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Black Mountain Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Desmognathus welteri

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 6.75 inches

Identifying Characteristics

The Black Mountain Salamander is usually light brown with varying amounts of black to dark brown spotting on the back. The belly is whitish with light brown to gray speckling. The gradation from the darker back to the lighter belly is very gradual. The tips of the toes are dark colored.


The Black Mountain Salamander occurs in far western Virginia, from Smyth and Grayson counties westward. They inhabit small to moderate streams with rocky substrates, but may forage in surrounding forests on wet evenings.

Role in the Web of Life

Mating probably occurs in spring. In June, females deposit 20–30 eggs in clusters inside leaf-litter packs and under rocks and logs along stream banks, and will attend the eggs until they hatch in September. Larvae transform the following summer. Adults feed on a variety of invertebrates.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: January 22, 2024

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Species Profile Database serves as a repository of information for Virginia’s fish and wildlife species. The database is managed and curated by the Wildlife Information and Environmental Services (WIES) program. Species profile data, distribution information, and photography is generated by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, State and Federal agencies, Collection Permittees, and other trusted partners. This product is not suitable for legal, engineering, or surveying use. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources does not accept responsibility for any missing data, inaccuracies, or other errors which may exist. In accordance with the terms of service for this product, you agree to this disclaimer.