Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
Plethodon yonahlossee is characterized by its large size and its distinct, rust-colored dorsum. The rust coloration, which can appear in shades of brown to red, is typically spotted in juveniles but continuous in adults and contrasts the black ground color (Petranka 1998). The dorsal part of the head is black, whereas the sides of the head and trunk are black with white and rust colored flecking. Plethodon yonahlossee is the largest member of the eastern North American Plethodon. Males have an average snout-to-vent length (SL) of 6.7 cm, while females are dramatically larger, 7.2 cm (Pope 1950). The total adult length is between 11-22 cm, with 16 costal grooves (Petranka 1998).
Plethodon yonahlossee belongs to the glutinosus group of the tribe Plethodontini of lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae). There is an uncertain phylogenetic placement of P. yonahlossee within the P. glutinosus group of slimy salamanders (see Allan Larsons page on the Tree of Life website). While P. yonahlossee is a member of the glutinosus group, it is morphologically and biochemically distinct from other members of the glutinosus or jordani complexes (Highton and Peabody 2000). Guttman et al. (1978) assigned the crevice salamander, P. longicrus, to P. yonahlossee based on morphological and allozyme evidence. However, some workers still regard P. longicrus as a distinct species due to its characteristic rocky habitat (reviewed in Petranka 1998).