Plethodon cinereus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
Species Authority: (Green, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Redback Salamander
Taxonomic Notes: Some published literature on this species actually pertains to Plethodon serratus, which was given species status in mid-1970s.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-02-28
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Angulo, A.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A., Garcia Moreno, J. & Pelletier, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garcia Moreno, J.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification and presumed large population.
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in North America in Minnesota and western Ontario to southern Quebec through to Nova Scotia, south to North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998).
Canada; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is an extremely abundant species. Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds many millions of individuals. Thousands of localities are known.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found in damp microhabitats in wooded areas; inside logs, under leaf-litter, or under surface objects during day. Goes underground during freezing or hot, dry weather. In New York, it tended to be absent where soil pH was less than 3.8; much more abundant in beech forest than in hemlock forest (Wyman 1988, Wyman and Jancola 1992, Frisbie and Wyman 1992). It occurs in altered habitats where damp microhabitats remain, such as in urban and suburban gardens. It lays eggs in cavities in logs or stumps or under rock or other objects on ground, where they develop directly without a larval stage.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Intensive timber harvest causes major declines in abundance (deMaynadier and Hunter 1995). Negative impacts of intensive timber harvesting extend at least 25-35 m into uncut forest (deMaynadier and Hunter 1998). Roads negatively impact salamander abundance in roadside habitat and might serve as partial barriers to movement (deMaynadier and Hunter 2000). Animals have been exported from the United States to Canada as part of the international pet trade. However, none of these factors pose serious threats to the global population, and the species can adapt to certain modified habitats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation measures are needed. It occurs in many protected areas.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Plethodon cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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