It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Here's our pick for the second rarest salamander in Virginia: Plethodon sherando, the Big Levels salamander!

The Big Levels salamander, like other salamanders we've looked at this week, can only be found in a small range in Virginia. It's only found in a tiny portion of the central Blue Ridge Mountains in Augusta County, generally in areas that are heavily forested, near fresh water, and have higher than average rainfall. The higher elevations of this area -- the titular Big Levels -- definitely qualify, as they average more than 50 inches of rain per year!

The Big Levels salamander may only be found in a relatively small area, but it's fairly common within that small area. Unfortunately, this species is listed as "Vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) website as it is vulnerable to logging/wood harvesting and general habitat destruction.

Check back tomorrow for our number one pick for Virginia's rarest salamander!

Thank you to the Virginia Herpetological Society ( for the use of this photo, which was taken by Paul Sattler.

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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