The Van Dyke’s salamander is found naturally in west Washington. They are in three disjunct populations: the Willapa Hills, the Olympic Peninsula, and the southern Cascade Range.
They are found in small communities associated with streams, seepages, and rock outcrops. These salamanders are found in areas with frequent rainfall. In the coastal regions, they can be found typically in old forest stands with reasonable levels of wood debris. They use decaying logs and moss-covered stones for nesting habitat. Females lay a clutch of between 7-14 eggs. Van Dyke salamanders feed on small invertebrates.
Plethodon vandykei is a sturdy salamander that can reach a length of up to 4 inches. The feet are wide and somewhat webbed. Behind the eyes, there are parotoid glands. The salamander has a dark and light color phase based on color. Colors included are black, pink, or yellow. Dark phase displays a black background color and a red or yellow stripe on the dorsum with extensions of colors on the sides. The dark phase specimens may also have white flecks on their sides and a throat of yellow. While the light phase displays a tan or yellow color and a stripe that is not clearly defined. They do not have a larval stage and the newly hatched appear as juveniles.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians