SPECIES ID / Amphibians

Salamanders and Newts (Caudatans)

Western Red-backed Salamander


Plethodon vehiculum

Identification Tips:

• Continuous, broad stripe down back is usually red/orange, but may be yellowish or tan or even absent
• 14 to 18 grooves visible between ribs (usually 16)
• 80 to 115 mm long, half of which is tail
• Head long, with parallel sides, rounded snout
• Eyes protruding and well forward.

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Not at Risk (Yellow List)Not at RiskNoneG5, S4

Life History:

• A lungless salamander that breathes through its skin and the lining of the mouth
• May live for more than 10 years
• Feed on a variety of terrestrial invertebrates
• Nocturnal
• Females lay about 10 eggs in moist location on land in spring and brood them over summer
• Females do not breed every year
• Young emerge from nest in fall rains when 20 to 30 mm long and mature in 2 years.
• Active above ground from March to June and from September to November


• Entirely terrestrial, but often in riparian areas
• Rarely range more than a few meters
• Under rocks, logs and leaf litter of humid coniferous forests
• Damp talus and shaded ravines
• From sea level to 1250 m


British Columbia
• Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley, and mountains to north of it; Lillooet River to Pemberton

• West side of Coast and Cascade Mountains from southwestern British Columbia to southwestern California

Primary Information Sources:
 Efauna BC: http://ibis.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/efauna/
 BC Conservation Data Centre: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/eswp/