Four-toed Salamander
Hemidactylium scutatum

  • Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)
  • Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)0121
  • Four-toed Salamander Venter
Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)1 Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum)01212 Four-toed Salamander Venter3


Common Name:
Four-toed Salamander
Scientific Name:
Hemidactylium scutatum
hemi is Greek for "half", daktylion is Greek and means "fusion of digits". Referring to the reduced number of digits on the hind feet.
scutatum is Latin meaning "armed with a shield". Referring to the costal grooves which appeared to be covered with shield-like plates.
Average Length:
2 - 3.5 in. (5.1 - 9 cm)
Virginia Record Length: 
Record length:
4 in. (10.2 cm)


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species is from 50-95 mm. The dorsum is brown and the venter white with conspicuous scattered black dots. The reddish tail is constructed at the base. There are four toes on each hind foot *1014*. The adult female is about 75 mm and the adult male about 65 mm. There are 13-14 costal grooves *3821*.

REPRODUCTION: The female lays 30-50 eggs under moss, and spawns in early March and the larvae hatch in May. The larvae mature at 1.5 years *1014*. Brooding is a solitary activity, and there is communal egg laying by up to 14 females *913*. The eggs are laid so that larvae fall or wriggle into shallow ponds, pools, or small, quiet streams *949,1008*.

BEHAVIOR: This species dwells in bogs and requires seepages or shallow ponds with moss-covered logs, roots, and grass clumps over quiet water *1014*. This species winters beneath surface materials or deeply buried *865*. They are limited to wooded areas with pools, bogs, or slow bog streams *3821*. This species occurs in various hardwood forests, less often in coniferous forests *3821*.

ORIGIN: The origin of this species is native *1014*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: Aquatic associations include: Rana clomitan melanota, Notophthalmus v. viridescens, Hyla crucifer, Sphagnum sp. and grasses *865,3820,3822*. Terrestrial associations include: N. v. viridescens, Thamnophis sirtalis, R. sylvatica, Ambystoma jeffersonianum, Plethodon cinerus, Pseudacris triseciata, Cornus stolonifera, Thalictrum polygamum, Clematis virginiana, Viburnum dentatum and Viola blanda *865,3820,3822*.

References for Life History


*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.

Fairfax Co.
Fairfax Co.
Bedford Co.


Verified County/City Occurrence

Accomack County
Alleghany County
Appomattox County
Augusta County
Bedford County
Botetourt County
Buckingham County
Campbell County
Caroline County
Charles City County
Charlotte County
Chesterfield County
Cumberland County
Dinwiddie County
Fairfax County
Fauquier County
Floyd County
Fluvanna County
Franklin County
Frederick County
Giles County
Gloucester County
Hampton City
Hanover County
Henrico County
Henry County
Highland County
James City County
King and Queen County
King William County
Lancaster County
Lee County
Lunenburg County
Madison County
Mathews County
Mecklenburg County
Middlesex County
Montgomery County
New Kent County
Newport News City
Northampton County
Northumberland County
Nottoway County
Page County
Powhatan County
Prince William County
Pulaski County
Richmond County
Rockingham County
Scott County
Shenandoah County
Stafford County
Virginia Beach City
Westmoreland County
Wise County
Wythe County
York County
Verified in 57 Counties/Cities.

The Virginia Herpetological Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Copyright © 1958 - Virginia Herpetological Society. All rights reserved.