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Red Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 7.1 inches

Distribution: 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.

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.

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.

Conservation

Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021