Southern Zigzag Salamander
Plethodon ventralis

Common Name:

Southern Zigzag Salamander

Scientific Name:

Plethodon ventralis



plethore is Greek meaning "fullness or full of",  odon is Greek for "teeth". Referring to  the number of paravomerine and vomerine teeth.


ventralis is Latin meaning "of the belly".

Average Length:

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier II - Very High Conservation Need - Has a high risk of extinction or extirpation. Populations of these species are at very low levels, facing real threat(s), or occur within a very limited distribution. Immediate management is needed for stabilization and recovery.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species is brownish to reddish salamander with red zig-zag marks down the entire length of the body. The body is speckled with bluish-white spots. The belly is usually lighter in color with the same bluish-white spots. The head is slender, and the sides behind the eyes slightly converge to the lateral extensions of the gular fold. The snout is bluntly pointed.

REPRODUCTION: Females deposit eggs shortly after moving to underground retreats in late spring or early summer. Eggs are attached within cave formations by sticky membranes. Incubation is about 3 months. Average clutch size is approximately 5 ova.*11305* Habitat: Talus slopes are very important to this species as well as rock crevices that provide access to deep underground passages. This may be important for overwintering.*11305*

References for Life History

  • 1009 - Bishop, S.C., 1943, Handbook of Salamanders, 555 pgs., Comstock Publ. Co., New York, NY
  • 3067 - Conant, R., 1978, Field guide to reptiles and amphibans of eastern and central North America 2nd.ed., 429 pgs., Houghton Mifflin, Boston


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Verified County/City Occurrence

Scott County
Washington County
Verified in 2 Counties/Cities.


Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.


We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.


Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.


The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.


Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.