Alabama wildlife is directly connected to the state’s various ecoregions, some of which are familiar to many of the Southeast coastal states. For example, the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains reaches into the northeast corner of the state. As the mountainous elevations decrease, the Piedmont appears in the eastern and central areas of the state. The coastal plains represents the largest ecoregion and extends from the south through much of the central part of the state. The northwest corner of the state is mostly a plateau with the Tennessee River a primary influence. Some of the areas right around the coastal Mobile get labeled as swamp.
Each of the general regions support some similar and different fauna and flora. For example, the butterfly atlas of the state points out that some butterflies are suited to the mountains and piedmont, while other butterflies are suited for the coastal plains. This brief introduction to Alabama wildlife focuses oh native herp populations and flower populations to highlight the ecoregion approach to native wildlife. It’s supplemented by additional detailed information covering a variety of wildlife topics. Please press a button at the bottom of the page for more pictures and identification tips.
Alabama Wildlife: Herps
The warmer Gulf Coast climate extends the wildlife season for many species as well as providing support for wildlife diversity. Alabama, like many Golf Coast states rank as the top of the list for all states in amphibian and reptile diversity. Two recent salamander surveys:
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Conecuh National Forest – southern border
- Amphibians and Reptiles of Bankhead National Forest – close to the northern border
- Marbled Salamander
- Tiger Salamander
- Southern Two-lined Salamander
- Spotted Dusky Salamander
- Eastern Newt
- Red Salamander
The top picture shows a Marbled Salamander. The picture immediately above shows an Eastern Tiger Salamander. Herp diversity brings out the best in Alabama naturalists. For example, Inaturalist hosts a very popular Alabama herps section. Over six thousand observers have photographed and documented two hundred and thirty species. The search for new species continues. In fact, as recently at 2022, a new salamander species has been formally documented in the state,
Source: A new, narrowly endemic species of swamp-dwelling dusky salamander (Plethodontidae: Desmognathus) from the Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi and Alabama. Zootaxa 5133 (1) 2022.
Frog populations show similar patterns. Most of the native frogs and toads still follow a seasonal life style with a winter break. A handful of frogs and toads do have a year round presence in the state. Two species, The Southern Leopard Frog and Spring Peeper can be found year round in every county of Alabama. The remaining year round residents have a more limited range, either north or in the coastal plain region. The picture shows a Spring Peeper.
Alabama wildflowers also follow the general ecosystem pattern with some species region specific and other species suited to a variety of regions. Virginia Spiderworts, a native plant of much of the Eastern United States grows in most areas of the state and is a popular plant in local plant nurseries.
Red Spider Lilies, native plants can also be easily adapted to most ecosystems in the state.
The Whitetop picher Plant, on the other hand is native to the southern regions of the coastal plain. According to the Alabama plant atlas,
Whitetop Pitcher Plant is a native herbaceous perennial in the Pitcher-Plant family (Sarraceniaceae). It is native to the southern third of Alabama. Whitetop Pitcher Plant occurs in bogs, along streams, in seeps, in low pine woods, and on roadsides.