Cave Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Eurycea lucifuga

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 8 inches

Distribution: Cave Salamanders are typically found in limestone caves along the western more montane counties. They can be found on limestone cliffs with cracks serving as retreats, or even on forest floors at some distance from caves.

Identifying Characteristics

Cave Salamanders are large orange to orange-red salamanders with small black spots on the back and sides. The tail can be more than half of the total body length. The head is wider and flatter than in Long-tailed Salamanders, and the legs are longer.

Did You Know?

Vocalization has been documented in many species of salamander including Cave Salamanders and usually coincides with defensive posturing.

Role in the Web of Life

Salamanders inhabiting the forest floor and the twilight areas of caves are nocturnal, hiding by day and foraging at night. Breeding occurs in the summer and early fall. Eggs are rarely encountered, suggesting they are deposited in deep recesses of caves. Those observed are laid singly above or in pools in fall and winter. Larvae may take more than a year to metamorphose.


Species appear to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021