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Peaks of Otter Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon hubrichti

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 5 inches

Distribution: This species is endemic to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in Rockbridge, Bedford, and Botetourt counties. They occur in mature hardwood forests with densities peaking at elevations between 2,950 and 3,600 ft.

Identifying Characteristics

The body is uniformly dark brown to black with variable brassy flecks on the back that look like moss. Sides may have small spots. Belly is dark brown to gray.

Did You Know?

While female Peaks of Otter Salamanders at higher elevations will only reproduce biennially, females at lower elevations will reproduce annually.

Role in the Web of Life

Surface activity peaks on warm rainy or humid nights with only about 3–5% of the population typically active. They forage on a variety of invertebrates, and are occasionally found climbing trees. Home range is only a few square feet. Females deposit 1–12 eggs in June and remain with their clutch until hatching occurs in August or September.

Conservation

Tier I Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan. A 1994 Conservation Agreement protects this species and its habitat.

Last updated: February 22, 2021