southern ravine salamander

(Plethodon richmondi)


This is a slender, elongated salamander with short legs. The dark body is covered with minute silvery-white and bronze flecks. The belly is dark and the throat is somewhat lighter and mottled. Adults reach 7.5-14.5 cm total length. The tail makes up about 50% of the length. Courtship occurs in spring, and the eggs laid in damp logs and moss in early summer. There are 2-4 hatchlings per clutch. The female requires nearly 2 years to form a new egg complement following egg deposition. This species is most active above ground during spring and autumn, retreating to underground areas in hot weather.


This salamander inhabits ravines and wooded hillsides in deciduous forests in southwest Virginia. It is found in high, moist woodlands and exhibits a marked preference for rocky outcroppings, talus slopes, and wooded slopes with large rocks.


Ants are the main food item. They also take adult and immature terrestrial insects, terrestrial worms, and other terrestrial invertebrates.