Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Image of a wood frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates sylvaticus (formerly Rana sylvatica)
Description
The wood frog is tan, pinkish tan, or brown, with a dark brown mask through the eye and ear. It is perfectly camouflaged among fallen dead leaves. A rare frog, it lives in cool, wooded hillsides in portions of eastern Missouri and some southwestern counties.
Media
Image of a pickerel frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates palustris (formerly Rana palustris)
Description
The pickerel frog is medium-sized, with square or rectangular spots in two parallel rows down the back. There is a distinct ridge of skin along each side of the back. It is absent from the northwestern third of Missouri.
Media
Image of a five-lined skink
Species Types
Scientific Name
Plestiodon fasciatus
Description
The common five-lined skink is one of Missouri's most abundant skinks. Adults are olive or tan with lengthwise stripes. It is often called the blue-tailed skink for the coloration of juveniles. Occurs nearly statewide.
Media
Oklahoma salamander, with external gills, resting among rocks in an aquarium
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea tynerensis (formerly E. multiplicata griseogaster)
Description
The Oklahoma salamander is small, dark, and almost never seen in a fully adult form without gills. Formerly called the gray-bellied salamander, in Missouri, it's found only in the central and southwestern Ozarks.
Media
Photo of a long-tailed salamander on a rotten log.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea longicauda longicauda (eastern dark-sided salamander) and E. l. melanopleura (dark-sided salamander)
Description
The eastern long-tailed salamander and closely related dark-sided salamander are agile and can escape predators by using their tails for quick jumps. They live in the southern and eastern parts of Missouri.
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
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 stripe along the back that has saw-toothed edges. It hides under rocks, mosses, and rotten logs in Ozark forests.
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 back stripe that can be yellow, orange, or red. This woodland species lives in Missouri’s southwestern counties along the Arkansas border.
Media
Image of a cave salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea lucifuga
Description
The cave salamander is a common amphibian of the Ozark Plateau. It lives in caves, springs, and rocky streams. Recognize it by its normally bright orange skin dotted with dark brown or black spots.
Media
Image of a grotto salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea spelaea
Description
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.
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.