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Red Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 7.1 inches

Identifying Characteristics

A large salamander with a stout, reddish-orange body. The sides and back have numerous irregularly shaped black spots. Belly varies from pink to red with adults having black spots. Eyes are a yellow to golden color.


Two subspecies of Red Salamander occur in Virginia; the Northern Red Salamander (P. r. ruber) and the Blue Ridge Red Salamander (P. r. nitidus). The former occurs throughout much of the Commonwealth, except in extreme southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. The latter occurs in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, ,where the ranges of the two subspecies meet in the Mt. Rogers area. They occupy a variety of wetlands from spring seeps and bogs to stream headwaters. During the spring and summer months they can often be found in upland areas under moist rotting logs.

Did You Know?

The bright red coloration is believed to mimic the toxic red eft stage of the Red-spotted Newt.

Role in the Web of Life

Females lay eggs in the fall or winter in streams or other aquatic habitats with clutch sizes ranging up to 130 eggs. The aquatic larvae undergo metamorphosis 27–31 months after hatching and generally reach sexual maturity in 4 years. These large salamanders often prey on smaller salamanders.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: January 19, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.