Caudata Plethodon glutinosus -- Northern Slimy Salamander
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: White or silvery dots and flecks scattered over the body, commonly concentrated along lower sides; nasolabial grooves present.
Similar Species: Blue-spotted salamander, Jefferson salamander, silvery salamander, smallmouth salamander.
Description: Medium-sized (up to 17 cm TL) salamander with black or bluish black back and uniform gray-black belly, sometimes with light flecks. Costal grooves 14-15. Tail long and circular in cross-section. Head relatively large. Adult male with a light circular hedonic gland under chin. Recently hatched juvenile may have short, white gills.
Habitat: Eastern deciduous forests under bark or other debris on ground, especially on hillsides.
Natural History: This completely terrestrial salamander can be found in burrows, under rocks, in and under logs, and in rotten tree stumps in spring and autumn, but disappears deeper into soil during summer and winter. It prowls the forest floor at night feeding on worms and arthropods. Copious, adhesive skin secretions provide protection from predators. Tiny hatchlings, which resemble adults in form and color, grow to become the largest completely terrestrial salamanders in Illinois. Females deposit and brood clusters of 10-20 large white eggs in damp rotten logs, burrows, or rock crevices. Brooding females were observed in rock crevices in a southern Illinois cave during October and November. The embryos hatched by May of the following year.
Status: Most commonly encountered woodland salamander in southern half of state.