• dogwood across creek

    Prince William Forest

    Park Virginia

Salamanders

newt on moss

An adult newt, out of the water, and hunting for prey.

Andrew Hoffman

Eastern red-spotted newt
After a 'gully washer' rain storm, you may be lucky enough to see many newts crossing the trails. Depending on the age, some will be at the terrestrial stage, called 'red efts.' Older newts are aquatic and an olive green color with red spots, but will get washed up on land after a hard rain. The adults are fun to catch with a dip net, but must always be returned to their habitat unharmed. Eastern red-spotted newts are toxic to predators but harmless to humans. The red color of the young serves as a warning and help protect them from predation.

 
eastern red-backed salamander

'Redback' color morph of adult eastern red-backed salamader.

Andrew Hoffman

Eastern Red-Backed Salamander
The most common salamander in our area is the eastern red-backed. Although many in number, this species is unique for several reasons. First of all, this species is totally lacking lungs, breathing through its moist skin for respiration. In addition, it occurs in two different color forms. The 'redbacks' are grey with either a red or yellowish stripe down the back, and the 'leadbacks' are a solid dark grey with no striping. Lastly, red-backs hatch from the egg as adults, skipping the juvenile stage entirely.

Marbled close up

Up close and personal with a marbled salamander.

Andrew Hoffman

Marbled Salamander
Marbled salamanders are a sight to behold in the Piedmont forest. They are rather stocky but can reach almost 5 inches in length. Their moist skin is black with the females having silvery bands all down their body, while the male's bands look more whitish. Their aquatic larvae are easily seen because they are the only ones active in the icy cold of winter.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Prince William Forest Park protects the federally threatened orchid Isotria medeoloides, small whorled pogonia, of which several colonies have been identified in the park.