The Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata) is a water-oriented salamander often occupying areas in or around streams, stream beds, and small rivers. Northern Two-lined Salamanders occupy a large geographical area throughout Northeastern North American, often much larger range then other salamanders in the genus Eurycea.

On July 6/2018 I visited some locales that were known for having a large population of Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata). Upon arrival I was immediately discouraged, seeing how the stream beds were completely dried up. I started by checking underneath a few rocks but they were completely dry underneath, and there were no salamanders in sight.

Habitat shot July 6/2018 (usually a flowing stream)

I gave up attempting to look for any on that day due to the drought. I did not re-attempt the venture for a few weeks after, as we had not received much rain so I believed the conditions would be the same. Salamanders rely heavily on moisture, so during periods of drought they will most likely go underground in an attempt to stay moist.

On August 16/2018, I went out again to attempt to find the elusive Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata). When I arrived at the site I immediately noticed there was a little bit more water then when I had visited in July but it was still very low. However, after checking a few rocks in the area I did manage to find 15 Northern Two-Lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata). I was happy with this number, as I was not expecting to see that many due to the low water levels in the stream.

Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

There was also an unexpected surprise, a larval Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata). This is the first time I had actually observed a larval phase of this particular species, so it was a great find! Like many other salamanders, Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata) have two life stages. When they hatch from the egg they are in a aquatic larval phase for approximately 2 to 3 years, during this phase the salamanders have external gills and must remain in the water. At the end of the larval phase the salamanders lose the gills and merge onto land. However, being Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata) they do not stray far from the water.

Larval Northern Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea bislineata)

In conclusion, I’m happy I was able to see the Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata) but I am hoping for a lot more rain in the future to bring the water levels back up.

Written by: Clint Fulsom – Save The Salamanders

Northern Two-lined Salamanders (Eurycea bislineata) during the drought

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