Brush aside some wet leaves, roll a log, or overturn a stone nearby, and you’ll have a good chance of spotting a red-backed or lead-backed salamander.
Each is simply a coloring variation of the Northern Red-Backed Salamander.
Just about finger-length and thin, these salamanders have been particulary abundant under the driveway’s wet fall leaves.
Lately, in the canopy shade of spring days, we’ve discovered them in various damp places, often where the lungless salamanders can moisten their thin skin for breathing and maybe unwind from nocturnal insect-hunting adventures.
I uncovered these two by tugging at a garlic mustard plant rooting under a shade stone.
It was a happy occasion.
Compared to the common lead-back, the red-backed variety is rare among the salamanders we meet.