conservation status: Two-lined salamanders are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansLungless Salamanders: Plethodontidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Dusky Salamander (desmognathus Fuscus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, LUNGLESS SALAMANDERS AND PEOPLE