Big Levels Salamander

Plethodon sherando
Highton, 2004
Augusta Co., Virginia. April 25, 2006.

“My next target was the Big Levels Salamander, Plethodon sherando. This species was described in 2004, and superficially looks like a Redback; however, it is genetically distinct, and apparently has longer limbs than Redbacks.

It took me several hours to reach where these salamanders are found, over a number of twisting, two-lane roads that hugged the valleys and climbed up into the mountains. I parked close to a stream that emptied into a fishing lake, and began checking under the rocks bordering the stream. I turned up several two-lined salamanders, but nothing else; away from the stream margins, the soil was very dry here. It looked like this area hadn’t had any rain for a while. When the stream played out I walked around the lake, looking for some seeps or any kind of wet spot where salamanders might be holed up, but came away empty-handed. This place was dry, dry, dry, and I was getting dried out and heated up in the afternoon sun.

I headed back to the vehicle, wondering what my next move was going to be. Should I try another spot further down the road, or move on to the next salamander? I was burning daylight as it was…back at the truck, I looked at a long section of thick log sitting in the weeds on the roadside. On arrival I had dismissed it as being to heavy for me to roll, but looking at it again on the other side of my lousy luck…what the heck, I’ll give it a try. You can guess what was underneath – two, count ’em, two Plethodon sherando, sporting big legs and wonky genes. Had I rolled this log right off, I could have saved myself ninety minutes of work!”
The Great Salamander Swing 

My Flickr album for this species is here.

HerpMapper records for this species are here .

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