White-Spotted Slimy Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Plethodon cylindraceus

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 8 inches

Distribution: Found almost statewide except for extreme southeastern and southwestern Virginia, Eastern Shore, and counties along the western side of the Chesapeake Bay. Slimy salamanders inhabit a variety of moist forested habitats.

Identifying Characteristics

The body is bluish to black with white to yellow spots on the back, tail, and sides. Chin is light colored. Belly is grayish black. Coastal Plain variation has relatively small spots on the back and yellowish spotting on the sides.

Did You Know?

Slimy salamanders receive their common name from the sticky skin secretions they excrete as a deterrent to predators.

Role in the Web of Life

Activity can be year-round except during periods of extreme drought or cold. Mating peaks in the fall, but may also occur in the spring. After initial contact with a female, a male will begin courting the female by performing a “foot dance” in which he alternately or simultaneously raises and lowers his rear limbs. Females reproduce every other year and deposit 17–33 eggs, which hatch about 2 months later.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021