Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Cumberland Plateau Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon kentucki

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 6.5 inches

Distribution: In Virginia, this species is only found in extreme southwestern Virginia. Primarily occupies cool, moist forests, but is occasionally found in rock crevices and outcrops.

Identifying Characteristics

Very similar in appearance to the Northern Slimy Salamander. The body is black with small white spots on the back and larger white spots on the sides. The belly is uniformly slate gray. Chin and throat are light gray. Location is a huge help in identifying this species from the various slimy salamanders.

Did You Know?

The genome (an organism’s complete set of DNA) of a salamander can be as much as ten times larger than a human’s.

Role in the Web of Life

Like other woodland salamanders, mating probably occurs primarily in the fall with females depositing 9 to 12 eggs the following summer. Hatchlings emerge approximately 2 months later. Males sexually mature in 3–4 years with females producing their first clutches of eggs at 4–5 years of age. Adults and juveniles feed on a wide variety of invertebrates.

Conservation

Tier IV Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Last updated: February 22, 2021