Cumberland Plateau salamander

(Plethodon kentucki)


This is a large salamander which is black with small white spots on the back and larger spots along the sides. It is very similar in appearance to Plethodon glutinosus, except that it is smaller, has fewer and smaller spots on its back, and a lighter throat. It reaches lengths of 4-7 in. (10-17 cm). Like other Plethodontid salamanders, this species has a rather involved courtship sequence. The female guards the eggs and stays with the young for several weeks after hatching. The young are terrestrial and stay in underground burrows for the first 8-9 months after hatching.


This species is found in forests of the Cumberland Plateau of southwestern Virginia. It is found under rocks, logs, and leaf litter, and occasionally in crevices in rock outcrops.


Adults forage on wet nights on the forest floor for invertebrate prey.