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16 Vibrant Salamanders in New Jersey

There are 16 different salamanders in New Jersey and there are 37 amphibians in total within the state. Salamanders are important to the habitats they live in, and also are a sign of a healthy environment.

Due to pollution, and climate change amphibians are all species that have been victims of population decline. Learning about the different salamanders and the habitats they live in is important in sustaining life in the wild.

This article will not only cover all of the salamanders that live in New Jersey, but also the interesting things to learn about them. Identifying a species in the wild can be done by examining its appearance, location, and behavior.

In some cases, salamander species are extremely similar, and are only told apart by genetic DNA. Let’s take a look at all of the salamanders in New Jersey, and useful things to know about them for your next outing into the wild. 

Salamanders in New Jersey

1. Marbled Salamander

Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) being held in hand for picture
Marbled Salamander (Ambystoma opacum) being held in hand for picture – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma opacum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.25 inches (9 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 4 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Marbled salamanders are found across the state of New Jersey. They live in moist woodlands, hillsides, and next to water sources like vernal pools. This species mainly lives in the eastern United States. Marbled salamanders are common, and their population is considered stable. Places with soft and wet soil and moist woodlands are where this salamander is seen most.

A medium-sized species, the marbled salamander has dark black coloring. They are covered in bands of white or silver. Females of this species are larger, and their bands are grayish-white. Males have brighter bands. When young after transforming this species is brown, or black with light specks. Marbled salamanders have black undersides.

Late summer and early fall is the breeding season for this species. They migrate to pools, and females usually lay around 50 to 200 eggs. Young larvae are aquatic and feed on zooplankton and small invertebrates. As they grow they complete metamorphosis and feed on larger invertebrates.

2. Jefferson Salamander

Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock
Jefferson Salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) on a large rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma jeffersonianum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4.3 to 7.1 inches (11 to 18 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $50

Jefferson salamanders are a secretive species, with their range covering the eastern United States. In New Jersey, this salamander lives within the northeastern region of the state. This salamander is affected by habitat loss and is in need of conservation within New Jersey. Jeffersons’ salamanders require specific habitats for breeding, and lower quality of water can make it harder for them to mate.

Jefferson salamanders are nocturnal and are seen most during their breeding season in early spring. This salamander lives in burrows, using breeding pools to lay up to 5 to 60 eggs. Females reach breeding age around 22 months, and males begin to breed at 34 months. When not active this species can be seen hiding under leaf litter, and other debris. 

Jefferson salamanders have dark brown, gray, or black coloring. They have a moist appearance, and their bodies have 14 costal grooves. Some specimens of this species may have silver or blue specks on them. This slender species has a wide head and slender toes. 

Jefferson salamanders feed on insects, worms, slugs, and other invertebrates. This salamander is named after Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. Protecting this species involves not using chemicals that get into their water homes, and protecting their habitats.

3. Blue-spotted Salamander

Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) being held in hand
Blue Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma laterale
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 3 to 5 inches (7.62 to 12.7 cm)
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Average Price Range: $25

Blue-spotted salamanders have a small range in New Jersey, found in the Passaic River basin, and parts of Warren and Sussex counties. This species is considered endangered in the state and is rarely seen since they speed up most of their lives underground.

Spring is when this species comes out underground to breed, which lasts for around 2 to 3 weeks. Blue-spotted salamanders lay around 200 eggs or less, placing them in clusters attached to vegetation in the water. Yearly a female can lay up to 500 eggs.

When born this species is small and aquatic, until metamorphosis. Larvae that have turned into juveniles have yellow spots, and adults are covered in blue spots. Blue-spotted salamanders have blueish-black coloring, with flecks covering them. Their tail is medium-sized and is around 40% of their length. On them, they have 12 to 14 costal grooves.

Blue-spotted salamanders feed on small invertebrates like worms, slugs, and insects. They are most active at night and hide under debris like rocks, logs, or leaf litter.

4. Spotted Salamander

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) in net
Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) in net
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Ambystonmatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum
  • Other Names: Yellow Spotted Salamander
  • Adult Size: 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm)
  • Lifespan: 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 

The spotted salamander is found across the eastern United States. In New Jersey, they are found in most of the state but are absent from the southern regions. Spotted salamanders live in deciduous woodlands, next to rivers, and other water sources. They prefer damp environments,s and burrow underground when not breeding. Adults you may be able to find in leaf litter, or under logs. 

The spotted salamander is a larger species with a broad body. They have black, gray, or dark brown coloring. Larvae of this salamander are aquatic and have an olive color. Spotted salamanders when fully grown have around 12 costal grooves on them. This species has yellowish or orange spots that appear on them, from head to toe.

Spotted salamanders secrete a milk substance from their body, and like other amphibians, this species uses its toxins to defend itself. Spotted salamanders eat prey like spiders, insects, slugs, millipedes, and worms. They may also eat smaller amphibians. 

In New Jersey, the spotted salamander is one of the many salamanders that have experienced population loss from pollution, and deforestation. This salamander has a decreasing population in New Jersey. In their overall range across the eastern United States spotted salamanders have a stable population. 

5. Eastern Tiger Salamander 

Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) found in woods on ground close up
Eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum) found in woods on ground close up
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Ambystomatidae
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma tigrinum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 7 to 13 inches (17.78 to 33 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The eastern tiger salamander lives across the entire state of New Jersey. The overall range of the eastern Tiger salamander covers the east coast and central regions of the United States. Eastern spotted tiger salamanders live in forest habitat next to vernal pools. Adults spend most of their lives in burrows, coming out in the rainy seasons to breed.

Eastern tiger salamanders are the largest salamander in New Jersey. The largest of them grow up to 13 inches, and their bodies are very robust. Eastern tiger salamanders have dark brown or black coloring. They are covered in yellow blotches and have yellow bellies.

Tiger salamanders return to the grounds they were born to breed. The amount of eggs a female lays varies between 50 to 1,000. She lays them in clumps of 25 to 30, attaching them to vegetation. When born the tiger salamander is aquatic and has external gills like an axolotl. After hatching, larvae feed on zooplankton and aquatic invertebrates, taking between two to five months to complete metamorphosis. 

In New Jersey, the tiger salamander is considered endangered and threatened by their dwindling population. They are affected by diseases like chytridiomycosis, and ranavirus sicknesses. In the wild, they are fed on by predators like skunks, birds, and snakes, but humans are their main threat.

6. Red-spotted Newt

Red Spotted Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in stream on leaf
Red Spotted Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in stream on leaf – source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Salamandridae
  • Scientific Name: Notophthalmus viridescens
  • Other Names: Eastern Newt
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches (7 to 12.4 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $30

Red-spotted newts are found across New Jersey, and their range covers the United States. This species goes through multiple life stages. Adults and larvae are found in unpolluted waters, while the red eft stage is terrestrial, and lives in moist woodland habitats.

Red-spotted newts adults have greenish-olive skin, and they have yellowish bellies. Red spots with black borders cover them, and they have large knife-shaped tails. Efts are bright orange with similar spots as adults. Efts stay terrestrial for around 3 months and look for a water source to live in.

The red-spotted newts are essential in the environments they live in, and once their population begins to dwindle it is a sign of possible habitat degradation. Red-spotted newts feed on animals like snails, ants, mosquito larvae, crustaceans, and other amphibians.

This species from eggs to adults are poisonous and use secretions from their bodies to defend themselves from predators. Red-spotted newts are able to regenerate lost limbs. Large fish, aquatic birds, snakes, and other amphibians are what prey on this species the most. This salamander is considered stable in the state, but have experienced a population decline.

7. Northern Dusky Salamander

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) on someone's hand in Raymond, New Hampshire, USA
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) on someone’s hand in Raymond, New Hampshire, USA. – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus
  • Other Names: dusky salamander
  • Adult Size: 2.52 to 5.59 inches (6.4 to 14.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $25

The Northern dusky salamander has a range that covers most of the state of New Jersey but is lacking from the far southern portion. This species is seen mostly from the months of April until September. They live near flowing water, spending their time hiding under debris like moist logs or leaf litter. 

Medium in size, the northern dusky salamander has coloring ranging from brown to gray. Spots or stripes may appear on them when young. Their underside is light in color and has a mottled pattern. Mottled patterns also cover this salamander’s sides, and they have 14 costal grooves on them. 

Northern dusky salamander adults are subterranean, living in burrows near the water and hiding in other secluded areas. Breeding for this salamander occurs on land. Females typically lay between 110 to 30 eggs, placing them in areas with lots of moisture. Eggs incubate for up to two months and larvae when hatched are aquatic. Their aquatic stage lasts between 7 to 16 months in total. Sexual maturity for the northern dusky salamander is reached in three or four years. 

Small insects like worms and mites that live near their burrows are what this salamander typically eats. Their secretive nature helps them avoid predators like fish, crayfish, snakes, and mammals. 

8. Mountain Dusky Salamander

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) curled up on a rock
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) curled up on a rock – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 4.5 inches (6.35 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 year
  • Average Price Range: $25

In New Jersey, the Mountain dusky salamander lives in the northern corner of the state. They live in the mountainous regions in north New Jersey. Their range covers a small region in the eastern United States. Mountain dusky salamanders usually live near water in wooded habitats, This species may venture away from a water source in rainy weather.

Mountain dusky salamanders look very similar to the northern dusky salamander, but there are a few features that can help distinguish the two. Mountain dusky salamanders have a more round tail than their similar species. This salamander has a tan-to-gray coloring, with dorsal stripes on their sides. Medium in size the mountain dusky salamander has moist skin, as well as small spots on them.

The small range of this salamander and the limited habitats they can live in is why this species is at risk of population loss. Mountain dusky salamanders are nocturnal and may sometimes be seen climbing on vegetation like bushes and trees.

9. Redback Salamander

Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) out in the woods near a cave
Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) out in the woods near a cave
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
  • Other Names: Eastern Red-backed Salamander. Northern Red-backed Salamander
  • Adult Size: 2.2 to 3.9 inches (5.7 to 10 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 to 25 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $30

Redback salamanders are found all over New Jersey. They live in wooded habitats, found in moist areas under rocks, logs, and other debris. The redback salamander is native to the far eastern region of the United States. They have a stable population in their range and are active during the wettest time of the year.

Redback salamanders appear in different colors. The lead-back phase of this species lacks any red markings on them and is darkly colored. They may have specks that appear on them.

The red-backed coloring phase of this salamander has an orangish dorsal stripe on them and a tannish gray color. Silver speckles appear on their sides. The underside of both coloring phases of this salamander is white and has a mottled pattern. They are a small and slender species.

Insects, spiders, millipedes, and isopods make up the majority of animals in this salamander’s diet. The bacteria that this species lives with helps protect them from diseases that kill off other species.

10. Northern Slimy Salamander

Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) on dry leaves and pine needles in Laurens County, South Carolina, USA
Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus) on dry leaves and pine needles – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Plethodon glutinosus
  • Other Names: grey-spotted salamander, slippery salamander
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 8 inches (11.43 to 20.32 inches)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $20

Northern slimy salamanders live in woodlands, and ravine habitats. Most of the time this species hides under natural debris and comes out most on moist nights. Northern slimy salamanders are found in most of New Jersey but are absent from areas within the far southeastern regions. Spring to fall is when they are active most, becoming inactive in the extreme cold and hot periods.

The northern slimy salamander is all black and covered in silver or golden flecks. They have a gray underside and are medium-sized salamanders. This species gets its name from its slimy appearance, as they secrete a sticky white substance over its body. On them, they have between 112 to 13 costal grooves.

The sticky substance of this species’ body helps defend itself. This species is cannibalistic, and also faces predators like birds and snakes in the wild. Bugs, ants, beetles, and worms are what this species feeds on.

11. Four-toed Salamander

Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) close up on a log
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) close up on a log
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylium scutatum
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2 to 4 inches (5.1 to 10.2 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $40

The four-toed salamander lives all over New Jersey, with their range mainly covering the eastern United States. This species lives in wooded swamps and moist areas with lots of debris for them to hide. Habitat destruction is one of the main reasons for the population decline of this species.

The four-toed salamander is a slender species with small limbs and is named after the number of toes they have. This species is gray, or brown, and on their sides, they have silver speckles. Their bellies are white and have a black mottled pattern.

Four-toed salamanders breed in the winter months during the rainy season, typically laying between 18 to 41 eggs. They are preyed on by animals like rats, or skunks. They are able to detach their tail from their bodies, and also use the toxins on them to defend themselves. Small invertebrates like spiders, ticks, and beetles make up this terrestrial salamander’s diet.

12. Northern Spring Salamander

Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) close up
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) close up
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus
  • Other Names: Purple Salamander
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7.5 inches (12.7 to 19.05)
  • Lifespan: 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $100

Northern spring salamanders are found in the northwestern corner of New Jersey and are a native species to the eastern United States. Northern spring salamanders have a declining population and are listed as a species of Special Concern in New Jersey. They live in mountainous woodlands, breeding during the winter and spring months.

Northern spring salamanders are medium-sized and have reddish coloring. They have faint mottled patterns on them and slender bodies. Older specimens have gray lines that appear near their eyes and snout. The northern spring salamander grows to larger sizes in higher elevations. They have 17 to 19 costal grooves on them.

When born this salamander is aquatic, and after metamorphosis juveniles become terrestrial, and are more brightly colored than adults. Northern spring salamanders’ main predators are fish, which feed on them and their young. This species is not federally protected and has a stable population.

13. Eastern Mud Salamander

Gulf Coast Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus) close up on snow with debree around
Gulf Coast Mud Salamander (Pseudotriton montanus flavissimus) close up on snow with debree around
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton montanus
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.9 to 6.2 inches (7.5 to 16 cm)
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: n/a

A threatened species in New Jersey, the eastern mud salamander lives in swamps, bogs, and stream-type habitats. This salamander range covers the southeastern United States. This salamander is active for most of the year but rests in extreme hot and cold temperatures. Eastern mud salamanders are extremely rare in New Jersey.

The color of this species is vibrant red, and they are covered in black spots. With age, these salamanders become darker. They are medium-sized and have a slender appearance. Eastern mud salamanders are very similar to red salamanders but have brown eyes, instead of yellow. Their spots are also more defined and are further apart than the red salamander.

Eastern mud salamanders as their name suggests are able to be spotted in muddy habitats. They eat animals like spiders, beetles, and other insects. Eastern mud salamanders’ main predators are garter and water snakes, but may also be eaten by birds, larger amphibians, and rodents.

14. Red Salamander

Close up of a Red Salamander (Pseudotriton Ruber) on wet green vegetation
Close up of a Red Salamander (Pseudotriton Ruber) on wet green vegetation
  • Experience Level: Intermediate 
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber
  • Other Names: Northern Red Salamander
  • Adult Size: 20 years
  • Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $70 to $100

Red salamanders are found all over New Jersey. This species is native to the eastern United States. Habitats like springs, seeps, and moist woodlands are were they live. Red salamanders are not active in extreme temperatures and are seen as moist in winter and spring. Clean-flowing waters are what this species prefers, and they hide under things like moss.

Red salamanders are a medium-sized species, with reddish to brown coloring. They are covered in black dots and have bellies with dark markings. Red salamanders have yellow eyes and a long snout. This species has around 16 costal grooves. Their bellies are pinkish-red with black spots.

Small insects and invertebrates are what this species eats. Like other salamanders they are mainly nocturnal and come out most in moist areas, Snakes and larger amphibians feed on this species. Most members of this species die in the larval aquatic stage.

15. Northern Two-lined Salamander

Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) being held in hand
Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) being held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea bislineata
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 2.75 to 4.5 inches (6.9 to 11.43 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $15

Northern two-lined salamanders are found in most of New Jersey but are absent from the southeastern portions of the state. This salamander is native to the eastern United States. They live in woodlands near streams and hide under debris near the water. Fall is the mating season for this species, and they come out most in heavy rain. Females lay around 100 eggs, placing and guarding them until they hatch.

This salamander is small in size and has a slender body. They have olive, yellow, tan, or gray coloring. Two lines run down their sides, and this species also has spots on them. Their bellies are pale and have a translucent appearance.

The northern two-lined salamander feeds mainly on insects like roaches, or other invertebrates. Newly hatched salamanders of this species are aquatic, and they eat aquatic invertebrates and zooplankton. When grown they have the ability to drop their tail which helps them escape predators that grab them.

16. Long-tail Salamander

Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held in hand
Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda) held in hand – source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Plethodontidae
  • Scientific Name: Eurycea longicauda
  • Other Names: n/a
  • Adult Size: 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $30

Longtail salamanders are mainly found in the northern half of the state and are absent from the southern region of New Jersey. Long-tailed salamanders are native to the Appalachian religion in the eastern United States. Caves, springs, and moist forests are where this salamander lives. They are active most on rainy nights.

This salamander is named after its long tail, which makes up around 65% of its length. They have red, brown, orange, or yellowish coloring. They have dark spots that appear on their back and a moist appearance. Their underside is gray, or yellow with a mottled pattern.

Long-tail salamanders mate in the fall, laying between 60 to 100 eggs. Their eggs hatch in 4 to 12 weeks, and their larvae are aquatic. Small invertebrates and insects are what this salamander eats. In New Jersey, this salamander is one of the many that is threatened and experiencing population loss.

FAQ

Are the Salamanders in New Jersey Dangerous?

Salamanders are typically harmless to humans, but all species including the ones in New Jersey secrete toxins from their bodies. If ingested their toxins can be dangerous, and the level of toxicity depends on the species.

You should always wash your hands if handling a salamander before and after, as well as avoid touching things like your eyes and mouth. Salamanders are typically harmless to humans if not handled, or harassed. Some may bite if provoked, but these amphibians are typically harmless. 

What is the most common salamander in New Jersey?

The northern two-lined salamander is the most common species in New Jersey. This salamander is small and slender and gets its name from the two lines that appear on their backs. Northern two-lined salamanders live in running water, or lakes, and are active most from the month’s Fall to Spring.

What is the largest salamander in New Jersey? 

The eastern tiger salamander is the largest salamander species in New Jersey. They have robust bodies and are capable of growing up to 13 inches in length. Tiger salamanders are not seen often since adults are terrestrial, and spend most of their lives in animal burrows, or ones they built. This species is very rare in New Jersey, and they are considered a state-endangered species.

Wrapping up

New Jersey has a variety of forests and wetland habitats that make it a perfect home for the different salamander species in North America.

Protecting their home is one important step in preventing salamanders from becoming endangered. The eastern regions of North America are home to more salamander species than any other part of the world.

Keeping a salamander as a pet is a fun way to learn more about how a salamander interacts with the world and lives, but you should never take one from the wild. Wild salamanders kept as pets are more prone to disease, and parasites.

Taking from the wild is also not helpful in maintaining strong populations. New Jerseys have 16 salamander species, and maintaining their populations and habitat are key to keeping a healthy ecosystem in the state.

Other nearby states

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