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cave salamander

(Eurycea lucifuga)


This reddish salamander is 4 to 6 inches in length and has a long tail. The color ranges from yellowish to red. The back and sides of the head, trunk, and tail have many small, irregular or rounded black spots, rarely in a dorso-lateral linear series. The belly is light yellow. The young are paler and yellowish with the hatchlings sparsely pigmented and only 10 mm long. They have a prehensile tail.


This species is found in and among caves in the western part of Virginia. It is virtually restricted to limestone regions and partial to area just inside the entrance to caves. It is frequently found under logs, stones, and rubbish in damp situations outside of caves. Many observations have been recorded west of the Blue Ridge, especially in the karst regions of the southwest part of Virginia.


This species eats any insect or any other animal that falls within the proper size range.