Plethodon cinereus
Eastern Red-backed Salamander, Red-backed Salamander, (Northern Redback Salamander)
Subgenus: Plethodon
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Plethodontinae

© 2004 Henk Wallays (1 of 74)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Status Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None



View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.

From the IUCN Red List Species Account:


Range Description

Range includes eastern North America (USA and Canada), from Minnesota and western Ontario to southern Quebec and Newfoundland, south to North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Elevational range extends from sea level to at least 1,463 m asl (West Virginia).

Habitat and Ecology

It can be found in damp microhabitats in wooded areas; inside logs, under leaf-litter, or under surface objects during the day. Goes underground during freezing or hot, dry weather. In New York, it tended to be absent where soil pH was less than 3.8; much more abundant in beech forest than in hemlock forest (Wyman 1988, Wyman and Jancola 1992, Frisbie and Wyman 1992). It occurs in altered habitats where damp microhabitats remain, such as in urban and suburban gardens. It lays eggs in cavities in logs or stumps or under rock or other objects on ground, where they develop directly without a larval stage.


This is an extremely abundant species, with a stable population. Total adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds many millions of individuals. Thousands of localities are known.

Population Trend


Major Threats

Intensive timber harvest causes major declines in abundance (deMaynadier and Hunter 1995). Negative impacts of intensive timber harvesting extend at least 25-35 m into uncut forest (deMaynadier and Hunter 1998). Roads negatively impact salamander abundance in roadside habitat and might serve as partial barriers to movement (deMaynadier and Hunter 2000). Animals have been exported from the United States to Canada as part of the international pet trade. However, none of these factors pose serious threats to the global population, and the species can adapt to certain modified habitats.

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No conservation measures are needed. It occurs in many protected areas.

Red List Status

Least Concern (LC)


Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and localities, large population size, and use of a wide range of habitats.

Taxonomic Notes

Some published literature on this species actually pertains to Plethodon serratus, which was given species status in mid-1970s.


IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Plethodon cinereus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T59334A78907687. .Downloaded on 22 February 2019


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