Northern Red Salamander
Pseudotriton ruber ruber

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                                                                  photo by Zach Felix

Species DescriptionThis is a rather stocky plump salamander, reaching upwards of 6 inches as adults.  Young specimens, such as the one pictured above, are generally a brilliant coral, or crimson red with black spots.  As individuals age the bright red becomes darker and black spots become bigger and run together.  The iris of the red salamander's eye is yellow, compared with the brown iris of the similar mud salamander.

HabitatThis is a streamside salamander that resides in a variety of streams ranging from open to wooded.  A very good place to find this gem is in springs and seeps with tons of moss and rocks to hide under.  Red salamanders seem to have a definite seasonal pattern of habitat use.  During the spring and summer the adults are usually found in terrestrial situations such as woods or open fields under cover objects.  Beginning in late fall the adults return to streams, springs and seeps and reside here until through the winter.

Breeding ActivityRed salamanders in West Virginia likely mate during the summer and fall and eggs are depostied in the fall.  Egg clutches have been found under rocks buried below the stream surface and hatch within 8 or 10 weeks.  Larval red salamanders reside in streams, often in silty areas, from 2-3 years before transforming.

RangeRed salamanders are distributed throughout West Virginia.

CommentsAlthough evidence is anecdotal, some biologists believe this species in not nearly as common as it was in the past.

Status: Not listed.