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Weller’s Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon welleri

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 3 inches

Distribution: In Virginia, this species is only known to occur on Mount Rogers, Whitetop, Beech and Pine mountains in southwestern Virginia. It primarily inhabits spruce and fir forests above 5,000 feet, but is occasionally found as low as 2,300 feet.

Identifying Characteristics

The body is dark gray to black with numerous brassy and gold blotches that often form large patches. The belly is black with fine white spots.

Did You Know?

Worth Hamilton Weller was a teenage naturalist who died from a fall on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina while collecting specimens of this previously undescribed species.

Role in the Web of Life

Surface activity occurs primarily between April and October on rainy or humid nights when they can be found foraging for small invertebrates. Mating occurs in the spring and fall. Females deposit 5-10 eggs under conifer logs in May or June. For most individuals, sexual maturity occurs at 3 years of age. Weller’s Salamanders are known to produce noxious skin secretions to deter predators, but it is harmless to humans.

Conservation

Tier I Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan.

Last updated: February 22, 2021