Larch Mountain Salamander

Photo: Rory Telemeco
Photo: Rory Telemeco

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.

All About Amphibians

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

Fast Facts

Where they live

  • View a map of where they live.
  • Larch Mountain Salamanders 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.
small brown salamander on bright green vegetation

Amphibians & Reptiles of Washington

Do you know where rattlesnakes live in our state? Or which salamander breathes through its skin? Explore the fascinating diversity of the 26 species of amphibians and 28 reptiles found in Washington state.