E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Plethodon idahoensis Slater & Slipp, 1940
Coeur D'Alene Salamander
Family: Plethodontidae

Species account author: Hugh Griffith and Brent Matsuda.
Photo of species

© William Leonard  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5255)

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Distribution of Plethodon idahoensis in British Columbia
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Species Information

The Coeur d'Alene Salamander is a member of the lungless Plethodontidae, a family of small, slender terrestrial salamanders which do not have an aquatic life stage.

The salamander has a long, slim body with bulbous eyes that project above its head, and grows to a length of 10-12 cm (BC Ministry of Environment 1998).

This species has a small home range, where it lives year round, hibernating in the winter, and remaining belowground when the temperature falls below 4 degrees C and during very dry weather in the summer; it emerges only at night (BC Ministry of Environment 1998).

Females lay four to twelve eggs in April or May, once every two or three years; each egg is up to five millimetres in diameter (BC Ministry of Environment 1998). This species feeds at night on flies and fly larvae.



Breeding is terrestrial and occurs just before and just after hibertaion, with one to three eggs laid. Hatching occurs in late summer and early fall, however breeding sites are rarely observed (Lohman 2009).

Aquatic and semi-aquatic invertebrates.


The ecology of this species is poorly known, but adults seem to be more closely associated with riparian areas alongside streams flowing through rocky areas and hillside seeps than other members of the genus. It lays eggs on land in damp places, such as beneath or within rotting logs, which are then brooded by the female. As with all members of Plethodontidae, there is no aquatic larval stage.


This species is distributed in disjunct populations throughout northern Idaho, Montana and southeastern B.C. In British Columbia, the Coeur d’Alene Salamander has been found on the east side of Koootenay Lake in the Creston Valley and in one location near the Moyie River (BC Ministry of Environment 1998).


Conservation Concerns

Due to their small population size, the Coeur d’Alene Salamander is threatened by human encroachment into its limited and fragile habitats. As of 1998, fewer than 20 had been found in any location (BC Ministry of Environment 1998). They are sensitivie to logging, land development and resulting habitat fragmentation, and are particularly sensitive to trampling because of their tendency to hide under flat rocks along the water's edge (BC Ministry of Environment 1998).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS4YellowSC (Nov 2007)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

Species References

Lohman, Kirk. 2009. Coeur D'Alene Salmanander Page. In: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2009. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed: Jul 24, 2009).

Additional Reading:

Matsuda, Brent, David M. Green, and Patrick T. Gregory. 2006. Amphibians and Reptiles of British Columbia. Handbook. Royal BC Museum, Victoria.

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2023-09-23 4:18:23 AM]
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