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long-tailed salamander

long-tailed salamander (Eurycea longicauda)
Photo © Dr. Todd Pierson

Features and Behaviors

The long-tailed salamander averages about four to six and one-fourth inches in length. It has a very long tail in relation to its body length. The body is yellow or orange-yellow with brown or black markings along the sides. The belly is yellow with no markings.

The long-tailed salamander lives in and along rocky, swift streams in wooded areas, springs and caves. It is nocturnal. It hides under rocks, logs or other objects during the day. When active, it is very quick in its movements. It may wave its tail to distract a predator and even drop the tail if disturbed. Breeding occurs from mid-autumn to early spring. The female deposits up to 100 eggs in water, near water under rocks or in small openings in the ground. Larvae hatch in six to eight weeks and transform to the adult after several months. The long-tailed salamander eats insects and other small invertebrates.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Plethodontidae

Illinois Status: common, native