This species is discontinuously distributed in the USA and Canada from Nova Scotia (Friet and MacDonald 1995), New Brunswick, southern Quebec (e.g., Sharbel 1990), southern Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin (Vogt 1981) and Minnesota (Dorff 1995, Hall et al. 2000), south to southeastern Oklahoma, Louisiana (Dundee and Rossman 1989), Mississippi, Alabama (Mount 1975), Florida panhandle, and Georgia (Conant and Collins 1991). Its distribution is fairly continuous in the northeastern part of the range, spotty in the southwestern part.
Habitat and Ecology
Adults live under objects or among mosses in swamps, boggy streams and wet, wooded or open areas near ponds or quiet, mossy or grassy/sedgy pools (the larval habitat). Sphagnum moss is commonly abundant in suitable habitat. Eggs are laid in moss or other protected sites immediately above or next to a pool, into which the larvae drop or wriggle after hatching. It does not require pristine habitat; Phillips et al. (1999) noted that in Illinois "several localities are second-growth woods in soggy soils below dams of man-made lakes."
The total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 10,000 and might exceed 100,000. The species is probably more abundant than available records indicate, being relatively difficult to find. Its population is probably relatively stable overall.
The primary potential threat is loss and degradation of habitat, but this is ameliorated in some areas by wetland protection regulations. However, colonies might be more or less isolated by the species' relatively restricted habitat preferences and development of intervening uplands might inhibit dispersal and colonization of new habitats (Harding 1997). Sub-populations may flourish in many moderately developed and semi-rural areas in southern New England (Klemens 1993). Road mortality does not appear substantial when compared to many species of frogs and Ambystoma salamanders (Klemens 1993). Impoundments have probably reduced the range in some areas (Means 1992). It is tolerant of non-destructive intrusion.
Occurs in many protected areas.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of subpopulations and locations, and presumed large population size, and because the species probably is not declining fast enough to qualify for any of the threatened categories.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Hemidactylium scutatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59285A78906529. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T59285A78906529.en .Downloaded on 19 January 2019