Wehrle's Salamander
Plethodon wehrlei

Common Name:

Wehrle's Salamander

Scientific Name:

Plethodon wehrlei



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


Average Length:

4 - 5.25 in. (10 - 13.3 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

6.6 in. (16.8 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species has parasphenoid teeth in 2 patches. The ground color is bluish-black and the belly and ventral surface of the tail is grayish. The throat is light and the light spots are small and white to bluish-white, usually restricted to the lower sides. The costal grooves usually number 16 with 2 to 3 intercostal spaces between the toes of the oppressed limbs. The vomerine teeth number 6-9. The length of this species is up to 152 mm *1009*.

REPRODUCTION: A small cluster of eggs is laid in early summer in damp logs, soils or moss, and in crevices in caves. Melanophosis occurs about the time of hatching *1014*. Reproduction is biennial or irregular, with many mature females failing to breed each year *3764*.

BEHAVIOR: This species occupies upland forests. They inhabit the entrances of caves and deep rock crevices, as well as burrows under rocks and logs on wooded hillsides *1014*. It is commonly found on wooded hillsides where it hides by day beneath stones or rocks. They are less frequently under or within old rot- ting logs, and found under flat stones in old second-growth, mixed deciduous, and evergreen forests *1009*. It is associated with damp logs, soil, or moss *1014*. This species uses ground surface material for escape and resting cover *883,865*. They may inhabit the twilight zone of caves *883*. Individuals are fairly sedentary *3764*. They are found in upland forests and wooded hillsides *883*. There is no aquatic larval stage *1014*. They are found in old quarries *865*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: Terrestrial associations include Plethodon glutinosus, P. cinereus, Eurycea longicauda, Notophthalmus v. viridescens, Diadophis punctatus, Thamnophis sirtalis, Fagus grandifolia, Acer saccharum, Tsuga canadensis *3764*.

References for Life History

  • 865 - Bishop, S.C., 1941, The salamanders of New York, New York State Mus. Bull., Vol. 324, pg. 1-365
  • 883 - Conant, R., 1975, A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, 429 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA
  • 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
  • 3764 - HALL, R.J., STAFFORD, D.P., 1972, The life history of Wehrle's salamander, Plethodon wehrlei, Herpetologica, Vol. 28, pg. 300-309


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Verified County/City Occurrence

Alleghany County
Bath County
Bland County
Carroll County
Floyd County
Franklin County
Grayson County
Highland County
Montgomery County
Patrick County
Pulaski County
Roanoke County
Salem City
Verified in 13 Counties/Cities.

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