This species occurs in the USA and Canada, on ridges of the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province, including Brumley, Clinch, Walker, and Potts mountains of southwestern Virginia; Cumberland Mountains and Plateau of southeastern Kentucky, and the Allegheny Mountains and Plateau of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York through the Adirondack Mountains to southern Quebec (Tilley and Mahoney 1996). Additional populations exist in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee and extending as far as western North Carolina and northern Georgia (Anderson and Tilley 2003, COSEWIC 2007).
Habitat and Ecology
It can be found at lower elevations and in winter it usually concentrates near seepage areas, springs, and small streams. Animals may range into adjacent wooded areas in wet weather. It is more terrestrial at higher elevations, characteristic inhabitant of floor of spruce-fir forests. It is often abundant on wet rock faces. Eggs are laid in wet rock crevices or under rocks, logs, or moss in seepage areas or near small streams. The larvae develop in water.
Total adult population size is unknown but probably exceeds 100,000. There are not sufficient data to determine population trends.
There are no major threats of widespread significance. Potential future threats include groundwater extraction which limits the volume of water available in the species habitat.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
Populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee that were previously known as this species were assigned to Desmognathus abditus (Anderson and Tilley 2003).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2015. Desmognathus ochrophaeus. In: IUCN 2014