Description: Plethodon websteri is a small
woodland salamander, reaching 2.75-3.2 in (7.0-8.2 cm). This salamander
is distinguished by a wavy dorsal stripe that varies from reddish
to yellowish in color. The venter is characterized by mottled
orange or reddish pigment. Males can be identified by a swollen
cloaca. This species looks very similar to the Southern Redback
Salamander (Plethodon serratus). In most areas, these species
can be distinguished by range, however, where their ranges overlap
in western Georgia, P. serratus has a more strait dorsal
stripe (but will with serrated edges), while the stripe of P.
websteri is more jagged.
Range and Habitat: Webster's Salamander is only found
in scattered locations of the southeastern Piedmont from western
South Carolina to Louisiana. This salamander prefers hardwood-forested
hillsides and is usually found under rocks and logs or in leaf
Habits: Plethodon websteri breeds in early winter
and lay eggs in June or July. There is no aquatic larval stage.
Hatchlings emerge during August or September and reach sexual
maturity within two years. Adult salamanders are only active between
October and May, in order to avoid the extreme heat of summer.
Conservation Status: Plethodon websteri is not
protected in our region, but its small and disjunct range make
it a species vulnerable to habitat destruction.
Semlitsch, R.D. and C.A. West. 1983. Aspects of the life history
and ecology of Webster's salamander, Plethodon websteri.
Account Author: Emily Rogers, University of Georgia -
edited by J.D. Willson