Larch Mountain Salamander

October 23, 2015
Heidi Rockney and Karen Wu
Larch Mountain Salamander

Larch Mountain Salamander. 
Photo: Rory Telemeco

Name: Larch Mountain Salamander (Plethodon larselli)
Order: Salamanders (Caudata)
Family: Lungless Salamanders (Plethodontidae)

What they look like

  • 4-10cm
  • Dark brown or black with a back stripe that is tan, reddish or can even be yellow.
  • Stripe often has dark spots down the center, but can have them along the edges of the stripe.
  • Sides are speckled with light colors.
  • Underside is pink/orange or reddish getting brighter on the underside of the tail with small black specks.
  • Bottom of their feet is red and their toes are slightly webbed.

Where they live

  • View a map of where they live.
  • Are found in southern Washington in the Cascade Mountains, and the Columbia river gorge area up to Snoqualmie Pass.
  • Likes steep mossy talus slopes with smallish rocks in forested areas, but can be found in open clearings under logs.


  • Breeding season is spring and fall.
  • Eggs are most likely laid in underground dens, although none have been found to date.
  • Do not have an aquatic larval stage, hatch directly into small salamanders. 

Cool Biology Facts

  • During winter and summer seasons, they will hide deep beneath the layers of talus slopes.
  • Are very rare and more affected by habitat disruption than many other salamander species.


  • A main threat is habitat destruction. Because they have very specific habitats (talus slopes), often disturbances to these areas like gravel collecting can completely wipe out small isolated local populations. View their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Distribution map.

Map of Larch Mountain 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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