Many people know Missouri as “the cave state,” and the grotto salamander is Missouri’s only species of blind salamander. A true troglobite, it lives in total darkness and has small eyes that are completely or partially covered by their pink or beige skin.
Unlike many of its close relatives, this salamander breeds in the autumn instead of early spring, and on land instead of in water. Females lay their eggs near a pond, curl protectively around them, then wait until rains make the pond water high enough to cover the eggs.
You might not want to touch this salamander—it secretes a thick, very sticky substance that adheres to skin like glue. It causes dust, dirt or bits of dead leaves to stick to one’s hands and is difficult to remove.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature. Read more about our mission.