Tennessee cave salamander; official amphibian symbol of Tennessee. Photo by Alfred Crabtree/Flickr (Use Permitted with Attribution/No Derivative Works).
Official State Amphibian of Tennessee
The Tennessee cave salamander was designated the official state amphibian of Tennessee in 1995. All State Amphibians
The Tennessee cave salamander has three red external gills, a broad, flat head with small lidless eyes, and a tail fin. Coloring ranges from nearly white to dark brown with spots. This large salamander (4 - 9" long) is usually found in limestone caves containing streams in central and southeast Tennessee.
Salamanders breathe through their skin and are very sensitive to their environment - they have little tolerance for environmental pollution. A recent study estimated that salamander and frog populations around the globe have decreased 60-70% over the past few decades.
The Tennessee cave salamander (Gyrino-philu palleucus) is threatened and under consideration for listing as an endangered species. Other species of salamander that can be found in Tennessee caves: Dusky (Desmognathus fuscus), Cave (Eurycea lucifuga), Longtail (Eurycea longicauda longicauda) and Northern Slimy (Plethodon glutinosus).