Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 12 results
Media
hellbender, a large brown salamander resting in gravelly streambed
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis
Description
The eastern hellbender is a large, entirely aquatic salamander with a wide, flat head, small, lidless eyes, and soft folds of skin on the sides. In Missouri, it occurs in the northern Ozark highlands in spring-fed rivers that drain north into the Missouri and Meramec river drainages.
Media
Image of a spotted salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambystoma maculatum
Description
The spotted salamander is one of Missouri's six species of mole salamanders. It is slate black with two irregular rows of rounded yellow spots from the head onto the tail. It occurs in forests in the southern two-thirds of the state.
Media
Photo of a Frank Nelson Mole salamander in its natural habitat.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambystoma talpoideum
Description
The mole salamander is broad-headed, dull gray or brown, with a small body and tail and large limbs. It is spends almost all its time below ground. In Missouri, it is restricted to the lowlands of our southeastern counties.
Media
Photo of a southern red-backed salamander on an oak leaf.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethodon serratus
Description
The southern red-backed salamander is small and slender, with a distinct, narrow, red or orange mid-dorsal stripe with saw-toothed edges. It hides under rocks, mosses, and rotten logs in Ozark forests.
Media
Red River mudpuppy resting on a gravel stream bottom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Necturus maculosus maculosus
Description
Mudpuppies are aquatic salamanders that have plumelike external gills throughout their entire lives. They’re found in the southern half and along the eastern edge of Missouri.
Media
A black salamander with dark silver bands on its tail walks on a concrete pad.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambystoma opacum
Description
The marbled salamander is a small, stout salamander with silvery, white, or gray saddle-shaped markings on its body from head to tail. They occur in the southeastern half of the state and are seldom encountered except during the autumn breeding season.
Media
Ozark Hellbender
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi
Description
The eastern hellbender is a large, entirely aquatic salamander with a wide, flat head, small, lidless eyes, and soft folds of skin on the sides. In Missouri, it occurs only in the southern Ozark Highlands in spring-fed sections of the Black River system and North Fork of the White River system.
Media
Photo of a western slimy salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethodon albagula
Description
The western slimy salamander is a black to blue-black salamander irregularly marked with silvery flecks. It occurs in the Ozark Highlands and the Lincoln Hills north of the Missouri River. True to its name, it secretes a thick substance that sticks to skin like glue.
Media
A reddish-brown salamander with an orange stripe down its back is curled on a moss-covered rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plethodon angusticlavius
Description
The Ozark zigzag salamander is small and slender, with a narrow, somewhat lobed dorsal stripe that can be yellow, orange, or red. This woodland species lives in Missouri’s southwestern counties along the Arkansas border.
Media
Photo of researcher holding a gilled siren
Species Types
Scientific Name
Siren intermedia nettingi
Description
The western lesser siren is an eel-like, aquatic salamander with external gills, small eyes, small forelimbs with four toes, and no hind limbs. In Missouri, it’s found mostly in the Bootheel and northward in counties near the Mississippi River.
See Also

About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri

Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.