AmphibiaWeb - Plethodon amplus
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(Translations may not be accurate.)

Plethodon amplus Highton & Peabody, 2000
Blue Ridge Gray-cheeked Salamander, Blue Ridge Graycheek Salamander
Subgenus: Plethodon
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Plethodontinae
genus: Plethodon
Species Description:

Highton, R., and R. B. Peabody. (2000). Geographic protein variation and speciation in salamanders of the Plethodon jordani and Plethodon glutinosus complexes in the southern Appalachian Mountains with the description of four new species. Bruce, R. C., R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck eds., The Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders: 31–93. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.


© 2013 John P. Clare (1 of 3)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
CITES No CITES Listing
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .

   

 

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).

Description

Plethodon amplus is a relatively large salamander with a snout-vent length of between 50 - 72 mm. The tail is about half the total body length, and there are about 14 lateral costal grooves (Highton and Peabody 2000; Brimley 1912).

This species can be differentiated from the majority of other species in the P. jordani species complex by its lack of red, white, or yellow coloration and brassy dorsal flecking. It differs from P. montanus and northern populations of P. metcalfi by its darker ventral side and larger adult size. There is no morphological difference between P. amplus, P. meridianus, and most southern populations of P. metcalfi (Highton and Peabody 2000).

Plethodon amplus has a dark bluish-gray dorsal side and a medium gray ventral side (Highton and Peabody 2000). The two colors form a lateral line where they meet, and there is no red, white, or yellow coloration and there is also no brassy dorsal flecking (Brimley 1912; Highton and Peabody 2000). It is unclear if this is in life or preservative.

The females are larger than the males by about 10 mm on average (Highton and Peabody 2000).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: North Carolina

 

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).

Plethodon amplus is found in the Blue Ridge Mountains area of the Plethodon jordani species complex. Specifically, it’s known from Buncombe, Rutherford, and Henderson counties, North Carolina, United States of America (Highton and Peabody 2000). As of 2022, however, the range has not yet been clearly delineated (IUCN 2022).

Its elevation range is from 1,109 - 1,116 meters above sea level and it lives in mesic forests underneath leaf-litter, logs, or mossy rocks (IUCN 2022).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Like other species in the genus, females mate every other year and oviposit eggs deep underground (Arnold 1976; Petranka 1998). Oviposition happens in late summer or early fall, and the eggs hatch 2 - 3 months later (Petranka 1998).

Larva

As of 2023, no nests have been observed for this species, however P. amplus is direct developing (Petranka 1998).

Trends and Threats

The current threat to P. amplus is habitat loss and fragmentation through clear cutting and land development, which has been a threat to many other populations in the P. jordani species complex as well. While it has not been introduced yet, an outbreak of the salamander chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, would be devastating to P. amplus and other Plethodon populations (IUCN 2022).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Habitat modification from deforestation, or logging related activities
Urbanization
Disease

Comments

Plethodon amplus was classified as a separate species from P. metcalfi based on allozyme data and was later confirmed as a separate species based on a Bayesian analysis of mtDNA and nDNA (Highton and Peabody 2000; Fisher-Reid and Weins 2011, for a complete list of the DNA sequences see Fisher-Reid and Weins 2011). The Bayesian analysis showed that it is sister to P. meridianus, and the two form a clade that is sister to P. montanus (Fisher-Reid and Weins 2011).

The species epithet, “amplus,” refers to its large body size (Highton and Peabody 2000).

References

Arnold, S.J. (1976). Sexual Behavior, Sexual Interference and Sexual Defense in the Salamanders Ambystoma maculatum, Ambystoma tigrinum and Plethodon jordani. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie, 42: 247-300. [link]

Brimley, C. S. (1912). Notes on the salamanders of the North Carolina mountains, with descriptions of two new forms. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 25: 135–140. [link]

Fisher-Reid, M. Caitlin. (2011). What are the consequences of combining nuclear and mitochondrial data for phylogenetic analysis? Lessons from Plethodon salamanders and 13 other vertebrate clades. BMC evolutionary biology. 11. 300. 10.1186/1471-2148-11-300. [link]

Highton, R., Peabody, R. B. (2000). Geographic protein variation and speciation in salamanders of the Plethodon jordani and Plethodon glutinosus complexes in the southern Appalachian Mountains with the description of four new species. Bruce, R. C., R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck eds., The Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders: 31–93. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers. [link]

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2022). Plethodon amplus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T59330A118993366. Accessed on 24 April 2023.

Petranka, J. W. (1998). Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.[link]



Originally submitted by: Nessa Kmetec (2023-05-23)
Description by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)
Distribution by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)
Life history by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)
Larva by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)
Trends and threats by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)
Comments by: Nessa Kmetec (updated 2023-05-23)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2023-06-01)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Plethodon amplus: Blue Ridge Gray-cheeked Salamander <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/5843> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 24, 2024.



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Feb 2024.

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