Four-toed Salamander

Four-toed Salamander

(Hemidactylium scutatum)

NH Conservation Status: Not listed.

State Rank Status: Vulnerable to extirpation or extinction.

Distribution: Throughout New Hampshire where appropriate habitat is found.

Description: A small, 2-3.5 inch salamander with a brownish or chestnut back and a white belly with black spots. There is a marked constriction at the base of the tail (the point where the tail would break off if grabbed by a predator) and both the hind and forefoot have four toes.  

Commonly Confused Species: Red-backed salamander, two-lined salamander.

Habitat: Found most often in wet woodlands near shallow pools and under sphagnum moss, leaf litter, woody debris, or rocks.

Life History: Eggs are laid in the cavities of dead logs next to or directly over water. Larvae are aquatic and fall into the water after hatching. Hibernates in decaying root systems of trees or under logs, sometimes in large aggregations. 

Conservation Threats: Loss and degradation of breeding pools and upland habitats.

Distribution map: Click here for a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH

Four-toed Salamander
Four-toed salamanders are relatively small and difficult to locate. ©Jeff Beane photo
Four-toed Salamander eggs
Eggs of four-toed salamanders in Sphagnum moss. ©Saenger photo
 
Four-toed Salamander
Notice that both the hind and forefeet have only four toes. ©USDAFS/John Jensen photo

 


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