Weller’s SalamanderPlethodon welleri
The Weller's salamander is found in extreme northeast TN in higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Description: A small salamander (2.5 to 3.2 inches in length) with a black dorsum washed with gold or silver colored blotches, suggestive of a metallic look. The belly is black with numerous small white spots.
Similar Species: None.
Habitat: Primarily under logs, rocks, and talus rock of spruce-fir forests above 5000 ft, occasionally down to 2500 ft.
Diet: Includes spiders, ticks, mites, springtails, aphids, butterflies, flies, and beetles.
Breeding information: Adults breed in spring and fall. Females lay 4-11 eggs under moss mats overlaying rotten conifer logs during late summer or early fall. Females remain with the eggs to guard until hatching.
Status in Tennessee: Surveys indicate populations are declining. It is currently listed as “In Need of Management” by TWRA. Vulnerable to spruce-fir forest die-offs.
- Named after Worth Hamilton Weller, a young naturalist who died on Grandfather Mountain, NC while collecting salamanders.
Best places to see in Tennessee: Spruce-fir forests above 5000 ft in northeast TN.