Virginia has more than 40 emblems that represent the state’s cultural heritage and natural resources, from the beloved northern cardinal and big-eared bat to the tiger swallowtail butterfly and nelsonite, Virginia’s official rock.
Now, another state emblem has become law — the official state red salamander. The striking crimson amphibian was selected because of its beautiful coloration, widespread distribution throughout the commonwealth, and its ability to raise awareness about the conservation of a species that depends on a clean environment.
The amphibian is a member of a group of lungless salamanders that breathe through their skin. Because of their unique respiration, their environment needs to be free of toxins or they will absorb pollutants through their skin.