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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Black Mountain Salamander, Desmognathus welteri


Note:  Dusky Salamanders (genus Desmognathus) are extremely difficult to identify due to their highly varied patterns and coloration. They can be distinguished from many other types of Lungless Salamanders by the presence of a light line stretching from the corner of the mouth to the eye. The patterns on these salamanders change with age and show a high degree of variability both among individuals in a population and among different areas of their range. If you find a specimen in the field first look at the range maps in an identification guide to narrow your search to species found in your area. Dusky Salamanders have aquatic larvae.


A husky bodied salamander, the Black Mountain Salamander reaches lengths around 5 inches. The Black Mountain Salamander resembles the Seal Salamander, but the belly is heavily marked with gray or black spots on a whitish background color. Their dorsal surface is generally a pale to medium brown with a light pattern that is generally faded out. Sometimes there are faint dots between the legs on each side of the body. These dots can just be seen on this individual in front of the right hind leg. Like other salamanders in this genus, the Black Mountain Salamander is a highly aquatic species frequenting brooks, streams, and springs in wooded areas of its range.

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