Southern Ravine Salamander
Plethodon richmondi

Common Name:

Southern Ravine Salamander

Scientific Name:

Plethodon richmondi



plethore is Greek meaning "fullness or full of",  odon is Greek for "teeth". Referring to  the number of paravomerine and vomerine teeth.



Average Length:

3 - 4.5 in. (7.5 - 11.5 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

5.6 in. (14.3 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The costal grooves number 20-23 and the dorsal band is narrow, poorly developed and scarcely lighter than the adjacent sides. The dorsal surfaces have minute silvery-white and bronze flecks. The belly is dark and the throat is somewhat lighter, mottled. The intercostal folds be- tween the toes of the appressed limbs number 9-10. The length is up to 30 mm *1009*. Some specimens have red pigment on the cheeks, front legs, and an- terior sides of the body *1014*.

REPRODUCTION: The eggs laid in damp logs and moss *883*. There are 2-4 hatchlings per clutch. The hatchlings lack gills and are approximately 25 mm long *1014*. They have biennial cycles, wherein the female requires nearly 2 years to form a new egg complement following egg deposition. They deposit the eggs in early summer, and courtship is primarily in the spring months. Some males reach sexual maturity at end of the 2nd summer, and the females at 3 years *883*.

BEHAVIOR: This species prefers the slopes of wooded valleys and ravines *883*. It prefers high, moist woodlands and is hard to find during dry summers. In the spring and fall large numbers occur under thin, flat rocks on or partly in the ground *1014*. They also occur in leaf mold *1009*. This species avoids dry ridge crests and excessively moist habitats such as stream margins *949*. It dwells on upland slopes and is found in caves *884*. It hibernates and aestivates deep underground *1009*. This species will forage at night beneath rocks and logs *895*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: Terrestrial associations include Plethodon c. cinereus, Eurycea b. bislineata, Eurycea l. longicauda; Rana clamitans, Bufo americanus, Diadohis punctatus edwardsi, Ulmus sp., Quercus sp., Carya ovata, Cerris canadensis, and Cornus florida *895*.

References for Life History

  • 883 - Conant, R., 1975, A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 429 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA
  • 884 - Cooper, J.E., 1961, Cave records for the salamander Plethodon r. richmondi Pope, with notes on additional cave-associated species, Herpetology, Vol. 17, pg. 250-254
  • 895 - Duellman, W.E., 1954, The salamander Plethodon richmondi in southwestern Ohio, Copeia, Vol. 1954, Num. 1, pg. 40-45
  • 949 - Minton, S.A., 1972, Amphibians and Reptiles of Indiana, Indiana Academy of Science Monograph, Vol. 3, 346 pgs., Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis
  • 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


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Verified County/City Occurrence

Bland County
Buchanan County
Dickenson County
Giles County
Grayson County
Lee County
Russell County
Scott County
Smyth County
Tazewell County
Washington County
Wise County
Wythe County
Verified in 13 Counties/Cities.

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