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Lead-backed Salamander - Plethodon cinereus This salamander was so fast! I only got a couple quick shots before it disappeared. <br />
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Plethodon cinereus exhibits color polymorphism with two common color variations - the &#039;red-backed&#039; variety has a red dorsal stripe that tapers towards the tail and the &#039;lead-backed&#039; variety lacks most or all of the red pigmentation. This spotting shows the lead-backed variety.<br />
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Habitat: Along the edge of a bog<br />
<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/76947/lead-backed_salamander_-_plethodon_cinereus.html" title="Lead-backed Salamander - Plethodon cinereus"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/3232/76947_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1569456010&Signature=Gx83yGgd4k04rAc%2Bm0GSuDLmHhs%3D" width="118" height="152" alt="Lead-backed Salamander - Plethodon cinereus This salamander was so fast! I only got a couple quick shots before it disappeared. <br />
<br />
Plethodon cinereus exhibits color polymorphism with two common color variations - the &#039;red-backed&#039; variety has a red dorsal stripe that tapers towards the tail and the &#039;lead-backed&#039; variety lacks most or all of the red pigmentation. This spotting shows the lead-backed variety.<br />
<br />
Habitat: Along the edge of a bog<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/76948/lead-backed_salamander_-_plethodon_cinereus.html Geotagged,Plethodon cinereus,Red-backed salamander,Spring,United States,salamander" /></a></figure> Geotagged,Plethodon cinereus,Red- backed salamander,Spring,United States Click/tap to enlarge Promoted

Lead-backed Salamander - Plethodon cinereus

This salamander was so fast! I only got a couple quick shots before it disappeared.

Plethodon cinereus exhibits color polymorphism with two common color variations - the 'red-backed' variety has a red dorsal stripe that tapers towards the tail and the 'lead-backed' variety lacks most or all of the red pigmentation. This spotting shows the lead-backed variety.

Habitat: Along the edge of a bog

Lead-backed Salamander - Plethodon cinereus This salamander was so fast! I only got a couple quick shots before it disappeared. <br />
<br />
Plethodon cinereus exhibits color polymorphism with two common color variations - the 'red-backed' variety has a red dorsal stripe that tapers towards the tail and the 'lead-backed' variety lacks most or all of the red pigmentation. This spotting shows the lead-backed variety.<br />
<br />
Habitat: Along the edge of a bog<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/76948/lead-backed_salamander_-_plethodon_cinereus.html Geotagged,Plethodon cinereus,Red-backed salamander,Spring,United States,salamander

    comments (8)

  1. This salamander species is native to MN but in all my years here I've only seen it twice. One time I saw the red-backed form crossing a footpath near Lake Superior on a humid early morning. Posted 4 months ago
    1. Interesting! It's the second most common salamander that I see. When I first saw this one, I was desperately hoping that it was Ambystoma jeffersonianum, which I've never seen. But, no such luck...yet!

      The most common salamander that I find:
      Eastern Newt (Red Eft) - Notophthalmus viridescens Red efts have bright orange aposematic coloring, with darker, reddish spots outlined in black. This stage can last up to 4 years on land, during which time efts may travel far, which ensures outcrossing in the population. Efts eat small insects, snails, and other small arthropods. During winter, they hibernate under logs or rocks.<br />
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Habitat: Spotted in a mixed forest.<br />
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/67360/eastern_newt_red_eft_-_notophthalmus_viridescens.html Eastern newt,Fall,Geotagged,Notophthalmus viridescens,United States,newt,red eft,salamander

      I find them everywhere in summer. I rarely see any other species.
      Posted 4 months ago
      1. We're near those species range limits here but I suspect they are little more common in southern MN. Also, I think the coniferous forest is probably not their favorite habitat. One I'm looking for every year is the Four-toed Salamander. It's rare but is known from my area of the state. I check mossy ground near swamps which is where they lay their eggs. Maybe I'll find it this year? Posted 4 months ago
        1. I've only found the four-toed salamander once, and it was overwintering under garbage:
          Four-toed Salamander Imagine my surprise when I went to pick up a plastic garbage bag while hiking in a relatively remote forest and found this gorgeous, white-bellied salamander overwintering underneath it. I thought this salamander deserved a better spot to overwinter, so I gently placed it under a rotting log that I found less than a foot away from the plastic bag.<br />
<br />
 Four-toed salamanders have a porcelain white belly with small, black spots scattered about the venter. The dorsal surface is brown-yellow. They have unique four-toed feet. Also, at the base of their tail, they have an obvious constriction where it can detach and then be regenerated. This detachment is voluntarily, which is another unique feature of this salamander since most salamanders must be grasped in order for their tails to come off. Additionally, when detached, their tails will continue to wiggle, possibly distracting predators. This salamander was 5cm long, and over 50% of that length was it's tail. <br />
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 The four-toed salamander is in a state of decline throughout its range due to its specialized habitat requirements in addition to habitat destruction and degradation. Research has shown that they are very important contributors to nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems, and therefore, they play an important role in the health and balance of forest systems. Finding this beautiful creature under a plastic bag in a remote forest is a sad, yet significant reminder of the extent of the human footprint in nature.  Fall,Four-toed Salamander,Four-toed salamander,Geotagged,Hemidactylium scutatum,United States,salamander


          This is my favorite that I've found so far:
          Spotted Salamander Visually stunning, this stout salamander was bluish-black and had two rows of yellow spots extending from head to tail. It was about 15 cm long (6 in)!  They secrete a milky white toxin when disturbed in order to dissuade predators. As soon as I lifted the rotting log that it was under, it started to secrete the toxin even though it still appeared to be hibernating.<br />
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**I found this salamander under a chunk of rotting wood in a mixed forest. I gently used a leaf to move it onto a piece of the wood so that I could take a couple pictures. Then, I moved it back to its original location. Ambystoma,Ambystoma maculatum,Geotagged,Spotted Salamander,Spotted salamander,Spring,United States,mole salamander,salamander,yellow-spotted salamander


          There are several other species in CT that I've never seen. One that I'm looking for specifically is Gyrinophilus porphyriticus. I'd love to find that one.

          Good point about coniferous forests. I've never thought about that, but I don't think I've ever seen a salamander around conifers. Hmm.

          I hope you find some salamanders this year! I find them in mostly deciduous forests, especially in early-ish morning, after it rains. Also, under rocks or rotting logs near wetland areas.

          Posted 4 months ago
          1. I'll have to check some of the old debris piles around here for Four-toed Salamanders! I have found the Blue-spotted under piles of rotting firewood debris (bark and bits of wood) and once under a sheet of very weathered plywood.

            Ambystoma maculatum is listed in MN and there is a vouchered specimen of it from my county (Carlton). The DNR says it is "Restricted to a few forested areas in eastern Carlton and Pine counties."

            I think I may have seen the larvae of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus in spring-fed streams where I used to live in Derby, CT (that was way back in time in the 1960s).

            It is getting warmer here and soon the vernal ponds will have water in them and maybe Ambystoma salamanders.
            Posted 4 months ago
            1. Good luck in your search! It's such a fun time of year.

              I read that Gyrinophilus porphyriticus can be found in cold streams in NW CT, but they are more rare now, I think. I'm not giving up my search though! I'm guessing they may have been more common in the 60's.
              Posted 4 months ago
              1. There were several different salamander species in the woods behind our house. This larva I used to see there was living in a very cold stream that originated from a spring. It flowed all year and the spring came out from the base of a large rock outcrop. Posted 4 months ago
                1. Sounds amazing! Posted 4 months ago

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The red back salamander is a small, hardy woodland salamander. It inhabits wooded slopes in eastern North America, west to Missouri, south to North Carolina, and north from southern Quebec and the Maritime Provinces in Canada to Minnesota. It is also known as the eastern red-backed salamander or the northern red back salamander to distinguish it from the southern red back salamander .

Similar species: Salamanders
Species identified by Christine Young
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By Christine Young

All rights reserved
Uploaded Apr 3, 2019. Captured Apr 3, 2019 13:23 in 3280 Franklin Ave, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA.
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • f/5.0
  • 1/64s
  • ISO400
  • 100mm