Red-backed Salamander

I’ve known about salamanders in Brooklyn for a while now, but this Eastern Red-backed (Plethodon cinereus) I ran into this week was the first I’ve seen personally.

What is the story here? How have they managed to survive in the midst of all this? True, this one was in as woodsy a place as you can find in the heart of the borough, but iNaturalist observers have spotted them in Brooklyn backyards, too. Outside of the city, this species can be abundant. They are a major player in the forest floor ecosystem.

Parts of the Bronx are rich in Eastern Red-backs, which also come in a silvery-grey “lead-back” form. There are two other salamander species in the Bronx according to iNaturalist, where all the following information comes from. Manhattan has also has Eastern Red-backs. There was a rump colony of Northern Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus fuscus) into this century on the little-island-that-could, but I don’t know what’s become of them; there are no iNaturalist records, but of course iNat isn’t definitive. Staten Island and Queens are represented by four species each on iNaturalist. Brooklyn has just this one species verified.


At Trump’s recent rallies, the “Thin Blue Line” flag of fascism has replaced the American flag.

Early voting in NY

1 Response to “Red-backed Salamander”

  1. 1 Chuck McAlexander October 25, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Perhaps this salamander is just reassuring proof that in spite of our best efforts to defeat and destroy it, nature is stubbornly and successfully persisting.

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