Gyrinophilus subterraneus Besharse and Holsinger, 1977

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Hemidactyliinae > Genus: Gyrinophilus > Species: Gyrinophilus subterraneus

Gyrinophilus subterraneus Besharse and Holsinger, 1977, Copeia, 1977: 626. Holotype: USNM 198533, by original designation. Type locality: "General Davis Cave, a few km NE Alderson, Greenbrier Co[unty]., West Virginia", USA.

Gyrinophilus subterraneusCollins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 7; Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 280.

English Names

West Virginia Spring Salamander (Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 7; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 7; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 24; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 13; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 28; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 70; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 29).


Known only from the General Davis Cave system, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, USA.

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - West Virginia

Endemic: United States of America, United States of America - West Virginia


Considered an extreme variant of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus by Blaney and Blaney, 1978, Proc. W. Virginia Acad. Sci., 50: 23. See Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 280, 287–288, for discussion of the controversy and an account. Howard, Raesly, and Thompson, 1984, in McComb (ed.), Proc. Workshop Management Nongame Spec. Ecol. Comm.: 318–326, provided allozyme evidence for species distinctiveness. See map, description of geographic range and habitat, and conservation status in Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani, and Young, 2008, Threatened Amph. World: 575. Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 121, continued recognition of this species on exactly the same kind of evidence that they employed to synonymize Gyrinophilus palleucus into Gyrinophilus porphyriticus, which is that some populations of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus are more closely related to this species than to other populations of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus; which can also be construed as evidence that Gyrinophilus porphyriticus is not one species. See comment under Gyrinophilus porphyriticusRaffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 235, provided a brief account, photographs, and map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 120, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Campbell Grant, Mulder, Brand, Chambers, Wynn, Capshaw, Niemiller, Phillips, Jacobs, Kuchta, and Bell, 2022, Conserv. Genetics, 23: 727–244, reported on a hybrid zone with partial reproductive isolated between this species and adjacent population of Gyrinophilus porphyriticusRaffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 519–520, provided an account, summarizing systematics, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). Tighe, 2022, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 654: 35, noted the current location of paratypes. 

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