red-backed salamander
Red-backed salamanders are our most common salamanders. Most are easy to recognize with their black bodies and the bright red stripe down the middle of their back, but some have no red stripe. It grows to about 5 inches long.

By simply overturning a rock in a streambed, one may discover various amphibian species while visiting the park. Amphibians have both an aquatic larval stage and a terrestrial adult stage. For this reason they are considered effective indicators of pollution and water quality. Amphibians breed after significant spring rainfall events and females lay eggs in ponds, streams, and springs throughout the park. Depending on the species, metamorphosis can take from days to weeks to be completed.

The park is home to 8 frog and toad species and 6 species of salamanders. Some of the species found here include the red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus), the dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus), the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens), and the spring peeper (Hyla crucifer). An ongoing amphibian inventory is being performed within the park throughout the year 2002. Results will be made available to the public upon its completion.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-6029

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