AmphibiaWeb - Desmognathus auriculatus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Desmognathus auriculatus (Holbrook, 1838)
Southern Dusky Salamander
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Plethodontinae
genus: Desmognathus

© 2010 Todd Pierson (1 of 9)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
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National Status None
Regional Status None
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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).

The length of D. auriculatus ranges from 80 to 164 mm. Its coloration is brown to almost black with two rows of white or reddish-orange spots on either side of the body. Its laterally compressed tail also has a reddish-orange stripe down the center. The belly is dark brown, spotted with white or pale yellow flecks. The gills are bushy and pigmented, with 30 to 43 filaments on each side (Martof et al. 1980). Distinguishing characteristics of D. auriculatus include a light line from the eye to the angle of the jaw, a throat region that is only slightly lighter than the rest of the belly, and a tail that measures 1/2 of its total body length (Carr and Goin 1955).

The larvae are brown to almost black in color. The throat and belly are clear, and they have a row of spots down the center of the back to the tail (Ashton and Ashton 1988).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (1 records).

The Southern Dusky Salamander is chiefly found in on the outer Coastal Plain, from southeastern Virginia to central Florida, and also from western to eastern Texas. In Florida, this salamander can be found westward to Apalachoicola River and southward to Alachua County. It prefers to live in stagnant pools of water or coastal swamps which are often mucky and acidic from decomposing organic matter (Conant and Collins 1998).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

The females lay their eggs in the summer, depositing clusters of 9 to 20 eggs in cavities under moss or between rotting logs near the water. They will remain with the eggs until they hatch, which is around early fall. Larval transformation occurs in late spring (Martof et al. 1980).

Desmognathus auriculatus is easily confused with D. fuscus , the Dusky Salamander, but D. fuscus has a lighter belly, with less conspicuous spots. (Martof et al. 1980).


Ashton, R. E. and Ashton, P. S. (1988). Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida. Part Three, The Amphibians.. Windward Publishing, Miami.

Carr, A. and Goin, C. J. (1955). Guide to the Reptiles, Amphibians, and Fresh-Water Fishes of Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainsville.

Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Martof, B. S., Palmer, W. M., Bailey, J. R., Harrison III, J. R. (1980). Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. The University of North Carolina Press, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Originally submitted by: Theresa Ly (first posted 2001-04-25)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2008-02-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Desmognathus auriculatus: Southern Dusky Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 May 2024.

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