Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus fuscus)

Northern dusky salamander, Fridley's Gap, Virginia

Adult, Lost River State Park, West Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Northern dusky salamander, Fridley's Gap, Virginia

Northern Dusky Salamander, Lost River State Park, West Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Northern dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
Photo © by Dave Huth, some rights reserved. Click image for licensing information.

Northern Dusky Salamander, juvenile, Fridley's Gap, Virginia

Juvenile, Fridley’s Gap, Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

juvenile Northern dusky salamander, Fridley's Gap, Virginia
Juvenile, Fridley’s Gap, Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Dusky salamander eggs, developing
Photo © by Dave Huth, some rights reserved. Click image for licensing information.

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) guarding a clutch of eggs
Photo © by Dave Huth, some rights reserved. Click image for licensing information.

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)
Photo © by Dave Huth, some rights reserved. Click image for licensing information.

Northern Dusky Salamander, Lost River State Park

Adult, Lost River State Park, West Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Northern Dusky Salamander, Lost River State Park

Adult, Lost River State Park, West Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Northern Dusky Salamander, Fridley's Gap, Virginia

Adult, Fridley’s Gap, Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing

Northern Dusky Salamander, Fridley's Gap, Virginia

Adult, Fridley’s Gap, Virginia

Photograph © Steven David Johnson (All Rights Reserved)
Contact Steven David Johnson for image licensing


Text from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Characteristics

This is one of the most common salamanders in North America. It is a medium-sized species, 2.5 to 4.5 inches in length, with a laterally compressed and keeled tail and a light line from the eye to the jaw. The back is yellowish-brown to nearly black, often without a dorsal band. If the dorsal band is present then it has irregular edges or is limited on either side by dark-edged worm-like markings. The sides are usually without a series of small light dots. In courtship, the male applies the snout, cheeks, and mental gland to the snout of the female, who usually responds by picking up a spermatophore. The eggs are deposited in small compact clusters of 12-26, and cling to one another by extensions of the outer envelope. The eggs are found in June, July, and August, and are attended by the female. This species occasionally enters the water, but is largely terrestrial. It seldom wanders far from running or trickling water.

Distribution

It is abundant in stream, springs, seepages in bottomland forests and wooded ravines throughout most of Virginia. It is rare in the ridge and valley region above 1200 feet elevation. This salamander inhabits a variety of habitats, both aquatic and semi-aquatic.

Foods

This species feeds primarily on small insects, spiders, isopods, centipedes and oligochaetes.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).

Map from the U. S. Geological Survey: 

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