Plethodon vehiculum 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae

Scientific Name: Plethodon vehiculum
Species Authority: (Cooper, 1860)
Common Name(s):
English Western 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).

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.
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, and large population size.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2014 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in western North America from southwestern British Columbia, including Vancouver Island, south through western Washington to southwestern Oregon (Petranka 1998). It occurs at elevations from sea level to about 1,250 m asl (Stebbins 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (British Columbia); United States (Oregon, Washington)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1250
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is one of the most commonly encountered terrestrial salamanders throughout its range (Nussbaum et al. 1983), with a stable population.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found in humid coniferous forests, damp talus slopes and shaded ravines. It is often encountered under rocks, logs, leaf-litter, and other forest debris. On Vancouver Island, small individuals were found under small rocks and away from discrete cover objects in leaf-litter and under moss more frequently than were larger individuals (Ovaska and Gregory 1989). It lays eggs on land in moist retreats, 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): There are no major known threats to this species. Logging is not considered to be a major threat because this species maintains thriving populations in young forests.

Conservation Actions [top]

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

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education

Bibliography [top]

Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York.

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

Frost, D.R. 1985. Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Allen Press and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Kluber, M. R., Olson, D. H., Puettmann, K. J. 2008. Amphibian distributions in riparian and upslope areas and their habitat associations on managed forest landscapes in the Oregon Coast Range. Forest Ecology and Management 256: 529-535.

Leonard, W.P., Brown, H.A., Jones, L.L.C., McAllister, K.R. and Storm, R.M. 1993. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington.

Mahoney, M.J. 2001. Molecular systematics of Plethodon and Aneides (Caudata: Plethodontidae): phylogenetic analysis of an old and rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 174-188.

Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie, Jr., E.D. and Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.

Ovaska, K. 1988. Spacing and movements of the salamander Plethodon cinereus. Herpetologica: 377-386.

Ovaska, K. and Gregory, P.T. 1989. Population structure, growth, and reproduction in a Vancouver Island population of the salamander Plethodon vehiculum. Herpetologica: 133-143.

Petranka, J.W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Rundio, D. E., Olson, D. H. 2007. Influence of headwater site conditions and riparian buffers on terrestrial salamander response to forest thinning. Forest Science 53(2): 320-330.

Stebbins, R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Storm, R.M. and Brodie, E.D. Jr. 1970. Plethodon vehiculum. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-2.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Plethodon vehiculum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59358A78905923. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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