pseudotriton ruber
Pseudotriton Ruber

The family Plethodontidae, commonly named Lungless Salamanders, is the biggest family of salamanders, with more than 370 species spread across the Americas, southern Europe, and Korea (the only Plethodontidae in Korea was discovered only in 2005).

Members of this family have been found in a variety of niches, from full aquatic species to even arboreal species. Uniquely among salamanders, Plethodontidae have narrow grooves between the nostrils and the upper lip, with the males of some species having protuberances on the upper lip. The majority of species are fully terrestrial, laying eggs on the ground, while same have aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults, while others are completely aquatic, preserving larval features.

Their most prominent feature is the lack of lungs, with the animals breathes through their skin and the lining in their mouth.

The main hypothesis on this adaptation is that it is an adaptation to cool, fast flowing mountain streams. Cool mountain streams are rich in oxygen, and for the larvae and adults of the plethodontidae ancestors, lungs may have not only not necessary, but even a disadvantage, as they increase buoyancy and the risk of being swept away by the current.

This hypothesis has been recently disputed, generating some controversy. The main objection to the main hypothesis is based on the assumption that the geography of the Appalachian mountains in the Late Mesozoic is inconsistent with the cool, fast-flowing brooks which were assumed being the origin of the Plethodontidae, and instead the plethodontidae have a semi-aquatic/terrestrial origin.

Species List

Subfamily Hemidactyliinae (371 species)

Genus Aquiloeurycea (6 species)

Aquiloeurycea cafetalera Aquiloeurycea cephalica Aquiloeurycea galeanae
Aquiloeurycea praecellens Aquiloeurycea quetzalanensis Aquiloeurycea scandens

Genus Batrachoseps (22 species)

Batrachoseps altasierrae
Batrachoseps aridus
Batrachoseps attenuatus
Batrachoseps bramei
Batrachoseps campi
Batrachoseps diabolicus
Batrachoseps gabrieli
Batrachoseps gavilanensis
Batrachoseps gregarius
Batrachoseps incognitus
Batrachoseps kawia

Batrachoseps luciae
Batrachoseps major
Batrachoseps minor
Batrachoseps nigriventris
Batrachoseps pacificus
Batrachoseps regius
Batrachoseps relictus
Batrachoseps robustus
Batrachoseps simatus
Batrachoseps stebbinsi
Batrachoseps wrighti

Genus Bolitoglossa (132 species)

Bolitoglossa adspersa
Bolitoglossa alberchi
Bolitoglossa altamazonica
Bolitoglossa alvaradoi
Bolitoglossa anthracina
Bolitoglossa aurae
Bolitoglossa aureogularis
Bolitoglossa biseriata
Bolitoglossa borburata
Bolitoglossa bramei
Bolitoglossa caldwellae
Bolitoglossa capitana
Bolitoglossa carri
Bolitoglossa cataguana
Bolitoglossa celaque
Bolitoglossa centenorum
Bolitoglossa cerroensis
Bolitoglossa chica
Bolitoglossa chinanteca
Bolitoglossa chucantiensis
Bolitoglossa colonnea
Bolitoglossa compacta
Bolitoglossa conanti
Bolitoglossa copia
Bolitoglossa cuchumatana
Bolitoglossa cuna
Bolitoglossa daryorum
Bolitoglossa decora
Bolitoglossa diaphora
Bolitoglossa digitigrada
Bolitoglossa diminuta
Bolitoglossa dofleini
Bolitoglossa dunni
Bolitoglossa engelhardti
Bolitoglossa epimela
Bolitoglossa equatoriana
Bolitoglossa eremia
Bolitoglossa flavimembris
Bolitoglossa flaviventris
Bolitoglossa franklini
Bolitoglossa gomezi
Bolitoglossa gracilis
Bolitoglossa guaneae
Bolitoglossa guaramacalensis
Bolitoglossa hartwegi
Bolitoglossa heiroreias
Bolitoglossa helmrichi
Bolitoglossa hermosa
Bolitoglossa hiemalis
Bolitoglossa huehuetenanguensis
Bolitoglossa hypacra
Bolitoglossa indio
Bolitoglossa insularis
Bolitoglossa jacksoni
Bolitoglossa jugivagans
Bolitoglossa kamuk
Bolitoglossa kaqchikelorum
Bolitoglossa la
Bolitoglossa leandrae
Bolitoglossa lignicolor
Bolitoglossa lincolni
Bolitoglossa longissima
Bolitoglossa lozanoi
Bolitoglossa macrinii
Bolitoglossa madeira
Bolitoglossa magnifica

Bolitoglossa marmorea
Bolitoglossa medemi
Bolitoglossa meliana
Bolitoglossa mexicana
Bolitoglossa minutula
Bolitoglossa mombachoensis
Bolitoglossa morio
Bolitoglossa mucuyensis
Bolitoglossa mulleri
Bolitoglossa nicefori
Bolitoglossa nigrescens
Bolitoglossa ninadormida
Bolitoglossa nussbaumi
Bolitoglossa nympha
Bolitoglossa oaxacensis
Bolitoglossa obscura
Bolitoglossa occidentalis
Bolitoglossa odonnelli
Bolitoglossa omniumsanctorum
Bolitoglossa oresbia
Bolitoglossa orestes
Bolitoglossa pacaya
Bolitoglossa palmata
Bolitoglossa pandi
Bolitoglossa paraensis
Bolitoglossa peruviana
Bolitoglossa pesrubra
Bolitoglossa phalarosoma
Bolitoglossa platydactyla
Bolitoglossa porrasorum
Bolitoglossa psephena
Bolitoglossa pygmaea
Bolitoglossa ramosi
Bolitoglossa riletti
Bolitoglossa robinsoni
Bolitoglossa robusta
Bolitoglossa rostrata
Bolitoglossa rufescens
Bolitoglossa salvinii
Bolitoglossa savagei
Bolitoglossa schizodactyla
Bolitoglossa silverstonei
Bolitoglossa sima
Bolitoglossa sombra
Bolitoglossa sooyorum
Bolitoglossa splendida
Bolitoglossa striatula
Bolitoglossa stuarti
Bolitoglossa subpalmata
Bolitoglossa suchitanensis
Bolitoglossa synoria
Bolitoglossa tamaense
Bolitoglossa tapajonica
Bolitoglossa tatamae
Bolitoglossa taylori
Bolitoglossa tenebrosa
Bolitoglossa tica
Bolitoglossa tzultacaj
Bolitoglossa vallecula
Bolitoglossa veracrucis
Bolitoglossa walkeri
Bolitoglossa xibalba
Bolitoglossa yariguiensis
Bolitoglossa yucatana
Bolitoglossa zacapensis
Bolitoglossa zapoteca

Genus Bradytriton (1 species)

Bradytriton silus

Genus Chiropterotriton (16 species)

Chiropterotriton arboreus
Chiropterotriton chico
Chiropterotriton chiropterus
Chiropterotriton chondrostega
Chiropterotriton cieloensis
Chiropterotriton cracens
Chiropterotriton dimidiatus
Chiropterotriton infernalis

Chiropterotriton lavae
Chiropterotriton magnipes
Chiropterotriton miquihuanus
Chiropterotriton mosaueri
Chiropterotriton multidentatus
Chiropterotriton orculus
Chiropterotriton priscus
Chiropterotriton terrestris

Genus Cryptotriton (7 species)

Cryptotriton alvarezdeltoroi
Cryptotriton monzoni
Cryptotriton nasalis
Cryptotriton necopinus

Cryptotriton sierraminensis
Cryptotriton veraepacis
Cryptotriton xucaneborum

Genus Dendrotriton (8 species)

Dendrotriton bromeliacius
Dendrotriton chujorum
Dendrotriton cuchumatanus
Dendrotriton kekchiorum

Dendrotriton megarhinus
Dendrotriton rabbi
Dendrotriton sanctibarbarus
Dendrotriton xolocalcae

Genus Eurycea (33 species)

Eurycea aquatica
Eurycea bislineata
Eurycea braggi
Eurycea chamberlaini
Eurycea chisholmensis
Eurycea cirrigera
Eurycea guttolineata
Eurycea hillisi
Eurycea junaluska
Eurycea latitans
Eurycea longicauda
Eurycea lucifuga
Eurycea multiplicata
Eurycea nana
Eurycea naufragia
Eurycea neotenes
Eurycea nereus

Eurycea paludicola
Eurycea pterophila
Eurycea quadridigitata
Eurycea rathbuni
Eurycea robusta
Eurycea sosorum
Eurycea spelaea
Eurycea sphagnicola
Eurycea subfluvicola
Eurycea tonkawae
Eurycea tridentifera
Eurycea troglodytes
Eurycea tynerensis
Eurycea wallacei
Eurycea waterlooensis
Eurycea wilderae

Genus Gyrinophilus (4 species)

Gyrinophilus gulolineatus
Gyrinophilus palleucus

Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Gyrinophilus subterraneus

Genus Hemidactylium (1 species)

Hemidactylium scutatum

Genus Isthmura (7 species)

Isthmura bellii
Isthmura boneti
Isthmura corrugata
Isthmura gigantea

Isthmura maxima
Isthmura naucampatepetl
Isthmura sierraoccidentalis

Genus Ixalotriton (2 species)

Ixalotriton niger

Ixalotriton parvus

Genus Nototriton (20 species)

Nototriton abscondens
Nototriton barbouri
Nototriton brodiei
Nototriton costaricense
Nototriton gamezi
Nototriton guanacaste
Nototriton lignicola
Nototriton limnospectator
Nototriton major
Nototriton matama

Nototriton mime
Nototriton nelsoni
Nototriton oreadorum
Nototriton picadoi
Nototriton picucha
Nototriton richardi
Nototriton saslaya
Nototriton stuarti
Nototriton tapanti
Nototriton tomamorum

Genus Nyctanolis (1 species)

Nyctanolis pernix

Genus Pseudoeurycea (39 species)

Pseudoeurycea ahuitzotl
Pseudoeurycea altamontana
Pseudoeurycea amuzga
Pseudoeurycea anitae
Pseudoeurycea aquatica
Pseudoeurycea aurantia
Pseudoeurycea brunnata
Pseudoeurycea cochranae
Pseudoeurycea conanti
Pseudoeurycea exspectata
Pseudoeurycea firscheini
Pseudoeurycea gadovii
Pseudoeurycea goebeli
Pseudoeurycea juarezi
Pseudoeurycea kuautli
Pseudoeurycea leprosa
Pseudoeurycea lineola
Pseudoeurycea longicauda
Pseudoeurycea lynchi
Pseudoeurycea melanomolga

Pseudoeurycea mixcoatl
Pseudoeurycea mixteca
Pseudoeurycea mystax
Pseudoeurycea nigromaculata
Pseudoeurycea obesa
Pseudoeurycea orchileucos
Pseudoeurycea orchimelas
Pseudoeurycea papenfussi
Pseudoeurycea rex
Pseudoeurycea robertsi
Pseudoeurycea ruficauda
Pseudoeurycea saltator
Pseudoeurycea smithi
Pseudoeurycea tenchalli
Pseudoeurycea teotepec
Pseudoeurycea tlahcuiloh
Pseudoeurycea tlilicxitl
Pseudoeurycea unguidentis
Pseudoeurycea werleri

Genus Pseudotriton (2 species)

Pseudotriton montanus

Pseudotriton ruber

Genus Stereochilus (1 species)

Stereochilus marginatus

Genus Thorius (29 species)

Thorius adelos
Thorius arboreus
Thorius aureus
Thorius boreas
Thorius dubitus
Thorius grandis
Thorius hankeni
Thorius infernalis
Thorius insperatus
Thorius longicaudus
Thorius lunaris
Thorius macdougalli
Thorius magnipes
Thorius maxillabrochus
Thorius minutissimus

Thorius minydemus
Thorius munificus
Thorius narismagnus
Thorius narisovalis
Thorius omiltemi
Thorius papaloae
Thorius pennatulus
Thorius pinicola
Thorius pulmonaris
Thorius schmidti
Thorius smithi
Thorius spilogaster
Thorius tlaxiacus
Thorius troglodytes

Genus Urspelerpes (1 species)

Urspelerpes brucei

Subfamily Plethodontinae (100 species)

Genus Aneides (6 species)

Aneides aeneus
Aneides ferreus
Aneides flavipunctatus

Aneides hardii
Aneides lugubris
Aneides vagrans

Genus Desmognathus (22 species)

Desmognathus abditus
Desmognathus aeneus
Desmognathus apalachicolae
Desmognathus auriculatus
Desmognathus brimleyorum
Desmognathus carolinensis
Desmognathus conanti
Desmognathus folkertsi
Desmognathus fuscus
Desmognathus imitator
Desmognathus marmoratus

Desmognathus monticola
Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Desmognathus ocoee
Desmognathus orestes
Desmognathus organi
Desmognathus planiceps
Desmognathus quadramaculatus
Desmognathus santeetlah
Desmognathus valentinei
Desmognathus welteri
Desmognathus wrighti

Genus Ensatina (1 species)

Ensatina eschscholtzii

Genus Hydromantes (13 species)

Hydromantes ambrosii
Hydromantes brunus
Hydromantes flavus
Hydromantes genei
Hydromantes imperialis
Hydromantes italicus
Hydromantes platycephalus

Hydromantes samweli
Hydromantes sarrabusensis
Hydromantes shastae
Hydromantes strinatii
Hydromantes supramontis
Hydromantes wintu

Genus Karsenia (1 species)

Karsenia koreana

Genus Phaeognathus (1 species)

Phaeognathus hubrichti

Genus Plethodon (56 species)

Plethodon ainsworthi
Plethodon albagula
Plethodon amplus
Plethodon angusticlavius
Plethodon asupak
Plethodon aureolus
Plethodon caddoensis
Plethodon chattahoochee
Plethodon cheoah
Plethodon chlorobryonis
Plethodon cinereus
Plethodon cylindraceus
Plethodon dixi
Plethodon dorsalis
Plethodon dunni
Plethodon electromorphus
Plethodon elongatus
Plethodon fourchensis
Plethodon glutinosus
Plethodon grobmani
Plethodon hoffmani
Plethodon hubrichti
Plethodon idahoensis
Plethodon jordani
Plethodon kentucki
Plethodon kiamichi
Plethodon kisatchie
Plethodon larselli

Plethodon meridianus
Plethodon metcalfi
Plethodon mississippi
Plethodon montanus
Plethodon neomexicanus
Plethodon nettingi
Plethodon ocmulgee
Plethodon ouachitae
Plethodon petraeus
Plethodon punctatus
Plethodon richmondi
Plethodon savannah
Plethodon sequoyah
Plethodon serratus
Plethodon shenandoah
Plethodon sherando
Plethodon shermani
Plethodon stormi
Plethodon teyahalee
Plethodon vandykei
Plethodon variolatus
Plethodon vehiculum
Plethodon ventralis
Plethodon virginia
Plethodon websteri
Plethodon wehrlei
Plethodon welleri
Plethodon yonahlossee


Citation: Wilder, I. W., & Dunn, E. R. (1920). The correlation of lunglessness in salamanders with a mountain brook habitat. Copeia, 84, 63-68.

Citation: Dunn, E. R. (1926). The salamanders of the family Plethodontidae (Vol. 7). Smith College.

Citation: Ruben, J. A., & Boucot, A. J. (1989). The origin of the lungless salamanders (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). The American Naturalist, 134(2), 161-169.

Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2018. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: (Accessed: 2018).