Yonahlossee Salamander - Distribution

Distribution

Plethodon yonahlossee can be found in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and small portions of southwest Virginia. Specifically they have been located in Avery, Yancey, and Rutherford counties in North Carolina; Limestone Cove in Unicoi County Tennessee, and Whitetop Mountain Virginia. They are found in a variety of upland wooded habitats. They tend to be located in deciduous forests at high elevations between 437 and 1,737 meters, but tend to be more altitudinally restricted compared to other members of Plethodontidae. They are also commonly found in damp, shaded areas around wooded hillsides and ravines where rock slides are covered with mosses and ferns; areas with old windfalls; and grassy areas near woodlands. A unique population only found in Rutherford county North Carolina occurs near Bat Cave and is often found in rock crevices but is sometimes recognized as a separate species characterized by different coloration and limb morphology- Plethodon longicrus. These bat cave variants may have red of the dorsum prominent, patchy, or even lacking and their sides are dark with light spots. The coloration of the bat cave variant is much darker than the common Plethodon yonahlossee and some scientists still consider them to be a separate species. Furthermore, the variant does not reach sexual maturity like Plethodon yonahlossee but matures according to size. Males must reach greater than 65 mm and females must be greater than 61 mm before being considered mature.

During the day they are they take cover under rotting logs, rocks, or in burrows on the forest floor which are under logs; although it is argued whether or not they create these burrows or just reopen partly eradicated passages. They prefer areas of old windfalls that have shed most of their bark and logs greater than twenty five centimeters in diameter with no more than five to fifteen centimeters of the log below the surface and a thick layer of leaf litter at the interface between the log and the ground. They can also be found active on humid or rainy nights, even crossing the roads in suitable habitat.

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