Search the site
Tennessee Wildlife
  Viewing Trail

Critter of the Month
Seasonal Events
Monthly Gallery
Backyard Wildlife Info
TWRA Publications
Woodworking for Wildlife
Education Tools
Links to Related Sites
About us
Contact Us

Join our Mailing List

Policies & Privacy
©Copyright 2018 TWRA


Cumberland Plateau Salamander

Cumberland Plateau Salamander
Plethodon kentucki

Found only in the northern section of the Cumberland Plateau along the Tennessee-Kentucky border.

Description: A medium salamander (3.75 to 6.75 inches in length) having a black dorsum with small white spots that increase in size on the sides. Belly is uniformly slate gray transitioning into a lighter chin.

Similar Species:

  • Northern Slimy Salamanders are slightly larger and have a dark chin; spots are larger and more frequent as well.
  • Wehrle’s Salamander is dark gray or brown with yellow spots on sides.

Habitat: Primarily occurs in steep-sloped mature hardwood forests with sandstone or shale underneath; yet can be found in a variety of woodland habitats such as moist ravines, rock crevices, and cave entrances.

Diet: Range of invertebrates such as mites, flies, spiders, snails, beetles, and ants.

Breeding information: Adults breed during late summer through fall. Females lay 9-12 eggs in underground cavities and remain with them until they hatch. Hatchlings emerge as miniature adults without going through the larval stage.

Status in Tennessee: Listed as “In Need of Management” by TWRA. Mature hardwood habitat vulnerable to timber harvesting.

Fun Facts:

  • Breeding male Cumberland Plateau Salamanders have large mental glands, which is a gland on the chin of certain male salamanders that produces secretions used in courtship.

Best places to see in Tennessee: Mature hardwood forests in northern Cumberland Mountains.

For more information:

The Salamanders of Tennessee web site


Conant, R. and Collins, J. 1998. Peterson Field Guides: Reptiles and Amphibians (Eastern/Central North America). Houghton Mifflin Company, New York. 616pp.