Eurycea junaluska - Sever, Dundee, and Sullivan, 1976
Junaluska Salamander
Other English Common Names: Junaluska salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Eurycea junaluska Sever, Dundee and Sullivan, 1976 (TSN 173690)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105673
Element Code: AAAAD05020
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 junaluska
Taxonomic Comments: Jacobs (1987) found E. JUNALUSKA to be genetically similar to E. AQUATICA and E. CIRRIGATA and questioned the taxonomic status of E. JUNALUSKA. Sever (1989) found E. JUNALUSKA to be morphologically unique and genetically distinct from all sympatric EURYCEA.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Apr2007
Global Status Last Changed: 18Oct2001
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Small range in North Carolina and Tennessee; extant in 17 streams; populations probably stable in Tennessee; rare in North Carolina; not currently very threatened but potential threats still exist.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (18Oct2001)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States North Carolina (S1S2), Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The known range encompasses a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern North Carolina and southeastern Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1991, Redmond and Scott 1996, Ryan 1997, USFWS 1999, Ryan and Sever 2005).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: Available survey data indicate that this species is extant in 17 streams (USFWS 1999).

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: A reliable estimate of population size cannot be made (Bruce and Ryan 1995). This salamander is rare or at least hard to find, even where known to be present (Ryan 1997). Natural heritage programs estimated abundance at fewer than 1000 individuals in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Dana Soehn, pers. comm., 1998) and occupied habitat in North Carolina at 10-15 miles of stream (Harry LeGrand, pers. comm., 1998). Sever (1983) collected fewer than 50 transformed individuals in more than 10 years of fieldwork. Bruce (1982) collected only five adults during a survey period lasting over a year. A 1994-1995 survey of 63 locations yielded seven transformed individuals and no more than two adults; the remaining observations were of larvae and eggs (Bruce and Ryan 1995).

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Rangewide, currently appears to be not very threatened. Potential threats include siltation due to logging, road construction for logging activities, urban development, and other activities that would negatively impact water quality (Braswell 1989; Harry LeGrand and Rusty Smith, pers. comm., 1998). Due to a widely disjunct distribution, it is quite unlikely that migration will be sufficient for recolonization of populations that experience declines or local extinctions (Ryan 1998).

Reckless sampling and site disruption during spring may cause undue stress to brooding females and result in the abandonment of clutches (Bruce and Ryan 1995).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Recent trend is unknown, but habitat considerations suggest that extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and abundance probably are not declining at a rate of more than 10% over 10 years or three generations.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Not solid direct evidence exists of any population declines; no populations are known to have been lost since the species was described (USFWS 1999), but Ryan and Sever (2005) stated that the population at the type locality on the Cheoah River may be extirpated and that the species has not been collected at Snowbird Creek since 1994.

Populations are possibly stable in some areas (e.g., Santeetlah Creek; Ryan and Sever 2005), but specific rangewide information on population trends is not available. One of three populations identified during a 1994-1995 survey appeared to be stable (Bruce and Ryan 1995). The Tennessee Valley and North Carolina populations probably are stable (Harry LeGrand and Rusty Smith, pers. comm., 1998). Tennessee populations appear to be stable and may be larger than those in North Carolina (Ryan and Sever 2005).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

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

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Long-term monitoring to determine relative abundance and population trend is needed.

Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) The known range encompasses a portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern North Carolina and southeastern Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1991, Redmond and Scott 1996, Ryan 1997, USFWS 1999, Ryan and Sever 2005).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States NC, TN

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

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Cherokee (37039), Clay (37043), Graham (37075)
TN Monroe (47123), Sevier (47155)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
06 Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A small salamander.
General Description: See Ryan (1997) for information on larval characteristics.
Diagnostic Characteristics: See Ryan (1997) for information on larval identification.
Reproduction Comments: Bruce (1982) found that the larval period usually exceeds two years. Ryan (1998) found that young of the year appeared in late spring and metamorphosis occurred at an age of about 2 years, though some data indicated that 1 or 3 year larval periods were possible.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Adults hide under objects in or along streams. Found on roads on rainy nights.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Phenology Comments: Adults have been collected either in summer, when they appear to be most active, or along streamsides in mid- to late spring (Bruce 1982).
Length: 9 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: 23Apr2007
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., and M. K. Clausen
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26May1988
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).

  • 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.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Braswell, A. L. 1989. Conservation status of North Carolina Amphibians and Reptiles. Prepared by the amphibian and Reptile Scientific Council and submitted to the Nongame Advisory Committe, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

  • Bruce, R. C. 1982. Egg laying, larval periods, and metamorphosis of EURYCEA BISLINEATA and E. JUNALUSKA at Santeetlah Creek, North Carolina. Copeia 1982:755-762.

  • Bruce, R. C. and T. J. Ryan. 1995. Distribution and population status of the salamander, EURYCEA JUNALUSKA. Western Carolina University / Highlands Biological Station and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina Cost Share Agreement 11-287. 51 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison, III. 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 264 pp.

  • Redmond, W. H., and A. F. Scott. 1996. Atlas of amphibians in Tennessee. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Miscellaneous Publication Number 12. v + 94 pp.

  • Ryan, T. J. 1997. Larva of EURYCEA JUNALUSKA (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae), with comments on distribution. Copeia 1997:210-215.

  • Ryan, T. J. 1998. Larval life history and abundance of a rare salamander, EURYCEA JUNALUSKA. Journal of Herpetology 32:10-17.

  • Ryan, T. J., and D. M. Sever. 2005. Eurycea junaluska Sever, Dundee, and Sullivan, 1976. Junaluska salamander. Pages 745-746 in M. Lannoo, editor. Amphibian declines: the conservation status of United States species. University of California Press, Berkeley.

  • Sever, D. M. 1983b. Observations on the distribution and reproduction of the salamander Eurycea junaluska in Tennessee. J. Tenn. Acad. Sci. 58:48-50.

  • Sever, D. M. 1989. Comments on the taxonomy and morphology of two-lined salamanders of the EURYCEA BISLINEATA complex. Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 24:70-74.

  • Sever, D. M., H. A. Dundee, and C. D. Sullivan. 1976. A new Eurycea (Amphibia: Plethodontidae) from southwestern North Carolina. Herpetologica 32:26-29.

  • Sever, D.M. 1983a. Eurycea junaluska. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 321:1-2.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 29 July 1999. 12-month finding for a petition to list the Junaluska salamander as endangered with critical habitat. Federal Register 64(145):41060-41061.

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