Amphibians of the Pine Barrens

Two toads and twelve frogs are known to inhabit the Pine Barrens.


All of these amphibians are dependent on high-quality aquatic habitat for breeding, but some of them are otherwise more closely associated with uplands. The Pine Barrens is the global stronghold for the Pine Barrens Treefrog, which uses mostly intermittent ponds in characteristic Pine Barrens areas for breeding. Residential development and farming in the Pinelands often result in changes to the chemistry of breeding habitats of these animals, and an influx of non-native species that can displace them. Carpenter Frogs are another characteristic Pine Barrens species, the presence of which indicates a healthy aquatic wildlife community. Some of the other more visible and well-known frog species of the Pine Barrens are the Green Frog and the Southern Leopard Frog.

Carpenter Frog

Rana virgatipes

Carpenter Frog
Carpenter Frog © Michael Hogan

Size: 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 “

Call sounds like two carpenters hammering nails in quick succession: “pu-tunk”. Inhabits spagnum and cranberry bogs and wooded swamps and ponds.

Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Scapphiopus holbrooki

Eastern Spade Foot Toad
Eastern Spade Foot Toad © Michael Hogan

Size: 1 3/4″ – 2 1/4″

Breeds only during heavy rainfalls. Locally common in the Pine Barrens.

Eastern Tiger Salamander

Ambystoma tigrinum

Eastern Tiger Salamander
Eastern Tiger Salamander © John White

6″ – 8″, up to 14″

Rarely seen in the open and lives in burrows usually two feet from the surface. Feeds on small insects and small frogs. Almost entirely terrestrial as adults, and only returns to water to breed.

Status: Endangered

Four-toed Salamander

Hemidactylium scutatum

Four-toed Salamander
Four-toed Salamander © John White

Size: 2″ – 3 1/2″

Found under damp sphagnum, bark, stumps and rotting logs. Abundant in the Pine Barrens.

Fowler’s Toad

Bufo woodhousei fowleri

Fowler's Toad
Fowler’s Toad © Michael Hogan

Size: 2″ – 3″

Breeds in rain-filled pools. Abundant in the Pine Barrens.

Green Frog

Rana clamitans melanota

Green Frog
Green Frog © Michael Hogan

Size: 2 1/4″ – 3 1/2″

Abundant in shallow lakes, ponds, streams and other fresh waters throughout the Pine Barrens.

Marbled Salamander

Ambystoma opacum

Marbled Salamander
Marbled Salamander © Michael Hogan

Size: 3 1/2″ – 4 1/2″

Found in moist, sandy areas. Locally common along edges of the Pine Barrens.

Northern Dusky Salamander

Desmognathus fuscus

Northern Dusky Salamander
Northern Dusky Salamander © John White

Common near running or trickling water in wooded areas. Found under leaf litter or other debris. May enter burrows for protection. Lays eggs close to water under logs or along streambanks.

Northern Red Salamander

Pseudotriton ruber

Northern Red Salamander
Northern Red Salamander © George Cevera

Size: 4 1/4″ – 6″

Found under moss or other objects in or near clear, coll streams.

Abundant in the Pine Barrens.

Northern Spring Peeper

Hyla crucifer

Northern Spring Peeper
Northern Spring Peeper © Michael Hogan

Size: 3/4″ – 1 1/4″

A high piping call heard at dusk is one of the first amphibian indicators of spring. Commonly found in small or smi-permanent ponds or swamps in low, brishy woodlands.

Northern Two-lined Salamander

Eurycea bislineata

Northern Two-lined Salamander
Northern Two-lined Salamander © George Cevera

Size: 2 ½”- 4 3/4”

Found near streams and pockets of wet soil within forests.

Pine Barrens Tree Frog

Hyla andersonii

Pine Barrens Tree Frog
The Pine Barrens tree frog ([em]Hyla andersoni[/em]).

Size: 1″ – 1 1/2″

Distinctive male call is a low, nasal quonk, during breeding season from mid-May to mid-June.

Found in white cedar and sphagnum bogs and swamps.

Long considered an icon of the New Jersey Pinelands, the Pine Barrens Treefrog can be heard and observed readily in appropriate habitats and times in late spring. They vanish into surrounding uplands for the remainder of the year.

Status: State: Endangered

Red-backed Salamander

Plethodon cinereus

Red-backed Salamander with Eggs
Red-backed Salamander with Eggs © George Cevera

Size: 2 1/4″ – 3 1/2″

Found mostly in wooded areas, usually under logs or bark. Sometimes found far from water. Abundant in the Pine Barrens.

Red-spotted Newt

Notophthalmus viridescens

Red-spotted Newt
Red-spotted Newt © Patrick Coin

Size: 2 3/4″ – 4″

Unusual life cycle: begins as an aquatic larva, changes to terrestrial immature (“red eft”, then finally changes to aquatic adult. Immature terrestrial efts found under leaf litter and logs. Aquatic adults live in ponds, and marshes.

Southern Leopard Frog

Rana utricularia

Southern Leopard Frog
Southern Leopard Frog © Michael Hogan

Size: 2″ – 3 1/2″

Found in all types of marshes, meadows, and fresh water habitats.

Spotted Salamander

Ambystoma maculatum

Spotted Salamander © Bruce Hallman – USFWS

Size: 6″ – 7 1/2″

Feeds on worms, insects, and spiders. Found under moss or logs near streams or ponds. Breeds in ponds when raining during the spring.

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