Ben here with the latest edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the latest edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the latest edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time to reveal our pick for the rarest salamander in Virginia: Plethodon dixi, the Dixie Caverns salamander!

If you want to spot a Dixie Caverns salamander, there are just a few places to go. The first, of course, is Dixie Caverns, the limestone solution cave just west of Salem, Va. which has been a popular tourist destination for decades. Individuals have also been spotted in and around a couple of other caves in the general area, but this species definitely has a limited distribution.

The Dixie Caverns salamander was first discovered in 1946, and it was soon determined to be a variant of Wehrle's salamander, which ranges from Virginia up to New York. While the two species are extremely similar, the Dixie Caverns salamander is smaller and has slightly different coloration.

If the salamanders we've viewed this week have taught us anything, it's that Virginia has a remarkable abundance of unique species that can only be found right here in our backyards. They're certainly worth celebrating, and I highly recommend that you check out the Virginia Herpetological Society's salamander page ( to experience a fantastic overview of the amazing critters that call the commonwealth home.

Check back next week when we'll be counting down the top five rarest snakes in Virginia!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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