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Dixie Caverns Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon dixi

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 6.5 inches

Distribution: Originally described from the Dixie Caverns system in Roanoke County, the only other confirmed locality is from Mason Creek, also in Roanoke County. In the caverns, they can be common on the walls and in crevasses. Additional surveys are warranted to delineate species range and habitat selection.

Identifying Characteristics

A slender body with a dark gray to black back heavily covered with gold to brassy flecks, often so dense as to create a broad irregular stripe. Numerous small white spots are found on the back and sides. Belly is gray. There is more webbing on the hind feet than typical in the genus.

Did You Know?

This species was first described in 1949, placed within Wehrle’s Salamander in 1962, and reconfirmed in 2018 using molecular data from DNA analysis.

Role in the Web of Life

Little is known of the behavior of this species because access to the caverns is limited, and no studies have been performed.

Conservation

Because of its recent recognition, this species has not yet been given a federal or state conservation status.

Last updated: February 22, 2021