Plethodon mississippi — Mississippi Slimy Salamander
Until recently there was but one species of Slimy Salamander. Now there are thirteen, due to modern laboratory techniques. No, mad scientists did not somehow create thirteen species from one; instead, with DNA analysis and a strenuous application of statistics, the one species was split into thirteen. This one is a charming young Mississippi Slimy Salamander, despite being in Tennessee.
Hematite Lake Trail, Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, Trigg County, Kentucky—May 11, 2004
Here's a large adult Mississippi Slimy Salamander, this one from Kentucky. You might think that after all that effort to carefully distinguish thirteen species differing mainly in subtle genetic ways, somebody could have come up with slightly more accurate English names, eh? (OK, OK, so they probably were referring to the river basin rather than the state.)
- Conant, R., Collins, J. T. 1998. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition, expanded
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada