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Woodland Salamanders by Richard Bartlett on 2021-05-03 09:45:00


The brassy and white markings and range of the Tellico Salamander renders it a rather easily identified member of the Slimy Salamander group.

By Dick and Patti Bartlett

This group of salamanders, all of the genus Plethodon, is very aptly named, for not a single one out of the ~47 described species is tied to an aquatic habitat in any manner. To a species they are woodland dwellers that live their lives in woodland settings. Moisture is, of course, as necessary for these salamander’s survival as it is for any and all amphibians, but the moisture is accessed by rainfall, fog, and mists, and for some species, in streamedge situations (but not immersion). These salamanders are small and slender, varying from 3 ½”, (Red-backed, Peaks of Otter, and many others) to the nearly 9” of Yonahlossee and Bat Cave Salamanders).

All are oviparous, their egg clutches being laid in decaying logs, beneath rocks, or other such moisture holding situations including burrows. There is no aquatic larval stage, the young emerging from the egg- capsules as miniatures of the adults.

While some Woodland Salamanders are easy to identify, others are difficult. This is especially so of the 13 species that comprise the Slimy Salamander group. Some of these latter are identifiable only by locale or genetic studies.

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