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| Herpetology | What is an Amphibian | What is a Reptile |
| Species in Quebec | About the data | About the maps |

| Salamanders | Anurans (Frogs and Toads) | Turtles | Snakes |


The study of amphibians and reptiles is called herpetology, from the Greek word herpes, meaning "creeping thing" (a description many would consider as less than complimentary!). There are about 4600 species of amphibians and 6000 species of reptiles worldwide.

What is an amphibian?

Amphibians consist of three groups of vertebrates: frogs, salamanders and caecilians (found in the tropics only). Amphibians have smooth, scaleless skin which is permeable to water. Water can evaporate easily from the skin, and an amphibian can dry up and die in a few hours if it does not have access to water. Thus amphibians tend to be active at times when evaporation is minimized: at night and when it rains.

However, this same skin permeability makes it possible for amphibians to obtain moisture from sources besides pools of water. This means that amphibians can live in very dry climates, like deserts, and when the dry season arrives, they just burrow underground and pull in moisture from the surrounding soil. Despite this, the amphibian's tie to water remains: their eggs must be laid in water in order to survive.

The amphibians of Quebec include frogs and salamanders.

(Pough et al., 1998)

What is a reptile?

Reptiles were the world's first truly terrestrial vertebrates. All reptiles have scaly skin that can withstand dessication and lay eggs with hard shells, therefore they are not tied to the water like their relatives, the amphibians. Since they can live on land, they also have an expanded lung system.

Reptiles include turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and tuatara (found only in New Zealand). The reptiles of Quebec are represented by turtles and snakes only.

(Kimball, 1986)

How many species are there in Quebec?

Curently, there are 37 known species of amphibians and reptiles in Quebec.

A camera, text or map icon next to a species' name indicates a link to a photo, description or map of that species.

Salamanders (Order Caudata)      
Mudpuppy Necturus maculosus Photo   Map
Eastern Newt Notophthalmus viridescens Photo   Map
Blue-spotted Salamander Ambystoma laterale Photo   Map
Yellow-spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum Photo   Map
Northern Dusky Salamander Desmognathus fuscus Photo   Map
Mountain Dusky Salamander Desmognathus ocrophaeus     Map
Eastern Redback Salamander Plethodon cinereus Photo   Map
Four-toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum Photo   Map
Spring Salamander Gyrinophilus porphyriticus Photo   Map
Northern Two-Lined Salamander Eurycea bislineata Photo    
Anurans (Order Anura)      
American Toad Bufo americanus Photo   Map
Northern Spring Peeper Pseudacris crucifer Photo   Map
Tetraploid Gray Treefrog Hyla versicolor     Map
Western Chorus Frog Pseudacris triseriata Photo   Map
Boreal Chorus Frog Pseudacris maculata     Map
Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana Photo   Map
Green Frog Rana clamitans Photo   Map
Mink Frog Rana septentrionalis Photo   Map
Wood Frog Rana sylvatica Photo   Map
Northern Leopard Frog Rana pipiens Photo   Map
Pickerel Frog Rana palustris Photo   Map
Turtles (Order Testudines)      
Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina Photo   Map
Common Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus Photo   Map
Spotted Turtle Clemmys guttata Photo   Map

Wood Turtle

Clemmys insculpta     Map
Blanding's Turtle Emydoidea blandingi Photo   Map
Common Map Turtle Graptemys geographica Photo   Map
Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta Photo   Map
Eastern Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera Photo   Map
Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea     Map
Snakes (Order Squamata)      
Northern Water Snake Nerodia sipedon Photo   Map
Brown Snake Storeria dekayi Photo   Map
Redbelly Snake Storeria occipitomaculata Photo   Map
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis   Map
Ringneck Snake Diadophis punctatus     Map
Smooth Green Snake Opheodrys vernalis Photo   Map
Milk Snake Lampropeltis triangulum Photo   Map


About the data in these maps

The maps showing the distribution of Quebec's amphibian and reptile species come from the Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles of Quebec (Bider and Matte, 1996) with kind permission from the St. Lawrence Valley Natural History Society.

The atlas data is the result of eight years of data collection, both in the field and from published documents, unpublished reports and museum databanks, to gather all existing data on the distribution of each species of amphibian and reptile in the province. The data on these maps are the result of over 7000 distribution records. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that the geographic distributions represented in these maps are not the complete picture. Some parts of the province have not been adequately inventoried. As well, common species are often not carefully noted, therefore accurate distribution data are not available.

(Bider and Matte, 1998)

About the maps

For presentation of the distribution data, Quebec was divided into blocks of 15 longitude by 15 latitude. A blank block may mean that either the species is not found there, or that no one has yet looked there for that species. The different shades of grey signify different sampling periods as shown below:

Some distribution maps have been witheld to protect the locations of species at risk.


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