Dunn's Salamander

Dunn's Salamander

October 23, 2015
Heidi Rockney and Karen Wu
Dunn's Salamander

Dunn's Salamander. 
Photo: Rory Telemeco

Name: Dunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Lungless Salamanders (Plethodontidae)

What they look like

  • 5-8cm
  • Dark brown or black on their backs with tannish spots and small white specks.
  • Have a yellowish/greenish or brown stripe along their backs that stops before the end of their tail.
  • Underside is dark and can have lightest spots
  • Tops of their legs are lighter colored, usually yellow.

Where they live

  • View a map of where they live.
  • They are found in Southwestern region of Washington state.
  • Most often found under rocks in wet shaded areas on the edges of streams in forests.


  • Breeding season is spring and early summer.
  • Eggs are laid in underground lairs and protected by the females.
  • There is no larval stage, the eggs hatch into tiny fully formed salamanders.
  • Young Dunn’s usually have brighter markings than adults and the stripe on their back may reach the end of the tail.

Cool Biology Facts

  • Male has two small lobes near its vent and a large mental gland on their chin that is used during courtship for the release of chemical cues.
  • Do not have lungs and breathe only through their skin.
  • Larvae do not have gills and are exclusively terrestrial.
  • When disturbed they will either rapidly scurry away or sometimes will become completely motionless to avoid being seen.


Distribution map.

Map of Dunn's Salamander distribution in Washington state. Learn more on the NatureMapping Foundation website

Explore more of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Washington or check out All About Amphibians.

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