Plethodon cinereus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae

Scientific Name: Plethodon cinereus
Species Authority: (Green, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Eastern Red-backed Salamander, Redback Salamander
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).
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: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A., Garcia Moreno, J. & Pelletier, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garcia Moreno, J. & Hobin, L.
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and localities, large population size, and use of a wide range of habitats.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2014 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Range includes eastern North America (USA and Canada), from Minnesota and western Ontario to southern Quebec and Newfoundland, south to North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Elevational range extends from sea level to at least 1,463 m asl (West Virginia).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec); United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1463
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is an extremely abundant species, with a stable population. Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds many millions of individuals. Thousands of localities are known.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

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 the 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: This species is exported from USA to Canada as part of the international pet trade, although this does not constitute a major threat.

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

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Plethodon cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59334A78907687. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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