Field herping

Teeny-tiny friend I found over the weekend. Plethodon cinereus, red-backed salamander, “lead-back” phase

A paper on them for anyone that might be interested:


Salamanders are so under appreciated! I feel like the only ones that ever get any attention are axolotls. Though I adore axolotls and have a massive axolotl tattoo, I still feel the love should be shared!

siberian salamander x GIF by Head Like an Orange


Our yard seems filled w red-backs. Every time I flip over a rock, a potted plant, &c. Out pops a red-back! Luv ‘em!


Just one…


A couple of the ecology papers I have read on them estimate that within their habitat they are one of the most abundant predators and have a population density of one animal per square 0.5 meter


Holy moly!!! I would go totally insane if my conspecifics were only a handful of human body lengths away. Definitely a WAY different definition of personal space!

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My daughter and I used to go to a certain nature center in MI which was rife w red backs. Our record was twelve under a single (maybe 4’?) log. When we moved to NH, my daughter said “Dad, I think they all followed us!”

Here, though, we haven’t seen any of the leadback vars…


I wouldn’t doubt that. I went out on a short 1 hour herping hike at a local park one time and managed to find over twenty red backed salamanders of all different sexes, ages and even some with missing appendages.

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There definitely seem to be regional pockets where they are more prominent. Here they make up ~35% of the population I would guess

Very cool. Hopefully you don’t mind me showing off one I found? Hiding under a fallen tree. Blue spotted salamander in Nw Indiana. Mix of maple and oak leaves for reference


I love the spotted sallies! Always a treat to come upon them. Thanks for sharing.

No objection at all. Beautiful animal!!