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Amphibians of Washington


Plethodon vehiculum, Western red-backed salamander

Description. This is a medium-sized salamander (up to 10 cm total length) that has an even-edged red or yellow stripe along the back and dark sides.

Distribution (GAP Analysis map) Western red-backed salamanders occur from British Columbia southward to southern Oregon. In Washington, they occur throughout the forests west of the cascades at low to mid elevations.

Habitat. These salamanders are common under rocks and fallen wood along stream banks and in shady forests.

Cool Biology Facts. Western red-backed salamanders don't move around much. They have small home-ranges of only a few square meters, but do not appear to defend territory from other individuals.

Conservation status. These salamanders are moderately common throughout western Washington and appear not to need special conservation measures at this time.

Plethodon vehiculum, Western red-backed salamander
Plethodon vehiculum, Western red-backed salamander
Photo by Brad Moon