Eurycea bislineata - (Green, 1818)
Northern Two-lined Salamander
Other English Common Names: northern two-lined salamander
Synonym(s): Eurycea bislineata bislineata Green
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eurycea bislineata (Green, 1818) (TSN 173685)
French Common Names: salamandre à deux lignes
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105466
Element Code: AAAAD05010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Eurycea
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Eurycea bislineata
Taxonomic Comments: Jacobs (1987) examined allozyme variation and concluded that Eurycea bislineata subspecies bislineata , cirrigera, and wilderae should be regarded as distinct species. Most subsequent authors, including Sever (1999), have followed this treatment, but Petranka (1998) retained these taxa as subspecies of Eurycea bislineata, pending study of genetic interactions in contact zones.

A phylogeographic analysis of the E. bislineata complex based on mtDNA data (Kozak et al. 2006) revealed that E. cirrigera and E. wilderae as currently circumscribed are not monophyletic lineages but rather consist of several distinct lineages. Eurycea bislineata (as currently defined, separate from E. cirrigera and E. wilderae) was represented by two lineages. Eurycea junaluska and E. aquatica (Alabama samples) each formed monophyletic lineages that were deemed worthy of recognition as distinct species. Kozak et al. did not make a formal taxonomic revision of the E. bislineata complex and did not propose names for the newly identified lineages. Until the taxonomy has been resolved, this database retains E. bislineata, E. cirrigera, and E. wilderae as mapped by Conant and Collins (1991), except that E. aquatica is recognized as a distinct species rather than as part of E. cirrigera.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 18Oct2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in northeastern United States and southeastern Canada; high abundance; many stable populations.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (02Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S5), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S1), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5)
Canada Labrador (S4S5), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Ontario (S4), Quebec (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Southern Quebec and eastern Ontario south to northern Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and central Ohio; isolated populations in southern Labrador (Jacobs 1987, Conant and Collins 1991, Sever 1999).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Many and/or large occurrences throughout the overall range (Sever 1999).

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Certainly there are many to very many occurrences with good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major pervasive threats. Often common in and along streams in semi-cleared areas and in second-growth woods surrounded by suburban areas (G. Hammerson, pers. obs), though Petranka (1998) stated that the species is often absent from urban areas or highly disturbed landscapes such as result from intensive timbering, land clearing, stream pollution, and stream siltation.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Short-term trend likely stable to slightly declining, based on habitat degradation.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence has been relatively stable; other criteria probably have declined by less than 25%.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southern Quebec and eastern Ontario south to northern Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and central Ohio; isolated populations in southern Labrador (Jacobs 1987, Conant and Collins 1991, Sever 1999).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
Canada LB, NB, NF, ON, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004

Ecology & Life History
Reproduction Comments: Eggs are laid April-June; May-June in Massachusetts (Johnson and Goldberg 1975). Female typically remains with eggs until hatching in summer after an incubation period of about 30 days. Larvae metamorphose in 2-3 years in Massachusetts (Wilder 1924). Most sexually mature during second fall after metamorphosis in New York (Stewart 1956).
Ecology Comments: Ohio individuals moved over an area of less than 14 square meters (Ashton and Ashton 1978). Aggregates in winter. In experimental stream communities, Resetarits (1991) found that the brook trout SALVELINUS FONTINALIS and the spring salamander GYRINOPHILUS PORPHYRITICUS affected the growth of the two-lined salamander EURYCEA and the crayfish CAMBARUS BARTONII. SALVELINUS caused CAMBARUS and EURYCEA to alter their activity levels and habitat; EURYCEA and CAMBARUS were able to avoid predation by SALVELINUS and GYRINOPHILUS but at a significant cost to growth.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, Low gradient, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Rocky brooks, springs, seepages; may disperse into wooded terrestrial habitats in wet warm weather. Bahret (1996) documented a breeding population in an acidic, fish-free lake in New York; occurred to depths of 19.5 m. Adults hide under objects in or near water. In New York, rarely found on soils of low pH (Wyman 1988, Wyman and Jancola 1992). Eggs typically are laid on underside of submerged rocks, logs, or aquatic plants. Bahret (1996) found eggs in a lake at depths of 9.0-13.5 m, on the topmost leaves of water moss, far from shore and from surface drainage inlets.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds opportunistically on a wide variety of small invertebrates, a large proportion of which are of terrestrial origin.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Sometimes active during day in shaded wet areas. Apparently active throughout year in most of range.
Length: 12 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Aquatic/Wetland Plethodontid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway, especially with high traffic volume at night; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Separation distance for stream-dwelling species along riverine corridors: 10 stream km. Separation distance for other freshwater aquatic and wetland habitats: 3 km. Separation distance for upland habitat: 1 km.
Separation Justification: These salamanders rarely successfully cross roadways that have heavy traffic volume at night, when most movements occur. Salamanders in this Specs Group, except strictly subterranean species, tend to be able to traverse upland habitat when conditions are wet, and generally they can pass through atypical wetland and aquatic habitats to reach another patch of suitable habitat. However, Grover and Wilbur (2002) created replicated seeps at distances of 3, 15, and more than 30 m from streams or natural seeps and found that Desmognathus fuscus and Gyrinophilus porphyriticus colonized the new seeps at 3 m and 15 m but were rare or absent at new seeps more than 30 m from the nearest stream or natural seep.

Although these specifications do not include rivers as barriers, Adams and Beachy (2001) documented morphological variation among populations of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus in the southern Appalachian Mountains and found patterns "consistent with the hypothesis that large rivers restrict sizable gene flow." Large rivers probably function at least as unsuitable habitat for many species in this Specs Group.

Compared to larger ambystomatid salamanders, the movements of plethodontids are poorly documented, but home ranges likely tend to be very small, on the order of a few meters to a few dozen meters in length or diameter. Yet, on occasion, dispersing individuals likely travel at least several hundred meters, and stream-dwelling species likely disperse much farther along riverine corridors. Over a number of years, it is likely that these salamanders can spread multiple kilometers through suitable habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Mar2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Dec1993
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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  • Bahret, R. 1996. Ecology of lake dwelling EURYCEA BISLINEATA in the Shawangunk Mountains, New York. Journal of Herpetology 30:399-401.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

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  • Chambers, R.E. 1983. Integrating timber and wildlife management. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp.

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  • Guttman, S. I., and A. A. Karlin. 1986. Hybridization of cryptic species of two-lined salamanders (EURYCEA BISLINEATAcomplex). Copeia 1986:96-108.

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  • Jacobs, J. F. 1987. A preliminary investigation of geographic genetic variation and systematics of the two-lined salamander, EURYCEA BISLINEATA (Green). Herpetologica 43:423-446.

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  • Mittleman, M.B. 1966. Eurycea bislineata. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 45.1-45.4.

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  • Resetarits, W. J., Jr. 1991. Ecological interactions among predators in experimental stream communities. Ecology 72:1782-1793.

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