Plethodon vehiculum (Cooper, 1860)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Plethodontinae > Genus: Plethodon > Species: Plethodon vehiculum

Ambystoma vehiculum Cooper, 1860, Rep. Upon Explor Surv. Route Railroad Mississippi–Pacific Ocean, 12 (Book 2, Pt. 3, No. 4): viii. Type(s): Not stated, although holotype is clearly animal figured on pl. 31, fig. 4 in the original publication. Type locality: "Astoria, [Clatsop County,] Oregon", USA. See identificatory comment by Highton, 1962, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 6: 265.

Plethodon intermedius Baird In Cope, 1868 "1867", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 19: 209-210. Holotype: USNM 4732 according to Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 147; Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 20, referred to USNM 4732a as a "co-type" (syntypes in this context). Type locality: "Fort Tejon, [Kern County,] Cal[ifornia]."; in error according to Van Denburgh, 1916, Proc. California Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 6: 218. Synonymy by Highton, 1962, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 6: 265.

Plethodon vehiculusBishop, 1934, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 47: 171.

Plethodon vehiculumSlater, 1940, Occas. Pap. Dept. Biol. Puget Sound, 9: 43.

Plethodon (Hightonia) vehiculumVieites, Román, Wake, and Wake, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 59: 632.

English Names

Vancouver Island Lizard (Plethodon intermedius [no longer recognized]: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 21).

Western Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon intermedius[no longer recognized]: Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 43).

Western Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon vehiculum: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 278; Stebbins, 1951, Amph. W. North Am.: 84; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 39; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 175; Stebbins, 1966, Field Guide W. North Am. Rept. Amph.: 41; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 29; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 170; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 30; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 32).

Western Redback Salamander (Plethodon vehiculum: Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 8; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 33; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 9; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 14).


Chiefly west of Cascade Range crest from southwestern British Columbia (Canada), including Vancouver Island, to Coos County, near sea level to 1250 m elevation, Oregon (USA).


In the Plethodon vehiculum group of Highton and Larson, 1979, Syst. Zool., 28: 579–599. See accounts by Storm and Brodie, 1971, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 103: 1–2, and Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 403–407. Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 170, provided a brief account, figure, and map. Bury, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 848–849, provided a detailed account that summarized the biology and conservation literature. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 407, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Pelletier and Carstens, 2016, J. Biogeograph., 43: 2237–2249, reported on Pleistocene biogeography. 

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