Western Slimy Salamander

Plethodon albagula
Plethodontidae (lungless salamanders) in the order Caudata (salamanders)

A black, medium-sized woodland salamander with a long rounded tail and numerous silver flecks irregularly distributed over the head, back, limbs and tail. The chin and belly are dark gray. There are usually 16 grooves along the side. This species secretes a thick, very sticky substance that adheres to skin like glue. It causes dust, dirt or bits of dead leaves to stick to one’s hands and is difficult to remove.

Length: 4¾–6¾ inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
They commonly live under rocks or logs in damp ravines and moist, wooded hillsides. During dry summer weather they may retreat underground or burrow into large piles of leaf litter to find a damp place. They venture out of hiding at night or after heavy rains. They have been found in the entrance of Missouri caves.
Small arthropods (such as insects and spiders) and worms.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Throughout the southern half of the state except most counties in the Mississippi Lowlands.
Common. It is important for landowners and other land managers to grasp the importance of fallen logs on the forest floor: Our state’s three species of woodland salamanders require rotten logs for their survival.
Life cycle: 
Eggs are laid in early summer. Females select cool, damp cavities deep in the ground or under rotten logs and attach 10–20 or more eggs to a thin stalk suspended from the ceiling of the cavity. Females remain with the eggs during the incubation period. The eggs probably hatch in late summer or early autumn. There is no aquatic larval stage, and the hatchlings look quite a bit like the adults.
Human connections: 
Missouri has 8 species of lungless salamanders, which take in oxygen through their skin and moist membranes of the mouth. Retiring and seldom-seen, they are one more component of the diverse fauna of our state.
Ecosystem connections: 
Insects often reproduce at astonishing rates, and this and many other insectivorous species naturally control their populations. And despite the sticky mucous that this salamander secretes, it must certainly fall prey to larger predators.
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