Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Western Redback Salamander

>>>>Western Redback Salamander

Western Redback Salamander

Western Redback Salamander, Plethodon vehiculum

Western Redback Salamander, Plethodon vehiculum, can be found under decaying logs, in sword fern bases, within the litter layer, and in other moist locations on the forest floor. It is a small slender salamander with total length, with tail, up to about 115 mm (adult body length: 40 – 55 mm). A broad reddish, orange, or greenish stripe with well-defined edges runs along the mid-back to the tip of the tail. The sides are black or dark grey, grading into lighter grey with white flecking on the underside. Very dark, melanistic individuals with no distinct stripe are sometimes found.  The tail is rounded, rather than keeled, in cross-section. Eggs are well hidden in moist sheltered locations on the forest floor and are seldom found. They are yellowish-cream, 4–5 mm in diameter, and occur in grape-like clusters of 7–11 eggs, attached to the nesting chamber by a broad gelatinous base. Eggs are best identified by the presence of the female, often curled around the eggs. Terrestrial young occupy similar habitats as adults on the forest floor; there is no aquatic larval stage. Hatchlings are small, about 20 mm in total length, and very slender, almost insect-like in appearance.