Other Amphibian of the Week

Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)

by Leif Van Laar

Common Name: Red Salamander
Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber
Family: Plethodontidae
Location: United States of America: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
Size: 7 inches or 180 mm

The Red Salamander is found in the eastern half of the United States. They are a member of the family Plethodontidae – the Lungless Salamanders, so they don’t have lungs. There are four subspecies of Ruber Salamanders: Northern Red Salamander (P. r. ruber), Blue Ridge Red Salamander (P. r. nitidus), Black-chinned Salamander (P. r. schencki), and Southern Red Salamander (P. r. vioscai).

The Red Salamander is not poisonous but the red color might be a form of mimicry. The Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) in it’s Eft phase (eft is a phase of the newt’s life where it’s not a mature adult but not a larva) is poisonous and found in the range. The Salamander hopes it’s predator confuses it with the newt. Other’s think that the coloration is a warning because the salamander tastes bad.



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