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Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 4 inches

Distribution: Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders are found in the western, montane counties in high elevation mix hardwood forests. They are frequently found at a distance from streams, presumably to avoid predation by larger species of Desmognathus.

Identifying Characteristics

This smaller Dusky Salamander is highly variable in coloration. The back may be light to dark gray, but a broad yellow, brown or red stripe may be present. Large adults may be a uniform dark gray. The tail is rounded in cross section, all the way to the tip.

Did You Know?

Adults will aggressively defend their territory against other salamanders, including members of their own species.

Role in the Web of Life

Mating occurs in spring, summer or fall. Females attach their eggs to the roof of a small underground depression, and remain with them until hatching. Larvae live in seeps or shallow slow-moving portions of streams for several weeks to eight months before metamorphosis. They feed on small invertebrates. Adults emerge from cover just after sunset and actively move about in search of small terrestrial invertebrates.

Conservation

Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021