Northern slimy salamander
|Northern slimy salamander|
The northern slimy salamander, Plethodon glutinosus, is a species of terrestrial plethodontid salamander found through much of the eastern two-thirds of the United States, from New York, west to Illinois, south to Texas, and east to Florida, with isolated populations in southern New Hampshire and northwestern Connecticut. It is called "slimy" because it is capable of excreting a sticky, glue-like substance from its skin. It is also sometimes referred to as the viscid salamander, grey-spotted salamander, slippery salamander, or sticky salamander, depending on which source is consulted. Due to its large geographic range, some taxonomic researchers have suggested splitting P. glutinosus into several distinct species, but this is not widely accepted.
The slimy salamander is typically an overall black in color, with numerous silvery spots or gold spots across its back. They are usually 12–17 cm (4.7–6.7 in) in length, but can grow to 20.6 cm (8.1 in). Males are not easily distinguished from females, though females tend to be slightly larger. They have 15-17 costal grooves.
All plethodonid salamanders are territorial, and will fight aggressively for territory. Their preferred habitat is in moist soil or leaf litter beneath stones, rotting logs, or other debris near a permanent water source. They will sometimes make use of other animals' burrows. Their diets consist primarily of ants, beetles, sow bugs, and earthworms, but they will consume most kinds of insect.
Breeding takes place in the spring, and courtship consists of the males performing a sort of dance to attract the female's attention. Females lay clutches of four to 12 eggs in a moist area, which she will guard, often neglecting food for the period until they hatch. Hatchlings emerge from the eggs in about three months, having no aquatic stage, like many other salamander species. They instead develop directly into their entirely terrestrial adult form. Maturity is not reached for two to three years.
- Conant, Roger. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 2nd edition. Houghton Mifflin. Boston.
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