May 26, 2020
The white-spotted slimy salamander (Plethodon cylindraceus) is one of Virginia's more common salamanders, and it can be found throughout the Piedmont all the way down to the northern part of South Carolina. I've probably found at least 20 of these little guys in the woods around my house over the last few months, usually hiding beneath rocks.
Generally speaking, you should never touch a salamander because they have very absorbent skin; many salamanders respire (breathe) through their skin. The salts and oils on our hands (not to mention perfumes, colognes, bug sprays, etc.) are quickly absorbed by salamanders, which is obviously bad for their health. However, there's another reason that you don't want to touch a white-spotted slimy salamander: they have glands in their skin that produce an extremely sticky substance!
According to the website for the Virginia Herpetological Society (www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com), these salamanders mate in spring and summer, and in late summer, females will lay clutches of 6-36 eggs under logs or among roots. They're good at hiding their eggs because they're seldom spotted in the wild.
If you'd like to spot one of these salamanders yourself, try going into a wet part of a local forest and flip over some rocks -- particularly keep an eye peeled for wide, thin, flat rocks. It's always exciting to spot a salamander! #BenInNature
About this post: Social distancing can be difficult, but the next few weeks present a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.
This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter S & K Office Products, Inc.
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