Animals

Southern Two Lined Salamander: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

The southern two lined salamander is considered a part of one of two species of Eurycea bislineata complex.
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Known by the scientific name Eurycea cirrigera, the southern two lined salamander is a species of salamander endemic to the United States (Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia). They are a part of the family Plethodontidae and mostly live in the habitats of temperate forests, rivers, intermittent rivers, swamps, and freshwater springs. This species was formerly considered a subspecies with other members like the eastern northern two lined salamander, E. b. bislineata, and blue ridge two lined salamander, E. b. wilderae. All three were later divided into different species, according to the characteristics and the populations which occur in their natural habitats.

This species called the southern two lined salamanders (E. cirrigera) resembles another species of the same genus of Eurycea called the blue ridge two lined salamander (Eurycea wilderae). The blue ridge two lined salamander also is endemic to the US. Both species have underlying yellow to orangish color with dark brown or black stripes on the sides of the body. They also have a number of scattered black spots or blotches on the back.

There are 655 species of salamanders found in the world. Get to know some interesting facts about a few of the species like the giant salamander and the arboreal salamander only on the Kidadl website.

Southern Two Lined Salamander

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Roaches, ticks, earthworms, isopods, beetles, snails, flies, springtails, millipedes, and spiders

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

12-110

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

2.56-4.72 in (6.5-12 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Yellow and orange or a rusted coloration on the body with two black stripes and black spots

Skin Type

Soft and moist skin

What are their main threats?

Habitat loss and pollution

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Habitats include Creek edges, riparian areas, rotting log debris, and freshwater springs

Locations

The Southeastern United States (Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia), except peninsular Florida

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Amphibia

Scientific Name

Eurycea cirrigera

Family

Plethodontidae

Genus

Eurycea

Southern Two Lined Salamander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a southern two lined salamander?

The southern two lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) is a species of salamander endemic to the United States.

What class of animal does a southern two lined salamander belong to?

The southern two lined salamander falls under the class of Amphibia in the kingdom of Animalia. They are considered a part of one of two species of the Eurycea bislineata complex.

How many southern two lined salamanders are there in the world?

The populations of this species are found all over the United States and are common in the habitat. The official population numbers are not available but there is no immediate threat to the salamanders currently.

Where does a southern two lined salamander live?

They are mostly found in the southeastern and eastern United States. They occur from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia to north Florida and coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Their habitat range does not include peninsular Florida. They are found throughout Georgia and South Carolina and also want flowing creeks and streams. They are also fairly abundant in the range of North Carolina and also West Virginia. They are found in central Indiana and Ohio east to coastal Virginia. They also occur south through Kentucky.

The Blue Ridge two lined salamander (Eurycea wilderae), although quite similar in looks to the southern two lined salamanders, has a different range of natural habitats. They are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What is the southern two lined salamander habitat?

The description of the habitat of these amphibians with stripes is limited to areas of mountainous regions. They are found in moist environments which include reek or river swamps, seepages, and hardwood forests. They are often found hiding in undersides of rocks, underneath leaf litter, vegetation, or logs, and in aquatic habitats. During the rainy season, they come out of hiding and move around in their moist habitat. These salamander species are also seen to sometimes migrate from stream to drier sites because of the fear of predators like black bellied salamanders. Adults migrate to breeding streams in winter and early spring. The larvae prefer water while the adult ones also live near aquatic regions.

Who do southern two lined salamanders live with?

These salamanders are known to stay hidden most of the time and only come out when the weather is damp or during the breeding season. When confronted by other males, they may show territorial behavior. They may even remove the tail of the intruder. They remain solitary except for the breeding season.

How long does a southern two lined salamander live?

The lifespan of the southern two lined salamander is not known. Usually, salamanders live for around 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The description of the breeding process of the southern two lined salamander is not given in detail. The breeding season is usually from September to May, or late winter and early spring. Breeding occurs both in the land and water. Males nudge and smell the female. Male is also known to bite the female to secrete pheromones. Females straddle the male's tail. Males deposit a spermatophore and the females pick them up with the cloaca. Males have two cirri that grow below their snouts during the breeding season. The cirri are small downward projections from the nostrils which help in chemoreception.  The males also have a swollen cloaca. Eggs are laid by the females from March to May. Eggs are generally laid under rocks in streams, logs, or other shelters, always underwater in a stream or river. Eggs are always laid in a clutch of 12-110. Females are known to guard the eggs until the eggs hatch and the larvae are seen. Male does not involve themselves in nesting and guarding the larvae. They instead guard the territory. Eggs take 4-10 weeks to hatch and the larvae emerge in January in the southern parts. The larvae emerge in June towards the north. The larval period of the salamanders lasts for one to three years. Larvae have light spots on the body instead of dark spots like on the adults.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the southern two lined salamanders is categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. The populations of this species are found all over the US and are quite common. However, habitat degradation and the pollution of the streams have caused concern for the salamanders.

Southern Two Lined Salamander Fun Facts

What do southern two lined salamanders look like?

Southern two lined salamanders are similar to the northern two lined salamanders but have 14 costal grooves instead of 15 or 16. The description of the southern salamanders includes having a yellow and orange body, sometimes rusty colored. There are two dark brown or lines running through the length of the bodies. These lines break down into speckled patterns near the tail. The back and sides are colored with dark brown or black spots. The tail is almost the same length as half the body's length. Hatchlings emerge from their eggs with external gills and spend around one to three years as larvae before transforming into adults. The larval stage has red-colored gills with dusky gray bodies. They have six to nine light spots on the sides of their bodies. They also have a large tail fin. Salamanders are found all over the world with various vibrant colorations. The fire salamanders from Europe have a black body with yellow spots. The Blue Ridge two lined salamander (Eurycea wilderae), also endemic to the United States closely resembles the southern two lined salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) and also the northern two lined salamander (Eurycea Bislineata) to the north of the continent. The Blue Ridge two lined salamander is easily distinguished from the southern two lined salamander by greater saturation of yellow or orange color and pattern on the body of the Blue Ridge two lined salamander.

These salamanders have yellow and orangish bodies with two dark stripes running through.

How cute are they?

These salamanders are quite beautiful with their colored bodies and dark stripes and spots.

How do they communicate?

The description of the southern two lined salamanders confirms that the male has two cirri that help them locate their mates and competition. They also communicate through pheromones.

How big is a southern two lined salamander?

The range of length of the southern two lined salamanders (Eurycea cirrigera) is from 2.56-4.72 in (6.5-12 cm). The length of the lookalike - Blue Ridge two-lined salamander has a range of 2.76-4.21 in (7-10.7 cm), almost similar to the southern two-lined salamanders. The length of the Chinese giant salamander, one of the largest salamanders and amphibians in the world, has a range of 43-45 in (109.2-114.3 cm).

How fast can a southern two lined salamander run?

The speed of these salamanders is not recorded. Some groups of salamanders can run at a speed of 15 mph (24.14 kph).

How much does a southern two lined salamander weigh?

The weight of the southern two lined salamanders is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and females of the species are not given different names. They are known commonly as southern two-lined salamanders (E. cirrigera).

What would you call a baby southern two lined salamander?

These animals have three stages of development of the hatchlings or young. They are eggs, larvae, and adults.

What do they eat?

They are known to feed on any small organisms they find in their natural habitats, both as terrestrial adults and aquatic adults. Larvae are known to feed on other salamander larvae. Their larval diet also consists of a range of midges and flies in all aquatic conditions. The adult of the species has a diet of mollusks, copepods, crustaceans, and insects. The adults both in aquatic and ground conditions are known to feed on a range of animals like roaches, ticks, earthworms, isopods, beetles, snails, flies, springtails, millipedes, and spiders.

The larval diet consists only of aquatic food while the adult forages on land animals too.

The predators of the adults of this species in their natural habitats include many aquatic fishes like rainbow trout and brook trout, birds like thrushes and eastern screech owls, and ring necked snakes. They drop their tail when threatened.

Are they poisonous?

Southern two-lined salamanders are not poisonous. There are many other salamanders that are poisonous and can kill many just by touching their skin.

Would they make a good pet?

The southern two lined salamanders are usually not considered pets.

Did you know...

The scientific name of the southern two lined salamander is Eurycea cirrigera.

Southern two lined salamanders grow a pair of cirri under their snout to detect competition as well as their mates during the breeding season.

They are endemic to the United States.

Where do northern two lined salamanders live?

Northern two lined salamanders are found in northeastern North America, They are found from central and southern Quebec, New Brunswick, northeastern Ontario. In the northeastern United States, they are found from central Virginia and Ohio northwards to the Great Lakes.

Does the southern two lined salamander hibernate?

Southern two lined salamanders might hibernate in the winter season. But this is not a fact as many researchers have seen the salamanders forage in the winter months. The hibernation time in the winter season depends on the different habitats. During hibernation, the salamanders with black stripes bury their head into the soil up to a depth of 11.8 in (29.97 cm).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians from our Japanese giant salamander facts and yellow spotted salamander facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable salamander coloring pages.

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