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Amphibians of Washington

Van Dyke Salamander 
(Plethodon vandykei)


What they look like

  • 4.5- 10cm
  • Have large paratoid glands behind their eyes.
  • Three different color variants exist: yellow/orange; rose/salmon; or yellow striped with dark colored sides (usually black)
  • Chins are generally lighter in color.

Where they live

  • Are only found in Washington State in the Olympic Mountains, southern Cascade Mountains and Willapa Hills area.
  • Prefer the sides of streams under rocks and rotting logs in mountain forests
  • Can be found in open unforested areas if sufficiently damp and are common in cave openings under rocks.


  • Breeding season and egg laying is in Spring and eggs usually hatch by fall.
  • Female guards the eggs until hatching.
  • Do not have an aquatic larval stage; they hatch straight unto small fully formed salamanders.

Cool Biology Facts

  • The color differences might be associated to different levels of elevation and temperature.
  • Live in scattered isolated populations


Distribution Map


They are extremely sensitive to habitat changes due to logging. They currently are in two protected areas: Olympic National Park and Mt. St. Helens National Monument.