At a maximum adult size of 19 inches (48.3 cm), this is the largest salamander in Connecticut. The species is completely aquatic. Adults have large feather gills elevated on stalks just behind the eyes. Coloration is gray with darker gray to black dorsal spots and a black stripe passing from the nose, through the small eyes, to the gill stalks.
Mates in the fall, but eggs are not laid until the following spring. Eggs are deposited under submerged rocks or logs. As many as 100 eggs are laid in one clutch and may hatch in just over one month. Larvae do not become sexually mature until their sixth year (see Klemens 1992).
Larvae look much like the adults, but generally with lighter coloration and a black stripe along the side.
Occurs in a wide range of water conditions, including rivers and drainage ditches.
Eats invertebrates, smaller salamanders, and fish.
The species can be found from Canada to Tennessee and as far west as Kansas. In Connecticut it is thought to be an introduced species, found only in the Connecticut River.
Not protected in Connecticut.
Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.
Klemens, M.W. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.
Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photographs © Twan Leenders. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Animal featured on this page is a captive animal from an unknown locality.