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Amphibians of Washington

Larch Mountain Salamander 
(Plethodon larselli)


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

  • 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 known 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


Distribution Map


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.