Plethodon websteri


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Plethodon websteri
Species Authority: Highton, 1979
Common Name/s:
English Webster's Salamander
Taxonomic Notes: This species was formerly confused with Plethodon ventralis (formerly a form of P. dorsalis); the two species are morphologically similar but genetically distinct (Highton 1986).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor/s: Geoffrey Hammerson, David Beamer
Reviewer/s: Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its relatively wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in east-central Alabama and adjacent Georgia, with scattered, isolated populations in western South Carolina (Greenwood, Edgefield, and McCormick counties), southwestern Alabama, southern Louisiana, and Mississippi, USA (Conant and Collins 1991, Highton 1986, Dundee and Rossman 1989, Herp Rev. 22:62; Petranka 1998). Occupies less than 4 hectares in Louisiana (S. Shively pers. comm., 1997). One documented site in excellent condition in Louisiana (S. Shively pers. comm., 1997). Four sites mapped in Georgia, based on publication "Distribution of Amphibians and Reptiles in Georgia" (R. MacBeth pers. comm., 1997). In Alabama, an estimated 101+ extant occurrences; difficult to distinguish from P. ventralis (formerly a form of P. dorsalis) and the two species' distributions overlap; this might result in an overestimate of population numbers; condition of populations estimated to be 30% excellent, 20% good, 20% fair, and 30% poor (M. Bailey pers. comm., 1997). Thirty-nine occurrences from 1980-1995 documented in South Carolina; estimated 21-100 extant occurrences; extensively surveyed in the mid-1980s (S. Bennett pers. comm., 1997).
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Total adult population size is unknown but probably greatly exceeds 10,000. Possibly extremely abundant in Alabama; it might be confused with P. ventralis (formerly a form of P. dorsalis), resulting in an overestimate of abundance (M. Bailey pers. comm., 1997). It is stable in Louisiana and South Carolina (S. Bennett and S. Shively pers. comm., 1997). Possibly declining due to loss of habitat in Alabama (M. Bailey pers. comm., 1997).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found in the mesophytic forest (maple, hickory, oak, poplar, and elm) bordering rocky feeder streams; under logs, bark, and leaf-litter on forest floor and along rocky streambeds. It is also found in moist forest on steep north-facing slopes with rock outcrops. It is a terrestrial breeder with direct development in the same habitats. It tolerates some level of disturbance because it persists in second growth forest throughout much of its range.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Deforestation and the conversion of deciduous forest to pine monocultures maintained on short harvesting cycles have adversely impacted many populations (Petranka 1998). Moderately threatened by development and silviculture in Alabama (M. Bailey pers. comm., 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It occurs in scattered protected areas (state parks, nature preserves, and national forest). This species is listed as an endangered species in South Carolina and as a species of special concern in Louisiana.
Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson, David Beamer 2004. Plethodon websteri. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 20 April 2014.
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