Visit our new website

Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Plethodon vehiculum
Western Red-backed Salamander / Salamandre à dos rayé


Western Red-backed Salamander
© www.rieo.net/amph/saramand/pleth/pleth/vehiculum.htm

Description
The Western Red-backed Salamander is a long slender dark brown or black salamander with a red, yellow, green or tan stripe. This stripe is usually well defined and even-edged although it is absent in some individuals. A few individuals lack the dark colouation and are all red, yellow, green or tan. The belly has salt and pepper flecking.

Confusing Species
The Eastern Red-backed Salamander is almost identical but has black and white mottling on the belly rather than flecking. It is restricted to eastern North America. The Coeur d'Alene salamander is also very similar but has a scallop-edged stripe and a yellow throat.

Distribution
In Canada the Western Red-backed Salamander is found on Vancouver Island and the extreme southwestern mainland of British Columbia. The distribution continues south along the western edge of Oregon and Washington.

Habitat
The Western Red-backed Salamander is found in a variety of moist habitats within its range including rock slides, ravines, and forests. It ranges from near sea level up to 1,250 m.

Reproduction
Breeding occurs in November and December and eggs are laid in April or May. About 10 eggs are laid under cover on land. Hatchlings resemble the parents and mature in about two years.

Natural History
This is a terrestrial salamander that is commonly found under stones, logs and debris on the forest floor. It lives below ground during dry periods in late summer.

Conservation Concerns
This species is considered not at risk.