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Cow Knob Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon punctatus

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 6.2 inches

Distribution: Range is limited to north facing slopes on Shenandoah and Great North mountains in Virginia and West Virginia at elevations above 3,000 feet in mature hardwood forests.

Identifying Characteristics

The body is uniformly dark brown with irregular shaped white to cream spots, which are more abundant on the sides. Belly is pale gray, except for the throat, which is usually pink. Similar in appearance to the White-spotted Slimy Salamander, but more slender in appearance and more prominent eyes.

Did You Know?

Many plethodonid salamanders will aggressively defend their territories from adults of the same sex.

Role in the Web of Life

Movement is limited to less than 6 feet, except during the mating season which occurs in late August to early September. Not much else is known about their reproductive ecology, but it is most likely similar to other woodland salamanders.

Conservation

Tier I Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan. A 1994 Conservation Agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protects this species and its habitat.

Last updated: February 22, 2021