The theory is that this salamanders are a bright red/orange color with black spots to mimic the toxic red eft stage of the Red-spotted Newt. And here’s something I didn’t know about these salamanders – and I don’t know if it’s true for all salamanders: it takes the aquatic larvae 27–31 months after hatching to undergo metamorphosis, and four YEARS to reach sexual maturity. THEN, the larger salamanders of this species sometimes feed on the smaller ones! I feel like this is a hard life.
There are some areas along a stream here that are also vernal pools, and my suspicion is that they are a great habitat for various salamanders. The photo I have here is at a higher elevation so this was probably sometime in the summer or fall when I took the photo.
Size: 4-6" long Family: Plethodontidae Habitat: They occupy a variety of wetlands from spring seeps and bogs to stream headwaters. During the spring and summer months they can often be found in upland areas under moist rotting logs. Identification: "A large salamander with a stout, reddish-orange body. The sides and back have numerous irregularly shaped black spots. Belly varies from pink to red with adults having black spots. Eyes are a yellow to golden color". From dwr.virginia.gov