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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Farm ponds as critical habitats for native amphibians
A Field Guide to Amphibian Larvae and Eggs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa
Field guide contents

Eastern Red-backed Salamander Plethodon cinereus

Status: Wisconsin – Locally common
Minnesota – Locally common
Eastern Red-backed Salamander
(Drawing of a female attending her eggs)
Hatching size, 2 cm total length; adults, 6 -10 cm total length

field mapThis species is our only amphibian that foregoes the aquatic larval stage, laying terrestrial eggs that develop directly into juvenile salamanders. The eggs can be distinguished from the Four-Toed Salamander because there will be an attending female Eastern Redback Salamander with her eggs. Three to 17 eggs are laid in rotten logs, or in damp soil under rocks or logs. The eggs are laid individually but in a cluster in subterranean cavities, usually naturally occurring cracks and crevices. The female remains coiled around the egg cluster until they hatch. The young hatch in about two months and are approximately 2 cm long.

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Page Last Modified: December 29, 2010