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Big Levels Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon sherando

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

  • Because it is extremely range restricted and vulnerable to stochastic events, NatureServe lists it as G2 - Imperiled. IUCN lists it as Vulnerable.

Size: Up to 5 inches

Distribution: This species is endemic to Virginia and is only found on Bald Mountain in Augusta County. They inhabit hardwood and pine-hardwood forests at elevations between 1,900 and 3,600 feet.

Identifying Characteristics

Similar in appearance to the Red-backed Salamander, but with a wider head and longer limbs. The body is dark gray to black with small white flecks on the sides. Belly usually has more white than black and the stripe on the back often has less red than the Red-backed Salamander. Striped and unstriped phases both occur.

Did You Know?

This species wasn’t described until 2004. For a long time it was misidentified as a Red-backed Salamander.

Role in the Web of Life

Active throughout the year, except during extreme periods of drought or cold. Mating occurs between November and March. Females lay 1–14 eggs in the late spring and remain with the clutch until they hatch in August or September. Feeds on a variety of invertebrates.

Conservation

Because it is extremely range restricted and vulnerable to stochastic events, NatureServe lists it as G2 – Imperiled. IUCN lists it as Vulnerable.

Last updated: February 22, 2021