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Southern Ravine Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon richmondi

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 5.6 inches

Distribution: Occurs west/southwest of the New River and in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. As its common name implies, this species inhabits forested ravines and hillsides and is strongly associated with rocky habitats.

Identifying Characteristics

An elongated salamander with relatively short legs. The tail of adults makes up about 50% of the total body length. Back is dark brown to black with varying amounts of white or brassy flecks. Belly is uniformly dark with light flecks on the throat.

Did You Know?

Ravine Salamanders will avoid an area if a Ring-Necked Snake is detected, which is a major predator.

Role in the Web of Life

Surface activity peaks in the spring and fall with individuals retiring to underground retreats during the hottest summer months. Mating occurs between November and May with females producing between 5–15 eggs in late spring. Hatching occurs in late summer or early fall. When uncovered, adults may assume a coiled position and lay motionless to avoid detection.

Conservation

Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021