AmphibiaWeb - Desmognathus santeetlah


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Desmognathus santeetlah Tilley, 1981
Santeetlah Dusky Salamander
family: Plethodontidae
subfamily: Plethodontinae
genus: Desmognathus
Desmognathus santeetlah
© 2005 Michael Graziano (1 of 15)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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This species of salamander is can reach up to 45 mm SVL in adult females and 55 mm SVL in adult males. The tail is slightly triangular at its tip. D. santeetlah is usually yellow or greenish along its dorsal region, with the yellow coloration more intense along the ventrolateral area and at the base of the tail. The ventral region may have melanophores and iridophores, producing a mottled appearance among many individuals (Tilley S.G. 2000).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: North Carolina, Tennessee

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (6 records).
Country Distribution from AmphibiaWeb: United States

Desmognathus santeetlah has only been found in the Unicoi, Cheoah, Great Smoky, and Great Balsam mountain ranges in the southwest of Blue Ridge Physiographic Province of North Carolina and Tennessee. Although the range of this species is probably far wider than has been recorded, D. santeetlah is known to occur as far along the Great Balsam Mountains and Pisgah Ledge as Pigeon Gap in Haywood-Transylvania County, North Carolina (Tilley 1981). These salamanders usually inhabit seepages and small streams above 1000 m (Tilley S.G. 2000).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Santeetlah refers to the geographical features near the type locality of the salamanders, the Unicoi Mountains. These features are Lake Santeetlah, Santeetlah Gap, and the Big Santeetlah and Little Santeetlah creeks. This word is thought to mean "blue water" in Cherokee (Powell 1968).


Powell, W. S. (1968). The North Carolina Gazetteer. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

Tilley, S. G. (1981). ''A new species of Desmognathus (Amphibia: Caudata: Plethodontidae) from the southern Appalachian Mountains.'' Occassional Papers of the Museusm of Zoology University of Michigan, (695), 1-23.

Tilley, S. G. (2000). ''Desmognathus santeetlah.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 703.1-703.3.

Originally submitted by: Elizabeth Reisman (first posted 2001-04-25)
Edited by: Tate Tunstall (2003-12-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2003 Desmognathus santeetlah: Santeetlah Dusky Salamander <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jun 18, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Jun 2024.

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