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Amphibians of Washington


Plethodon larselli, Larch Mountain salamander

Description. This is a small to medium sized salamander (up to10 cm total length) that is brown with small whitish flecks on the sides, and has a broad reddish or yellowish dorsal stripe; the belly is red or salmon-pink.

Distribution (GAP Analysis map) The Larch Mountain salamander occurs in the Cascade Mountains of southern Washington and northern Oregon. In Washington, it occurs from the Columbia River Gorge to just north of Snoqualmie Pass.

Habitat. These salamanders live in shady, moss-covered talus slopes and in cave entrances at low to mid elevations.

Cool Biology Facts. Larch Mountain salamanders are most common on mossy talus slopes, but also occur in other habitats. They are active during the spring and fall, but retreat deep into the talus during the summer and winter.

Conservation status. These salmanders occur in patches of appropriate habitat, and appear to be very sensitive to availability of cool, moist, shady talus habitats. Disturbance of these habitats can cause local extinction of populations.

Plethodon larselli, Larch Mountain salamander
Plethodon larselli, Larch Mountain salamander
Photo by Brad Moon