28 Types of Salamanders in Texas

Types of Salamanders in Texas
Photo by Justin Chavanelle

If you call the state of Texas home and are passionate about salamanders, you are lucky: this part of the country is home to a diverse range of salamander species. There are at least 28 unique types of salamanders in Texas, according to collected records.

The vast majority of these salamanders are terrestrial, which indicates that they inhabit land-based environments. However, a few kinds of salamanders are also entirely aquatic.

These salamanders do not make any sounds and spend most of the year either hibernating or concealing themselves beneath rocks, logs, and other debris. As a result, people do not typically notice them.

Springtime is when you have the most excellent chance of coming across one of these salamanders because that is when they are the most active. Let us explore 28 incredible salamanders that call texas home.

1. Western Lesser Siren

A Western lesser siren’s (Siren Intermedia Nettingi) length can range from 7 to 27 inches. They range in hue from gray to brown to almost completely black, with a paler underbelly.

Those with lighter skin tones frequently have a few smaller spots of a darker color distributed throughout their head and back.

These types of salamanders in texas have a tail shaped like a paddle and an appearance similar to an eel. They have two extremely short forelegs and external feathery gills that resemble ostrich plumes on the outside of their bodies (they do not have hind legs). There are four digits on each of the forelegs.

Greater sirens can exceed 3 feet in total length, while fewer sirens are typically less than 2 feet in total length.

The name “lesser” derives from the fact that these sirens are typically smaller than greater sirens; lesser sirens are less than 2 feet in total length.

The Rio Grande Valley and the eastern and southeastern regions of Texas both include populations of Western lesser sirens, which you can find in rivers with a slow current, canals, and other bodies of water that are quite calm.

Even though sirens spend their whole lives in the water, they do go out of the water and stroll on land for extremely brief periods.

2. Rio Grande Lesser Siren

Rio Grande sirens (Siren Intermedia Texana) are a subspecies of the lesser siren and are related to the western lesser siren in a quite similar manner. Their name reflects this relationship.

In fact, the scientific community is yet to decide whether or not the western lesser siren and the Rio Grande lesser siren are two distinct species.

There is a school of thought among experts that these sirens are southern populations of the Western Lesser Siren. However, many believe they belong to a distinct species.

Rio Grande lesser sirens, like their western counterparts, normally range in length from 7 to 27 inches and have a color that varies from gray to brown to practically black, with a paler belly than the rest of the body. These salamanders are endemic to the lower Rio Grande valley in south Texas.

3. Three-Toed Amphiuma

On average, an adult three-toed amphiuma (Amphiuma Tridactylum) length ranges from 18 to 30 inches. These aquatic salamanders are thin and resemble eels.

They feature a pair of vestigial legs immediately behind each side of the neck and another pair of vestigial legs just in front of the longitudinal anal slit. These legs are tiny and inconspicuous.

On the other hand, they do not walk using these. When they are out of the water, they move in a rhythm similar to that of a snake and use their legs as balancing organs. Their name comes from the fact that they only have one toe on each of their legs.

In contrast to sirens, Amphiumas do not have external gills; instead, they have lungs that allow them to breathe air from the top of the water and can breathe underwater through their skin.

These types of salamanders in texas have a brown or dark gray to practically black coloring all over their bodies, with a lighter gray or brown tint on their bellies that spread onto their flanks.

In the eastern section of the state of Texas, you can look for these salamanders in bodies of freshwater that are either still or move very slowly.

4. Western Waterdog

Formerly known as “Gulf Coast waterdogs,” Western waterdogs (Necturus Beyeri) are now more commonly known by their current name.

When fully grown, they can reach a length of between 6 and 9 inches. Waterdogs have four little but well-developed legs, unlike sirens, which only have their front legs (two forelegs and two hind legs).

They use these legs to stroll gently on the bottoms of ponds and streams. During quick bursts of swimming, the swimmer’s legs can be pressed toward the body to create a more streamlined silhouette for the body. They have four toes on each of their feet.

The external gills of Western waterdogs resemble the plumes of an ostrich and are located on either side of their heads, just in the place where their necks should have been.

Its hue is dark brown, but it may be much lighter due to numerous light brown and black speckles that combine to form a pattern like a net.

The back and sides have several large patches of dark blue-black color. The Sabine River System is home to a population of these types of salamanders in Texas.

5. Texas Blind Salamander

The length of an adult Texas blind salamander (Eurycea Rathbuni) can range anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 inches.

They have no eyes (their eyes have been reduced to two black patches under their skin) and minimal pigmentation on their bodies, which gives them a pinkish-white coloration. These salamanders are extremely adapted to their living in underground water in dark caves.

They feature long bright red external gills, a laterally compressed tail, and slender legs to support their weight.

Their heads are large and flattened, and their snouts are longer than the snouts of most other salamanders.

These salamanders in Texas are extremely uncommon species that you can only find in Hays County and Texas. These salamanders require a steady supply of fresh, pure water to survive.

6. Austin Blind Salamander

The Texas blind salamander and the Austin blind salamander (Eurycea Waterlooensis) have no functional eyes and very little pigmentation on their bodies, giving them a pinkish-white coloration due to the lack of pigmentation. These characteristics are highly adapted to their life in underground water in dark caves.

These types of salamanders in Texas have long, bright red external gills, a laterally compressed tail that makes up a substantial percentage of their body, a broad, flattened head with a long snout, long, extended slender legs, and wide, flattened head with a long snout.

On the other hand, There is relatively little information about these salamanders since their natural environment is difficult for people to access.

7. Barton Springs Salamander

The maximum length of a Barton springs salamander (Eurycea Sosorum) is just approximately 2.5 inches, making it one of the smallest of its kind.

They can be black, purplish-gray, gray-brown, or yellowish-brown in color, but their appearance is quite diverse overall.

The backs of these salamanders typically exhibit a pattern of dark spots, regardless of the hue of their bodies.

The heads of these salamanders are quite short and thin. They also feature red external gills, eyes substantially diminished in size, a laterally compressed tail, and four legs, all of which they use to navigate their aquatic environment.

Only the outflows of Barton Springs at Zilker Park in Austin and Texas are home to these unique species of salamanders.

8. Georgetown Salamander

The Georgetown salamander, like the Barton springs salamander, is a relatively small species, reaching a maximum length of around 2 to 3 inches.

These types of salamanders in Texas have heads that approximately resemble shovels and are short and broad. The widest part of the head is at the point where the upper and lower jaws connect.

A thin black line extends from the outside corner of each eye to each nostril, with three gills on each side of their heads. Their eyes are huge, and the irises surrounding them have a golden tint.

The color of Georgetown salamanders is dark brown, dark olive, or gray, with juveniles having a darker appearance than adults.

In addition, most individuals’ tail possesses a thin yellow stripe. Typically, the bottom has a transparent appearance.

The San Gabriel River basin in Texas is home to the Georgetown salamanders. They have been seen in the wild in the county at a total of 14 different locales.

9. Jollyville Plateau Salamander

A Jollyville Plateau salamander’s (Eurycea Tonkawae) average length is approximately two inches; the Tonkawa Springs salamander is another name for it.

These types of salamanders in Texas have fully developed eyes, large heads with blunt snouts, external feathery gills that protrude from either side of the skull, and tails that are flattened and shaped like paddles. Their undersides are see-through and have a color that we can describe as dark greenish brown.

In the Buttercup Cave system, located in the vicinity of Austin, Texas, you can find Jollyville Plateau salamanders.

10. San Marcos Salamander

A typical San Marcos salamander’s length ranges between one and two inches. They possess external feathery gills linked to either side of their heads, just like most other aquatic salamanders. They have a dark reddish-brown hue.

Only at Spring Lake and an adjacent downstream stretch of the upper San Marcos River close to Aquarena Springs in Hays County, Texas, can you find San Marcos salamanders.

11. Salado Springs Salamander

The full-grown length of a Salado Springs salamander (Eurycea Chisholmensis) is less than three inches. These types of salamanders in Texas have a dark reddish brown color and sometimes on their back, head, legs, and sides.

They also have yellowish spots that are unevenly shaped. They can breathe air through feathery gills on either side of their head.

The only known locations for these salamanders are Big Boiling Springs and Robertson Springs, both of which are close to Salado, Texas.

12. Texas Salamander

The length of a Texas salamander (Eurycea neotenes), also known as an Edwards Plateau salamander or a Texas neotenic salamander, ranges from 2 to 4 inches.

The color of these salamanders is often brown with yellow or brown mottling, and they have light-yellow spots running down the rear of their bodies.

They have four tiny legs, shrunken eyes, and bright red feathered gills on the outside of their bodies.

Only on the Edwards Plateau region of central Texas, close to Helotes in Bexar County, can one find springs and cave systems home to the Texas salamander.

13. Valdina Farms Salamander

The average length of a Valdina Farms salamander (Eurycea Troglodytes) is between two and three inches. These salamanders are also known as Valdina blind salamanders and sinkhole salamanders.

They have short legs, diminished eyes, and external feathery gills, and they might be gray or cream in color, occasionally with pale yellow stripes or white dots. They mostly reside in freshwater environments.

In the past, Researchers classified these types of salamanders in Texas as a subspecies of the Texas salamander; however, in 2000, scientists finally recognized them as a separate distinct species.

The sinkhole at Valdina Farms, located in Medina County, Texas, in the United States, is where scientists first identified the Valdina Farms salamander.

However, you can also find them in caves and springs in Bandera, Edwards, western Kerr, Real, and Uvalde counties.

14. Cascade Caverns Salamander

The Cascade Caverns salamanders (Eurycea Latitans) are short, reaching a maximum length of around 2 to 3 inches.

Because these salamanders are so infrequently sighted, virtually little is known about the pigmentation of their bodies.

However, they generally have a translucent tint, and their pattern resembles a net and is brown in color, frequently with white speckling. In addition, they have a weak pattern.

They have stocky bodies, short legs, diminished eyes hidden beneath a layer of skin, and feathery gills located externally on their bodies.

Cascade Caverns salamanders reside in Kendall County, Texas’s Cascade Caverns, and other cave systems.

15. Blanco Blind Salamander

There is very little information About Blanco blind salamanders (Eurycea Robusta). This species came into the limelight through the collection of a solitary salamander in the 1950s.

In 1951, a gravel business excavating in the dry bed of the Blanco river came across four Blanco blind salamanders.

A heron consumed two of them, and one got away. The University of Texas at Austin was given the salamander left behind for research.

One area along the Blanco River in Hays County, Texas, close to San Marcos, is the only known location where you can find them.

However, because they live so deep within the limestone karst, it is extremely challenging for scientists to gather specimens for research purposes.

16. Marbled Salamander

Marbled salamanders (Ambystoma opacum) are not very large, reaching a maximum length of around three to five inches when measured from snout to tail.

These salamanders range in color from nearly black to dark gray and have silvery crossbands running down their hefty bodies. They are called “banded salamanders” because of their distinct pattern of spots and stripes.

In general, male marbled salamanders are smaller than their female counterparts. They also have whitish crossbands that become almost completely white during the breeding season.

Marbled salamanders thrive in the eastern portion of the state of Texas, from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico in the south.

17. Eastern Tiger Salamander

The average size of an eastern tiger salamander (Ambystoma Tigrinum Tigrinum) is between 6 and 9 inches, reaching a maximum length of 13 inches. This makes them the largest terrestrial salamanders found in Michigan.

A dull brown color, with olive-yellow to brownish-yellow irregular blotches (sometimes known as “tiger stripes”), and a yellow underbelly are characteristics that make it simple to recognize these types of salamanders in Texas.

Some eastern tiger salamanders may exhibit blotches of dazzling golden yellow or light brown, while others may be quite dark with very little discernible patterning. These salamanders are endemic to the eastern portion of Texas in the U.S.

18. Barred Tiger Salamander

Barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium), also known as “western tiger salamanders,” are a subspecies of the tiger salamander and are extremely closely linked to the Eastern tiger salamander. The name of this salamander subspecies gives away its tiger ancestry.

The barred tiger salamander can grow between 6 and 9 inches in length and be gray, dark brown, or black in appearance.

They have uneven bars and spots that range from olive-yellow to brownish-yellow in color. There is a yellow color on the underside.

Because these types of salamanders in Texas have a very similar appearance to the eastern tiger salamander, the primary way to differentiate between the two subspecies is by looking at their coloring:

The bodies of Eastern tiger salamanders have several yellow spots or blotches, but Western tiger salamanders have relatively few yellow marks, and those present often form “bars.”

The eastern portion of Texas is the only region where Barred Tiger salamanders do not reside throughout the rest of the state.

19. Smallmouth Salamander

Sometimes referred to as “Texas salamanders” or “narrow-mouthed salamanders,” smallmouth salamanders (Ambystoma texanum) have relatively tiny mouths.

Their length can range from 4.3 to 7 inches, and the simplest way to recognize them is by their small head and blunt, short nose. Behind the eyes, the head may have the appearance of being enlarged.

The color of these salamanders ranges from brownish-gray to grayish-black, and they have light gray speckles of lichen-like patches all over their bodies, particularly along the bottom sides.

The bottom is the same color as the top and has very few or no specks. The only place in Texas where you can find smallmouth salamanders is in the state’s eastern half.

20. Spotted Salamander

Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma Maculatum), often referred to as “yellow-spotted salamanders,” are fairly large animals. Their length ranges from 6 to 9 inches, with females normally larger than males.

The name of these types of salamanders in Texas comes from the two rows of yellow or orange spots that run down their black backs and flanks. These spots give the salamanders their distinctive appearance.

Some spotted salamanders have orange spots on their heads, while the spots on the rest of their bodies are more yellow. The bottom is a light gray color and has no markings on it.

These salamanders have large heads and thick and hefty bodies and vertical grooves on each side of their bodies. The northeastern region of Texas is the only place in Texas where you can find spotted salamanders.

21. Mole Salamander

Mole salamanders (Ambystoma Talpoideum) are salamanders with stocky bodies that grow between 3 and 4 inches in length.

They have relatively short bodies, but their heads are huge and flattened, giving them an appearance that is disproportionate to the rest of their anatomy.

The upper surfaces of these salamanders are usually a light gray tint, while the undersides have a mottled appearance that can be pale bluish, or silvery in color. East Texas Gulf Coastal Plain is home to mole salamanders.

22. Southern Dusky Salamander

The length of southern dusky salamanders (Desmognathus auriculatus) ranges from three to five inches, and they have a stocky build. They are also known as “Holbrook’s southern dusky salamanders.”

Their coloring can range from dark brown to black, and they typically have a row of white spots that runs along the sides of their bodies and tails.

However, their coloring can be extremely diverse. The bottom has several conspicuous white patches dispersed over it.

It is characteristic of all species of dusky salamander that there is a faint line that runs in a diagonal direction from each eye to the base of the mouth, and the back legs of these salamanders are larger than the front legs.

The eastern portion of the state of Texas, all the way up to the Trinity River Basin, is home to populations of Southern dusky salamanders.

23. Spotted Dusky Salamander

The spotted dusky salamander (Desmognathus conanti) is a subspecies of the dusky salamander and is closely related to the Southern Dusky salamander. The name of the animal suggests this.

The spotted dusky salamander, like its cousin, the southern dusky, may grow to a length of between 3 and 5 inches, and the back legs of this species are notably larger than the front legs.

These types of salamanders in Texas can range in hue from tan to brown to nearly black, and they feature anywhere from six to eight pairs of golden or reddish dorsal spots (thus the name “spotted dusky salamander”).

When they mature into adults, these dots can sometimes form a pale stripe with a dark border that has an uneven pattern.

It is possible to find spotted dusky salamanders in the eastern portion of the state of Texas. Their distribution overlaps significantly with that of the southern dusky salamander.

24. Western Slimy Salamander

Western slimy Salamanders (Plethodon Albagula) are fairly large salamanders, reaching lengths of between 4 to 7 inches, with the tail being approximately 70 percent as long as the body.

These types of salamanders in Texas, like other slimy salamanders, have a color that ranges from black to bluish-black, and it is speckled throughout with white or brassy flecks.

This flecking pattern varies from individual to individual, and two or more individuals may occasionally merge to create a white-speckled pattern along the sides of the body. In most cases, it has a consistently dark tone all over the belly.

The extremely sticky and slightly toxic ooze that slimy salamanders exude when they feel threatened is where they receive their name. This ooze adheres to the mouth of the predator, allowing the salamander to flee successfully.

Isolated populations of Western slimy salamanders reside in the south-central and extreme northeastern regions of Texas.

25. Southern Red-Backed Salamander

The bodies of Southern Red-backed salamanders are long and slender, and they can grow to a length of between 3 and 4 inches.

They are generally gray or black in color, and despite the name of the species, not all “red-backed” salamanders have red colors on their backs.

They have several color variations but usually have two variations: The red-back and the lead- morph.

The red-back morph has a distinct reddish stripe (which may also be orange, yellow, or dark gray in color) that runs the entire length of its back, from the base of the head to the tip of the tail. The sides of this morph are dark.

On the other hand, the lead-back morph does not have a red stripe on its back. Its back, on the other hand, is a color that is completely dark gray to black.

There is another morph of salamander with a body that is entirely pinkish-red and sometimes has black patches.

It is difficult to document the native distribution of these types of salamanders in Texas. The northernmost part of the state’s northeastern region is where they are most likely to be found.

However, the only specimen of a Southern red-backed salamander in Texas was in Nacogdoches County in the year 1940.

26. Dwarf Salamander

Dwarf salamanders (Eurycea Quadridigitata) live up to their name by being one of the tiniest species of salamanders in North America.

Adults reach their full length of between 2 and 3.5 inches and weigh less than a gram, on average. Their length ranges from 2 to 3.5 inches.

Most of the time, dwarf salamanders have a yellowish-brown color, darker brown blotching, and dark stripes running down either side.

Most salamanders have five toes on each of their back feet, but these particular types of salamanders in Texas only have four toes on each of their rear feet. This makes them distinctive from other salamanders.

You can find Dwarf salamanders in the eastern portions of the state of Texas in the United States of America.

27. Eastern Newt

One of only two kinds of newts known to exist in texas, the Eastern newt (Notophthalmus Viridescens) can reach a length of between 2 and 5 inches and can be found in Texas.

Many species of newts, notably the eastern newt, have rough skin that is only slightly damp, in contrast to most salamanders (just enough to keep it from drying out).

The juvenile stage of the eastern newt, known as the eft stage, can last anywhere from three to four years and is identifiable by a brilliant orange-red coloring with a rounded tail. When they are in their juvenile phase, eastern newts are extremely poisonous.

Adults of these types of salamanders in texas often have a color that ranges from yellowish-brown to greenish-brown, with red and black patches running along their backs and a paddle-shaped, less rounded tail. The bottom is yellow, with a few dark blotches on it.

Eastern newts can be discovered all over the eastern portion of the state of Texas, and they typically reside not too far from a nearby body of water.

28. Black-Spotted Newt

Black-spotted newts (Notophthalmus Meridionalis), sometimes known as “Texas newts,” can grow to a length of between 2.9 and 4.3 inches and have a body shape that is relatively comparable to that of eastern newts.

These newts usually have a hue ranging from olive green to silvery gray, and they have several spots that are either bold black or light yellow. The underside is often yellow in hue, and the color can sometimes be seen up the sides.

Black-spotted newts, much like their eastern counterparts, have tails that are paddle-shaped and vertically flattened. This helps them swim more efficiently in the water.

You can find black-spotted newts along the coastal plain of southern Texas, from the San Antonio River to the Rio Grande.

Their range extends from the Rio Grande to the San Antonio River. However, due in part to the fact that they are highly stealthy, they are almost never spotted.

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