AMPHIBIA (Amphibians) CAUDATA (Salamanders) PLETHODONTIDAE (Lungless Salamanders)

LONG-TAILED SALAMANDER
Eurycea longicauda (Green 1818)
ū-rĭs-ē-ă — lŏn-gĭ-kă-dŭh


Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Threatened Species

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S2 - Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

An adult Long-tailed Salamander from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image by Jenn Rader. iNat Obs. #78935748.
An adult Long-tailed Salamander from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image by Jenny Smith. iNat Obs. #6931201.
An adult Long-tailed Salamander from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image by Andrew George. iNat Obs. #72045294.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Diagnosis:
This slender salamander is variably patterned throughout its range. In Kansas, it is typically yellow-green to yellow-brown orange on its back legs, head, and tail, with scattered small well-defined black blotches. The sides of the body and tail are generally much darker (but variable). The belly is cream to yellow and typically unspotted. Larvae are slender with a low tail fin, long gill branches, dark flecks on the anterior third of the throat, and a broad pale stripe down back.
Adults normally 92-159 mm (3¼- 6¼ inches) in total length. The largest specimen from Kansas is a female (KU 51690) from Cherokee County with a snout-vent length of 55 mm and a total length of 143 mm (5 5/8 inches), collected by John M. Legler on 10 May 1958. The maximum length throughout the range is 7 1/2 inches (197 mm) (Powell et al. 2016).

Distribution:
This species is known from the Ozark Plateau in extreme southeastern Cherokee County. They are most often found near cool streams and spring seeps in forested uplands and hillsides. They are common within the twilight zones of caves and sometimes venture deep within them. The larvae are most commonly encountered in streams through forested uplands.
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 249
    Records 
  • 198
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 51
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Cherokee (243); Decatur (5); Unknown (1);

Natural History:
Long-tailed Salamanders are nocturnal and leave their refugia (under rocks or in fissures or caves)  to forage at night, especially after rains where you may find them on damp leaves, rock faces, tree trunks, or even on roads during these forays. Eggs laid in wet underground crevices in late summer or autumn. Hatchlings appear in late winter or early spring and larvae transform in summer. Transformed individuals feed on small terrestrial invertebrates.
Lives near cool streams and spring seeps in rocky forested uplands and valleys. They are partial to the twilight zone of caves and may be found deep within caves. The gilled larvae are often abundant in the nearby streams. Adults emerge from rocky hiding places on humid nights and feed on invertebrates.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Remarks:
Listed as a Kansas Threatened species in 1987. A recovery plan has been completed (Layher, 2002).
Designated critical habitat has been defined as, all suitable wetlands, waters, and moist wooded bottomlands occurring within that portion of Cherokee County lying south and east of a line starting at the Kansas-Missouri border at Kansas Highway 96 in the SE 1/4 Sec. 12, T33S, R25E, then extending west along K-96 to its junction with Kansas Highway 26 at the NE corner Sec. 18, T33S, R25E, then south along K- 26 to its junction with U.S. Highway 66 at SE corner Sec. 18, T34S, R25E, then south and west along U.S. 66 to the Kansas-Oklahoma border at Sec. 14, T35S, R24E.
This species is confined to woodlands and associated leaf litter and rock cover.
Layher (2002) recommended the down-listing of this species to SINC status at such a time it is known from 20 localities and when 16 of those localities are protected in some manner. He further recommended that upon confirmation of the species' continued existence at those sites five years later, it should be dropped from the SINC list.
This taxon is the most wide-ranging of the Plethodontids in the Ozarkian Plateau of Kansas. This species has doubtfully seen little change in its distribution or relative abundance over the last 50 years.

Bibliography:
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1926 Dunn, Emmett R The Salamanders of the Family Plethodontidae Smith College, Northampton, Massachusets. 441pp.
1932 Smith, Hobart M. A report upon amphibians hitherto unknown from Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 35():93-96
First report of Eurycea spelaea, Eurycea longicauda, Lithobates clamitans, and Lithobates palustris in Kansas from specimens collected in Cherokee County. The subsequent discovery of Lithobates clamitans in Miami County is also reported.
The field studies took place in the spring of 1931 and from 3-5 April 1932 and collections made by various individuals in each expedition.
Of particular note is the statement that "All were collected at various localities about three to five miles north of Baxter Springs near the Spring River. Many specimens from these surveys are labeled (3-5 miles north of Baxter Springs) and without reference to the Spring River, which takes an easterly and then north north easterly course approximately two miles north of Baxter Springs (at Riverton). The stated locality is actually low flat farm ground and pasture along Brush Creek (well outside the Ozark Plateau) and not as Smith describes the site in 1932 (... situated in moderately heavily wooded, hilly region). Subsequent reviewers remarked (among themselves) that perhaps the locality on the labels should have been 'east' instead of 'north', however Smith's op cit. remarks do help in that they place the collections in suitable habitat.
1933 Brumwell, Malcolm J. Distributional records of the reptilia and amphibians of Kansas. Privately printed, . 22pp.
County dot maps of the Kansas herpetofauna. This work has been attributed to have been written around 1933, but that may be in error.
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
The first full accounting of the twenty-five species of amphibians known to occur in Kansas. Includes Ambystoma maculatum which is currently not included in the Kansas faunal list.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
The formal publication of Hobart Smith's Master's Thesis (Smith 1933), though there are several updated and additions. In addition to the species accounts for all twenty-five species, the paper includes a history of amphibian biology in Kansas and discussions on taxonomy and physiography. 
1935 Knight, Howard. A Key to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. 125pp.
1943 Bishop, Sherman C. Handbook of Salamanders: The Salamanders of the United States, of Canada, and of Lower California. Comstock Publishing Company., Ithaca, New York.. pp.
1946 Smith, Hobart M. The systematic status of Eumeces pluvialis Cope, a noteworthy records of other amphibians and reptiles from Kansas and Oklahoma. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 1(2):85-89
Discussion of an unnamed western from of Plestiodon anthracinus; The discovery of Eurycea lucifua in Cherokee County, Kansas, and mention of Eurycea longicauda.; The distribution of Psuedacris crucifer in Kansas and discovery of a specimen in NE Oklahoma.
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
The first modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table and text say 97 on p. 10) and 13 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies.
1956 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Second edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (9):1-356
Hobart M. Smith's updated second edition of his first (1950) modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table says 97 on p. 10; text says 98 on p. 10) and 11 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies. The second edition has updated taxonomy, added Plestiodon laticeps, and removed Eurycea tynerensis.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
Examined 2,628 Kansas reptiles of 48 species consisting of 27 turtles of 4 species, 1,736 lizards of 12 species and 892 snakes of 32 species for chiggers. Eleven species of chiggers were recovered from reptiles.
For amphibians, 1188 individuals of 21 species were examined. Five species of chigger mite were recovered from amphibians.
1958 Conant, Roger. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston. pp.
1959 Collins, H. H. Complete Field Guide to American Wildlife. Harper and Brothers, New York. pp.
1960 Conant, Roger. The queen snake, Natrix septemvittata, in the interior highlands of Arkansas and Missouri, with comments upon similar disjunct distributions. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 112(2):25-40
1969 Branson, Branley A., James Triplett, and Robert Hartmann. A partial biological survey of the Spring River drainage in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Part II: The fishes. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 72(4):429-472
1970 Ireland, Patrick H Rediscovery of the grey-bellied salamander, Eurycea multiplicata griseogaster Moore and Hughes, in southeastern Kansas Southwestern Naturalist 14(3):366
1970 Clarke, Robert F. Salamanders in Kansas and vicinity. Kansas School Naturalist 16(4):1-16
1971 Cross, Frank B. Environmental Inventory and Assessment of the Grand (Neosho) River Basin, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas. Kansas Biological Survey and Institute of Social Environmental Studies, Lawrence. pp.
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
Joseph T. Collins first Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Smith 1956)>
1974 Johnson, Tom R. Rare and endangered herpetofauna of Kansas. St. Louis Herpetological Society Newsletter 1(10):4-5
1974 Platt, Dwight R., Joseph T. Collins, and Ray E. Ashton, Jr. Rare, endangered and extirpated species in Kansas. II. Amphibians and reptiles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 76(3):185-192
The initial initiative to determine population and conservation status of Kansas' amphibians and reptiles based on our understanding at the time. A lot has changed regarding our increased knowledge on all the listed species.
1975 Conant, Roger. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston. pp.
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1976 Ashton, Ray E., Jr., Stephen R. Edwards, and George R. Pisani. Endangered and threatened amphibians and reptiles in the United States. Herpetological Circulars (5):65
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1977 Harrison, Ross. A plan for Kansas wildlife. Kansas Fish and Game (34(6)):5-24
1979 Gray, Peter. Low attendance slows KHS. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):1
1979 Ireland, Patrick H. Eurycea longicauda. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (221):1-4
1980 Irwin, Kelly J. Hitchhike herping in December. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (36):11-14
1980 Guarisco, Hank. Low attendance at July KHS field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (38):4-5
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
Joseph T. Collins second Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1974)>
1982 Guarisco, Hank, Peter Gray, and Joseph T. Collins. Focus of 1982 KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (47):5-6
1983 Ballinger, Royce E. and John D. Lynch. How to Know the Amphibians and Reptiles. Wm. C. Brown,, Dubuque, Iowa. pp.
1983 Ireland, Patrick H. and Ronald Altig. Key to the gilled salamander larvae and larviform adults of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 28(3):271-274
1983 Ireland, Patrick H. and Ronald Altig. Key to the gilled salamander larvae and larviform adults of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 28(3):271-274
1984 Altig, Ronald and Patrick H. Ireland. A key to salamander larvae and larviform adults of the United States and Canada. Herpetologica 40(2):212-218
1985 Wood, R. D. Critical habitats for endangered and threatened herps of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (60):13-15
1986 Terry, P. A. Biological survey of the KS segments of Spring River and Shoal Creek. Part 1. Field Survey. Draft. Kansas Fish and Game, Pratt, Kansas. 67pp.
1986 Beard, James B. Salamanders of Schermerhorn Park Cave, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):7-8
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1989 Simmons, John E. Endangered and threatened in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):4-5
1989 Capron, Marty. Threatened and endangered: A critique of the Kansas list. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (76):14-15
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1992 Freeman, Craig C. and Kelly Kindscher. Endangered and threatened species in the southeast Kansas highway corridor: Supporting documentation for Tasks 4 and 5 (in) Environmental Segments 2, 3, and 5.  Report 51. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 1-23pp.
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
Joseph T. Collins third Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1982)>
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the fifth Kansas herp count held during April-June 1993 . Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (94):7-11
1994 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Bob Gress. Kansas Wetlands: A Wildlife Treasury. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. 1994 Field Trip Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (95):3-4
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. KHS spring field trip a resounding success Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):2
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
See, 1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Additions and corrections [to the results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994]. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):4.
1995 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, Jerry Horak, Daniel Mulhern, William H. Busby, Craig C. Freeman, and G. Wallace. An Illustrated Guide to Endangered or Threatened Species in Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Notes on the natural history of some Kansas amphibians and reptiles: Parasites. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (105):16-17
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
Reported Anaxyrus woodhousii was likely A. fowleri.
2000 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2000 fall field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):6-8
2001 Kirk, Jay D. Reintroduction of the Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris) to Cherokee County, Kansas Thesis. Friends University, Wichita, Kansas. 54pp.
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2002 Layher, Bill. Recovery plan for four salamander species of Cherokee County, Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 18pp.
2006 Bartlett, Richard D. and Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America (North of Mexico). University Press of Florida, Gainesville. pp.
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2008 Industrial Economics, Incorporated Cherokee County: Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment. Prepared for: US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Industrial Economics, Incorporated, Cambridge, MA. 138pp.
2009 Allison, Nathaniel T. The honorable E. B. Schermerhorn. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (30):10
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2015 Rohweder, Megan R. Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey. 176pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Daniel, Richard E. and Brian S. Edmond. Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles for 2019. Privately printed, Columbia, Missouri. 86pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
2020 Rader, Jennifer. Southeast Kansas Nature Center. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine July-August():38-41
Account Last Updated:
8/10/2021 1:08:19 PM