Plethodon wehrlei - Fowler and Dunn, 1917
Wehrle's Salamander
Other English Common Names: Wehrle's salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Plethodon wehrlei Fowler and Dunn, 1917 (TSN 173674)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104723
Element Code: AAAAD12220
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)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Plethodon wehrlei
Taxonomic Comments: The systematic affinities and taxonomic status of the yellow-spotted isolates in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia have not been determined (Petranka 1998).

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
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 23Aug2004
Global Status Last Changed: 03Oct2003
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Locally common in range extending from southern New York to northern North Carolina; not known to be declining or experiencing pervasive threats; yellow-spotted populations warrant phylogeographic investigation and high priority for protection.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4 (03Oct2003)

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 Kentucky (S1), Maryland (S2), New York (S3), North Carolina (S1S2), Ohio (SH), Pennsylvania (S4), Tennessee (S1), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Appalachian Plateau, southwestern New York to northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina (Petranka 1998). Elevational range mainly 200-1000 m (based on occurrence data through 2004).

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

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range. Hulse et al. (2001) mapped several dozen collection sites in Pennsylvania.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000. In Pennsylvania, one study documented a density of about 1,000 individuals/ha (Hall and Stafford 1972). This salamander is common in the heart of its range in West Virginia (Salamanders of West Virginia, 2/03, http://www.marshall.edu/herp/Old/wehrlei.htm).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
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

Protection Needs: Yellow-spotted isolates, whose systematic affinities have not been determined, occur in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia; these populations should receive high priority for protection (Petranka 1998).

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Appalachian Plateau, southwestern New York to northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina (Petranka 1998). Elevational range mainly 200-1000 m (based on occurrence data through 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 KY, MD, NC, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV

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


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Harlan (21095), Letcher (21133), Pike (21195)
MD Allegany (24001), Garrett (24023)
NC Alleghany (37005), Stokes (37169), Surry (37171), Wilkes (37193)
TN Campbell (47013)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 North Branch Potomac (02070002)+
03 Upper Dan (03010103)+, Upper Yadkin (03040101)+
05 Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Upper New (05050001)+, Upper Levisa (05070202)+, North Fork Kentucky (05100201)+, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Reproduction Comments: Eggs laid March-April in New York, January-March in Pennsylvania; courtship in fall. In West Virginia, courtship March-April, oviposition prior to May. Sexually mature in 4-5 years.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Subterranean Habitat(s): Subterrestrial
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Upland forests and woodlands (e.g., red spruce-yellow birch, mixed deciduous). Found in rock crevices, under rocks, logs, and leaves, and in twilight zone of caves (at lower elevations). Eggs are laid in damp logs, moss, cave crevices, and other protected sites.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats various small terrestrial invertebrates (e.g., ants, beetles, mites, spiders, caterpillars, springtails, etc.).
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: In West Virginia, at higher elevations (spruce zone), active late April to mid-October; active late September until freezing weather and March to late May or early June at lower elevations (Green and Pauley 1987).
Length: 16 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
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
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Aug2004
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Jul1988
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
Help
  • 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.

  • Bishop, S.C. 1941. The salamanders of New York. New York State Museum Bulletin No. 324. Albany, NY.

  • 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. 1975. A FIELD GUIDE TO REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF E. AND CENTRAL N. AMERICA. 2ND EDITION. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN CO., BOSTON, MA.

  • Chambers, R.E. 1983. Integrating timber and wildlife management. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Green, N. B., and T. K. Pauley. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles in West Virginia. University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. xi + 241 pp.

  • Green, N.B. and Parley, T.K. 1987. Amphibians and Reptilesin West Virginia.

  • Hall, R. J., and D. P. Stafford. 1972. Studies in the life history of Wehrle's salamander, Plethodon wehrlei. Herpetologica 28:300-309.

  • Highton, R. 1987. Plethodon wehrlei. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 402:1-3.

  • Hulse, A. C., C. J. McCoy, and E. Censky. 2001. Amphibians and reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press, Ithaca. 419 pp.

  • Johnson, W.W. 1961. A life history of Plethodon wehrlei in the High Plateau. Ph.D. thesis. St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY.

  • MCCOY CJ 1982 AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN PENNSYLVANIA: CHECKLIST, BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND ATLAS OF DISTRIBUTION. SP PUB CARNEGIE MUS NAT HIST, NO 6 PG 1-91,74MAPS

  • 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.

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources. 2000. New York State Amphibian and Reptile Atlas website and interim report.

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 1985. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Nongame Unit. Wildlife Resources Center. Delmar, NY.

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

  • THOMPSON, E.L. 1984. WEHRLE'S SALAMANDER (PLETHODON WEHRLEI) IN MARYLAND. PP 336-337 IN A. NORDEN, D. FORESTER, AND G. FENWICK (EDS), THREATENED AND ENDANGERED PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF MARYLAND. MD NHP, ANNAPOLIS.

  • THOMPSON, E.L. AND J.A. CHAPMAN. 1978. THE FIRST RECORD OF WEHRLE'S SALAMANDER FROM MARYLAND. PROC. PENNSYLVANIA ACAD. SCI. 52: 103.

  • THOMPSON, E.L. NO DATE. LOCATION DATA FOR AMPHIBIAN SPECIMENS, GARRETT AND ALLEGANY COUNTIES.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.