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Ozark Zigzag Salamander

Joel Satore

Ozark zigzag salamanders are part of a large salamander family, Plethodontidae, that share one strange distinctive trait: they have no lungs. Instead, they breathe through their skin and mouths. This unique trait requires them to keep the surface of their skin moist at all times, which is why these salamanders are only found beneath logs, caves, and other cool, damp environments—especially during the hot summer months.

Climate Change Impacts

Like many of its other lungless family members, the Ozark zigzag salamander is only found in one small area of the Southeastern United States, making it extremely vulnerable to changes in climate. Unfortunately, global warming is altering temperatures and humidity levels across the world, with populations of amphibians such as frogs and salamanders plummeting in recent decades as a result of changing climate conditions and disease.