Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Red Backed Salamander

Plethodon Cinereus


Description: A thin bodied little salamander that occurs in two common color phases. The "redback" phase has a reddish or orange stripe down the back and tail, bordered by darker sides. The "leadback" phase lacks the stripe, and has a dark colored back, sometimes speckled with faint light spots. In both the belly is mottled with a white and gray "salt and pepper" pattern. Adults are 2.3 to 5 inches (5.8 to 12.7 cm) long. (Note that these salamanders sometimes lose portions of their tails during encounters with predators.)


Habitat/Habits: Found state wide in woodlands, especially deciduous woods with thick leaf litter and many decaying logs or stumps. Food is mostly small insects and other invertebrates.


Breeding: Unique among Michigan salamanders in not requiring water to reproduce; young go through larval stage in the egg. (See notes on this species under "Salamander Reproduction" above.) Eggs laid in early summer usually hatch in August. Conservation: This common salamander is a "key" species in the woodland ecosystem; their abundance can signify a healthy forest environment. If their woodland habitat is severely modified or destroyed, these salamanders soon disappear. Source:,1607,7-153...

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


AmandaCech 8 years ago

My facebook :)

NicholeSauve 8 years ago

I just realized I could have two more spottings on my As I have these same pictures somewhere.

AmandaCech 8 years ago

These little guys are both Red Backed Salamanders, how awesome was it to find both phases to do a photo comparison?

Spotted by

Cadillac, Michigan, USA

Spotted on Jul 17, 2013
Submitted on Sep 18, 2013

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team