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Valley And Ridge Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon hoffmani

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 5.4 inches

Distribution: Primarily found in forested habitats of the Northern Ridge and Valley ecoregion from Frederick County south to Russell and Washington counties.

Identifying Characteristics

This is an elongated salamander with short legs. The body is brown to brownish black with numerous small whitish specks with a tail that is more than 50% of the total length. Throat is white and the belly is black with a mottled white and brown pattern. A rare striped morph occurs in the Reddish Knob and Shenandoah Mountain region.

Did You Know?

The large tail serves for fat storage providing a source of energy while they are underground.

Role in the Web of Life

Mostly active in the spring and fall months with only a small portion of the population occurring above ground. Mating occurs primarily in the spring with a secondary event in the fall. Females deposit 3-8 eggs. Hatching occurs in August or September, but hatchlings do not emerge from underground retreats until the following spring. Adults eat a wide variety of invertebrates.

Conservation

Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021