Northern Red Salamander
Pseudotriton ruber ruber

Common Name:

Northern Red Salamander

Scientific Name:

Pseudotriton ruber ruber



pseudes is Greek for "false" and triton is the Greek sea god.


ruber is Latin for "red". Referring to the dorsal color.


ruber is Latin for "red". Referring to the dorsal color.

Average Length:

4 - 6 in. (10 - 15.2 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

7.1 in. (18.1 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The adults have dorsal spots tending to fuse. The venter is salmon-red in life, with small, round, brown or black spots. The ventral surface of the legs and tail are usually immaculate. There are no whitish flecks around the snout and on the head in adults. The iris is tinged with brassy. The volmerine series is broadlly curved in some, right-angled in others. There are usually 16 costal groves. The length is up to 165 mm *1009*.

REPRODUCTION: Courtship is in the summer, spawning in October and hatching in early December. The average clutch is 70 eggs *1014*. The clutch size increases with female body size *877*. Egg-laying may be initiated by falling temperature *1009*. Most males mature during the first year after metamorpho sis and breed in the fourth summer at 45 months. The females reproduce at 5 years of age *877*.

BEHAVIOR: They are found in and about clear, cold springs and small streams of wooded ravines, swamps, open field, and meadows. The adult is often terres trial during the summer months and may be found hiding beneath logs, bark, and stones, some distance from the water *1009*. The larvae are found in small, rocky streams *1009*. The larvae complete metamorphosis in the late spring and early summer at ages 31-33 months. The female remains with the clutch until hatching in the winter *877*. They attach eggs to lower surfaces of stone in springs. The larvae hide and rest under rubbish, old leaves, and stones on the bottom of the pool or stream, or among vegetation *865*. This species inhabits leaf masses in spring-fed brooks and in crevices and burrows in loose, moist soil nearby, also under ground cover *3824*. This species prefers cool, clear, moving water. It does not inhabit large streams *865*. The adults dig deep beneath a bed of streams or springs in the winter. They are often terrestrial in the summer. The adult wanders on moist warm nights *865*.

ORIGIN: The origin of this species is native *1009*.

POPULATION PARAMETERS: The adult males far outnumber the females *877*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: They are associated with Desmognathus f. fuscus, Eurycea b. bislineata, Gryinophilus p. porphyriticus, Entomostraca sp., Chara sp., Nasturtium sp. *883,865*, Quercus sp., Carya sp., Fagus grandifolia and Acer sacchurum *883,865*.

References for Life History

  • 865 - Bishop, S.C., 1941, The salamanders of New York, New York State Mus. Bull., Vol. 324, pg. 1-365
  • 877 - Bruce, R.C., 1978, Reproductive biology of the salamander Pseudotriton ruber in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains, Copeia, Vol. 1978, pg. 417-423
  • 883 - Conant, R., 1975, A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 429 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA
  • 945 - Martof, B.S., 1955, Observations on the life history and ecology of the amphibians of the Athens area, Georgia, Copeia, Vol. 1955, pg. 166-170
  • 1009 - Bishop, S.C., 1943, Handbook of Salamanders, 555 pgs., Comstock Publ. Co., New York, NY
  • 1014 - Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., Harrison, III J.R., 1980, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 264 pgs., UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 3824 - Martof, B.S., 1975, Pseudotriton ruber, Cat. Amer. Amph. Rept., pg. 167-1-167-


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