The distribution and conservation status of the green salamander (Aneides aeneus) in Tennessee, USA

M.L. Niemiller, R. Hardman, D. Thames, D. Istvanko, Mark A. Davis, C. Ogle, K.D.K. Niemiller, K.E. Dooley, T.M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Green Salamanders (Aneides aeneus) are endemic to the eastern U.S. with a patchy distribution that spans the southern Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau from Mississippi and Alabama northward into Pennsylvania and Maryland. Green Salamanders are believed to be a specialist of mature hardwood cove forests. Alterations in this habitat from anthropogenic disturbance may be driving population declines that have led to the species being a candidate for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In Tennessee, Green Salamanders are considered a Species of Conservation Concern; however, their ecology, life history, and conservation status are poorly understood. We conducted the most comprehensive assessment of the distribution and status of the species in Tennessee to date. Specifically, we sought to (1) identify priority populations, (2) address knowledge gaps in its ecology and life history, and (3) complete a comprehensive threat assessment of the species. We conducted surveys of sites with known occurrences and at other sites with suitable habitat, determined geographic extent, and identified existing and future stressors. We documented Green Salamanders at 47 sites during field surveys conducted in 2017–2019, including 30 new sites along the escarpments of the Cumberland Plateau, Cumberland Mountains, Appalachian Valley and Ridge, and northern Eastern Highland Rim. Green Salamanders are now known from 160 localities in 30 Tennessee counties. Existing or potential threats include forest loss and fragmentation from development and logging, construction of water impoundments, over-collection for the pet trade, emergent diseases, and climate change. We offer several recommendations for future research, conservation, and management of the species in Tennessee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalHerpetological Conservation and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • INHS
  • Cumberland Plateau
  • Plethodontidae
  • species
  • threat assessment
  • Appalachian Valley and Ridge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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