Plethodon jordani - Blatchley, 1901
Red-cheeked Salamander
Other English Common Names: red-cheeked salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plethodon jordani Blatchley, 1901 (TSN 173660)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101045
Element Code: AAAAD12090
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Plethodon
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: 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. Pages 31-93 in R. C. Bruce, R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck, editors. The biology of plethodontid salamanders. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York. xiii + 485 pp.
Concept Reference Code: A00HIG01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Plethodon jordani
Taxonomic Comments: Highton and Peabody (2000) examined allozyme and morphological variation in the Plethodon jordani and P. glutinosus complexes, and they also looked at interactions in contact zones. As a result of these studies, Highton and Peabody split P. jordani into multiple species as follows: P. jordani, P. montanus, P. metcalfi, P. amplus, P. meridianus, P. shermani, and P. cheoah. This revision was adopted by Crother et al. (2000).

Mahoney (2001) used mtDNA data to examine phylogenetic relationships of western and eastern Plethodon and Aneides. She found strong support for eastern Plethodon as a clade, but monophyly of Aneides was only weakly supported in some analyses, though "the monophyly of this clade is not in doubt." Analyses indicated that Plethodon stormi and P. elongatus are clearly sister taxa, and P. dunni and P. vehiculum also are well-supported sister taxa. Plethodon larselli and P. vandykei appear to be closely related, whereas P. neomexicanus did not group with any other lineage. All analyses yielded a paraphyletic Plethodon but constraint analyses did not allow rejection of a monophyletic Plethodon. Mahoney recommended continued recognition of Aneides as a valid genus and adoption of the metataxon designation for Plethodon *, indicating this status with an asterisk. (A metataxon is a group of lineages for which neither monophyly nor paraphyly can be demonstrated.)
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06May2011
Global Status Last Changed: 06May2011
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Generally abundant within the small range, which is entirely within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (06May2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Georgia (SNR), North Carolina (S3), Tennessee (S2S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: NT - Near threatened

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from Mount Sterling Gap in the east to the slopes of Gregory Bald in the west (Dodd 2004). Gregory Bald and Great Smoky isolates, and the extreme northern part of the Balsam isolate, of the Plethodon jordani complex, North Carolina and Tennessee (Highton and Peabodt 2000). Elevational range is at least 768-2,025 m (Highton and Peabody 2000, Dodd 2004).

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Number of distinct occurrences has not been determined. Dodd (2004) mapped more than 100 collection/observation sites in the Great Smokies, representing at least several dozen distinct occurrences.

Population Size: 10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. Generally abundant (Dodd 2004).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many (41-125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species is protected from the detrimental effects of clearcutting (Ash 1997, Petranka et al. 1993, Petranka 1999, Ash and Pollock 1999) by occurring completely within a national park. Global warming, acid rain, balsam woolly adelgid infestations, and other factors that negatively affect spruce-fir forests are potential threats.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Likely stable in extent of occurrence and probably stable to slightly declining in population size, area of occupancy, and number/condition of occurrences.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, probably less than 25% decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from Mount Sterling Gap in the east to the slopes of Gregory Bald in the west (Dodd 2004). Gregory Bald and Great Smoky isolates, and the extreme northern part of the Balsam isolate, of the Plethodon jordani complex, North Carolina and Tennessee (Highton and Peabodt 2000). Elevational range is at least 768-2,025 m (Highton and Peabody 2000, Dodd 2004).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States GA, NC, TN

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Terrestrial hatchlings first appear on surface in spring. Some females first oviposit at 4 years; females 6 years old or older appear to oviposit in alternate years (Hairston 1983).
Ecology Comments: Has returned to home burrow after being displaced 500 ft. In western North Carolina, home range fixed, 0.05-6.71 sq m (average 1.5-5.0 sq m), mostly separate from individuals of same sex or age (Nishikawa 1990). Density estimates range from 0.18/sq. m to 0.86/sq m (see Petranka et al. 1993). Based on removal sampling in 30 x 30 m plots in North Carolina, Petranka and Starnes (2001) estimated minimum density at 1,510 individuals per hectare.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Moist dense forest (hardwood, coniferous, or mixed) with mossy logs and slabs of rock. Common in many second-growth forests. Occupies burrows, leaf litter, or spaces under rocks and logs during day. Eggs are laid probably in underground cavities.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Common food items include collembolans, centipedes, spiders, insect larvae, other insects, millipedes, and other invertebrates of leaf litter-humus (Mitchell and Taylor 1986).
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Active April-November.
Length: 18 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Terrestrial Plethodontid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway, especially with high traffic volume at night; major river or lake; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 3 km
Separation Justification: These salamanders rarely successfully cross roadways that have heavy traffic volume at night, when most movements occur. Rivers and lakes pose formidable impediments to movement and generally function as barriers, with the effect increasing with river and lake size. Treatment of these as barriers or unsuitable habitat is a subjective determination.

Compared to larger ambystomatid salamanders, the movements of plethodontids are poorly documented, but it is clear that home ranges tend to be very small (e.g., Marvin 2001), on the order of a few meters to a few dozen meters in diameter. For example, Welsh and Lind (1992) found that over six months, 66% of Plethodon elongatus males and 80% of females recaptured were in the same 7.5 x 7.5 m grid, and the maximum distance moved was 36.2 m. D. Clayton (pers. comm 1998) estimated that average home ranges may be as small as one square meter. Yet, on occasion, dispersing plethodontids likely travel at least several hundred meters. The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The separation distance for suitable habitat reflects the limited movements of these salamanders, tempered by their tendency to occur throughout patches of suitable habitat and the likely low probability that two locations separated by a gap of less than a few kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06May2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jun2001
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Ash, A. N. 1997. Disappearance and return of plethodontid salamanders to clearcut plots in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. Conservation Biology 11:983-989.

  • Ash, A. N., and K. H. Pollock. 1999. Clearcuts, salamanders, and field studies. Conservation Biology 13:206-208.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Crother, B. I., J. Boundy, J. A. Campbell, K. de Queiroz, D. R. Frost, R. Highton, J. B. Iverson, P. A. Meylan, T. W. Reeder, M. E. Seidel, J. W. Sites, Jr., T. W. Taggart, S. G. Tilley, and D. B. Wake. 2000 [2001]. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Circular No. 29. 82 pp.

  • Dawson, W. R., J. D. Ligon, and J. R. Murphy. 1987. Report of the Scientific Advisory Panel on the Spotted Owl. Condor 89:205-229.

  • Dodd, C. K., Jr. 2004. The amphibians of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. xvii + 283 pp.

  • HIGHTON, R. 1983. A NEW SPECIES OF WOODLAND SALAMANDER OF THE PLETHODON GLUTINOSUS GROUP FROM THE SOUTHERN APPLACHIAN MOUNTAINS. BRIMLEYANA 9:1-20.

  • Hairston, N. G. 1983. Growth, survival and reproduction of PLETHODON JORDANI: trade-offs between selective pressures. Copeia 1983:1024-1035.

  • Hairston, N. G., Sr., and R. H. Wiley. 1993. No decline in salamander (Amphibia: Caudata) populations: a twenty-year study in the southern Appalachians. Brimleyana 18:59-64.

  • Hairston, N.G., Sr., Wiley, R.H., Smith, C.K., and Kneidel, K.A. 1992. The dynamics of two hybrid zones in Appalachian salamanders of the genus Plethodon. Evolution 46:930-938.

  • Highton, R. 1973. Plethodon jordani. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 130.1-130.4.

  • Highton, R. 1983 [1984]. A new species of woodland salamanders of the Plethodon glutinosus group from the southern Appalachian Mountains. Brimleyana 9:1-20.

  • Highton, R. 1998. Frequency of hybrids between introduced and native populations of the salamander PLETHODON JORDANI in their first generation of sympatry. Herpetologica 54:143-153.

  • 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. Pages 31-93 in R. C. Bruce, R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck, editors. The biology of plethodontid salamanders. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York. xiii + 485 pp.

  • Mahoney, M. J. 2001. Molecular systematics of Plethodon and Aneides (Caudata: Plethodontini): phylogenetic analysis of an old and rapid radiation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 18:174-188.

  • Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison, III. 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 264 pp.

  • Mitchell, J. C., and J. A. Taylor. 1986. Predator-prey size relationships in a North Carolina population of PLETHODON JORDANI. J. Herpetol. 20:562-566.

  • Nishikawa, K. C. 1990. Intraspecific spatial relationships of two species of terrestrial salamanders. Copeia 1990:418-426.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1999. Recovery of salamanders after clearcutting in the southern Appalachians: a critique of Ash's estimates. Conservation Biology 13:203-205.

  • Petranka, J. W., M. E. Eldridge, and K. E. Haley. 1993. Effects of timber harvesting on southern Appalachian salamanders. Conservation Biology 7(2):363-370.

  • Petranka, J. W., and S. S. Murray. 2001. Effectiveness of removal sampling for determining salamander density and biomass: a case study in an Appalachian streamside community. Journal of Herpetology 35:36-44.

  • Pope, C. H. 1928. Some Plethodontid Salamanders from North Carolina and Kentucky with the description of a new race of Leurognathus. American Museum Novitates 306: 1-19.

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