Salamanders of the Great Smoky Mountains

Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Date: April 30-May 1, 2014

Red-cheeked salamander (Plethodon jordani)

The southeastern United States has the greatest diversity of salamanders of anywhere in the world, and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina claim to be the "Salamander Capital of the World" with 30 species having been found in the national park. In particular, the lungless salamanders in the family Plethodontidae (they "breathe" through their skin, mouth, and throat) have 24 species in the Smokies.

Blackbelly salamander

Imitator salamander

During my hike to Chimney Tops other stops elsewhere in the park, I had no problem finding many salamanders, including the red-cheeked salamander (Plethodon jordani), and its imitator, the imitator salamander (Desmognathus imitator). If you want to see salamanders, look under rocks and logs in a variety of areas, such as the forest, along trails, and along streams.

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