Northeastern Herpetology

Necturus maculosus



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  • external gills
  • keeled

Ambystoma jeffersonianum

Jefferson Salamander

  • grey with blue legs
  • light blue speckles
  • large middle toe on the back foot
  • slanty eyes
  • wide, gaping mouth
  • bigger body

Ambystoma maculatum

Spotted Salamander

  • fat
  • wide mouth
  • white spots with grey when dead
  • alive: bright yellow on black background

Desmognathus ochrophaeus

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander

  • Dusky jaw line: line from eye backwards to jaw
  • long hind legs
  • rounded tail

Eurycea bislineata

Northern Two-lined Salamander

  • two lines
  • males are smaller than females

Gyrinophilus porphyriticus

Spring Salamander


  • keeled tail
  • canthus rostralis visible in all life stages (Line diagonally up from nostril to eye)


Plethodon cinereus

Eastern Red-backed Salamander

  • dark red or grey stripe when alive
  • thin body
  • nasealatoral grooves

Plethodon glutinosus

Northern Slimy Salamander

  • neck line
  • alive: bright white spots, silver flecks
  • white speckles underneath
  • joints are white (shoulder)

Anaxyrus americanus

American Toad

  • warts on back
  • belly spotted
  • has real toes and one is long

Pseudacris crucifer

Spring Peeper


  • X on back
  • small
  • peeps in Fall: Autumnal Requidesesence 


Lithobates catesbeianus

American Bullfrog

  • nasty, leathery skin
  • toes have skin
  • dorso lateral ridge- ends near ear
  • alive: green-yellow facial fold after the eye

Lithobates clamitans

Green Frog

  • spots are brown
  • tempanick membrane
  • dorsolateral fold on the top side

Lithobates palustris

Pickerel Frog

  • spots (compared to Leopard frog)
  • square
  • organized
  • close together
  • has white edges
  • Alive: yellow under legs
  • white line in upper part of jaw

Lithobates pipiens

Northern Leopard Frog

  • rounded, non-uniform spots
  • more distinctive ridges (than Pickerel)

Lithobates sylvaticus

Wood Frog

  • alive: black face plate
  • dorsolateral fold
  • white upper lip
  • they call the earliest in the year

Chelydra serpentina

Snapping Turtle

  • diamonds ridges on back
  • holds high concentrations of heavy metals (e.g. mercury)

Chrysemys picta

Painted Turtle

  • pretty decorations on bottom of shell
  • striped neck

Terrapene carolina

Eastern Box Turtle

  • walker- not swimmer
  • hinged plastron (belly of shell)
  • red eyes
  • plastron flat (not curved up)

Sceloporus undulatus

Eastern Fence Lizard

  • Dinosaur
  • keeled scales
  • bright blue neck

Plestiodon anthracinus

Coal Sink

  • alive: black line across side
  • disturbance animal, found after fires

Diadophis punctatus

Ring-necked Snake

  • cream ring all around neck
  • cream belly
  • anal scale divided
  • scales in 15 rows
  • Alive: yellow belly

Lampropeltis triangulum


  • Y on head
  • Checkerboard tummy
  • Leopard print/ OREO MILKSHAKE
  • Big mouth 🙂

Nerodia sipedon

Northern Watersnake

  • Large!
  • Rings on body: white with black outline
  • anal plate entire
  • diagonal band behind eye

Storeria occipitomaculata

Red-bellied Snake

  • 3 white dots on neck
  • anal plate divided
  • red belly in real life
  • keeled

Storeria dekayi

Dekay’s Brownsnake

  • little brown spots all over
  • long mouth for small snake
  • keeled scales

Thamnophis sirtalis

Common Gartersnake


  • black and long
  • keeled
  • anal plate entire
  • tan and grey belly
  • low lateral stripes line
  • lateral band does not encompass the 4th row


Agkistrodon contortrix


  • hole between eye and nostril

Crotalus horridus

Timber Rattlesnake


  • Well…it has a rattle.

Notophthalmus viridescens


Eastern Newt

brown polka dots