Introduction

Plethodon - from the New Latin word plethein, meaning to be full and odon, chiefly the name of genera in Zoology. Pertains to the New World terrestrial salamanders that lay large yolk filled eggs and do not pass through an aquatic larval period.

cinereus - ash colour (Latin) pertaining to the lead-backed phase

Despite its name, this salamander's back is not always red!

The red-backed salamander is common in the forests Canada. The common name describes its abundance in eastern North America as well as its appearance, but contrary to its name, the red-backed salamander does not always have a red back, as two colour forms are present: the red back and a more iridescent lead back. This salamander avoids water despite its lack of lungs, and relies on obtaining all of its oxygen through its skin. This family of salamanders has a sticky pad at the anterior tip of its tongue, and the tongue is supported by a skeleton. The red-backed salamander shoots the tongue and this part of its skeleton out of its mouth, which acts as a projectile to capture prey.