Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 3 - 5 inches
Range: Area around Peaks of Otter
Status: Tier II
In Virginia, there are a few salamander species we consider “endemic”. This means they are found in Virginia, and only in Virginia. One of these species is the Peaks of Otter Salamander. This species is only found in a small area around Peaks of Otter and Apple Orchard Slope. It lives in hardwood forest over 1,800 feet in elevation. Here, this species can be found under rocks and logs, where it typically out competes the otherwise abundant Eastern Red-backed Salamander.
The Peaks of Otter Salamander is black on the dorsal and venter, with various amounts and shades of gold flecking on the dorsal. This is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful salamanders in the state.
Similar Species: Though there are several similar species, only the Eastern Red-backed Salamander can be found in that region. The Red-backed Salamander has a salt-n-pepper belly and flanks.
Maps and External Sources
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.