Green Salamander

Photo by Lori Williams

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Scientific Name: Aneides aeneus

Classification: Nongame species; state listed as threatened

Abundance: Rare (blue)

Species Profile (PDF)

Green salamander with regenerating tail (Photo by Alan Cameron)

A brooding green salamander female with egg clutch (Photo by Alan Cameron)

Typical green salamander habitat (Photo by Lori Williams)

Although most people have never seen one, the rare and attractive green salamander has become something of a symbol for amphibian species conservation, and is an excellent example of how creatures with highly specialized lifestyles and habitat requirements have suffered the most from humans. The green salamander’s dorsal ground color is black, gray or dark brownish with bright green or yellowish green patches resembling lichens. The belly is pale yellowish or whitish. The head and body are somewhat flattened, the tail and legs are rather long, and the toes are slightly webbed with enlarged, squarish tips.

For more information, read the Green Salamander species profile.

The green salamander is classified as a nongame species with no open season. Green salamanders are state listed as a threatened species and cannot be collected or taken except under a special permit issued by the Wildlife Commission’s Executive Director. More information

There are no reported problems with this species. 

NCWRC Wildlife Diversity Program biologists have inventoried green salamander populations every year since 2002. Each year they monitor the same random sub-set of known sites to track changes in their ability to detect green salamanders if they are present at those sites. Over time, this metric should serve as a type of index for the health and status of local populations. They also continually look for new sites as well as visit the rest of the known historical locations every few years. Along with project partners and volunteers, staff has almost tripled the number of known sites in the past five years.

Green salamanders are considered uncommon to rare throughout most of their range, and many existing populations appear to be declining. Development, logging and other activities have destroyed much green salamander habitat, but acid rain may also represent a serious threat. In the 1980s, North Carolina populations — even those in apparently rather pristine areas — plummeted drastically for reasons that still are not altogether clear but are believed to be related, at least in part, to acid precipitation. Several populations have since undergone an apparent gradual recovery, but there is still much concern for the future of this rare and secretive species. Much remains to be learned about its natural history, habitat requirements, sensitivity to environmental contaminants and natural population dynamics.