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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 8:06 EDT

Red-backed Salamander

The Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus), or 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. salamander. It is also known as the Northern Redback Salamander to distinguish it from the Southern Redback Salamander (P. serratus).

The Red-backed Salamander is found mostly in two color variations: the nominate red variety, ‘redback’, as well as a darker phase known as the ‘leadback’ which lacks most or all of the red pigmentation found in the red phase. However, one can also find a variety of other color variations (e.g., stripe of yellow, orange, or white).

Males and females typically establish separate feeding and/or mating territories underneath rocks and logs. However, some Red-backed Salamanders are thought to engage in social monogamy, and may maintain co-defended territories throughout their active period. Breeding occurs in June and July. Females produce from 4 to 17 eggs in a year. The eggs will hatch in 6 to 8 weeks. Not much is known about the dispersal of neonates, although it is thought that neonates and juveniles are philopatric (stay near their place of hatching for up to 2 years).

Red-backed Salamander