#Biodiversity150 number 117 of 150 Western Redback Salamander

117/150: Just out of sight-The commonly overlooked Western Redback Salamander

Animalia: Chordata: Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae: Plethodontinae: Plethodon: Plethodon vehiculum (Cooper, 1860)

The western redback salamander is a relatively small salamander, measuring about 4 to 10 centimeters in length, and is commonly identified by distinctive stripe down their back. Though their name indicates this stripe as red, it can also be yellow, olive, and tan. In some cases, it doesn’t appear at all. Redbacks range from south-western British Columbia to southwestern Oregon, making their home in the moist microhabitats beneath leaf litter and fallen logs. Though fully terrestrial, these salamanders are still routinely found living near water sources.

This species belongs to the family Plethodontidae, commonly known as the lungless salamanders. As the name suggests, members of this family lack any internal lungs, and gas exchange happens instead through their skin. While this can be very efficient, it can put them at risk of dehydration and increase their sensitivity to environmental pollution. Knowing this, redbacks can be a great indicator species for healthy environments. There are 9 western redback salamanders with barcodes on BOLD. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

A Western Redback Salamander (Plethodon vehiculum) among leaf litter and moss. Photo Credit: Marshal Hedin goo.gl/W1HDdA
Worldwide range of the family Plethodontidae, the lungless salamanders. Photo Credit: Maxorz goo.gl/UY6UyD

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: CNPVT122-16

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Western Redback Salamander

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAF2673