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Northern Dusky Salamander

Fact File

Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 5.5 inches

Identifying Characteristics

This species is extremely variable in coloration, but is typically gray to brown on the back, and may have a brownish stripe down the center of the back, bordered by black. The belly is cream-colored with black and white speckling. All but the base of the tail is triangular in cross section. They have a light eye to jaw stripe, and the rear legs are larger than the front.


This species occurs statewide, except for the Eastern Shore. They inhabit streams and their floodplains, and the margins of seeps and swamps.

Did You Know?

Stream breeding salamanders typically have short, reduced gills in comparison to pond breeders.

Role in the Web of Life

This species can be found under rocks, logs, and other debris along streams, and other muddy areas. They forage at night on a variety of invertebrates. Mating can occur in the fall or spring. Females lay their eggs in small depressions under cover objects along their home waterway. Larvae metamorphose in late summer or fall.


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.