Reptiles and Amphibians
The grotto salamander is Missouri’s only species of blind salamander. A true troglobite, it lives in total darkness and has small eyes that are completely or partially covered by their pink or beige skin. Occurs in wet caves in the Ozarks.
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.
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.