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black-bellied salamander

(Desmognathus quadramaculatus)


This is large, robust, lungless salamander. It is brown or dark greenish gray with a black belly, a short, keeled tail and two rows of conspicuous white spots usually visible on each side of the trunk. The eggs are laid in the spring and summer with a clutch size of 26. The eggs are attached singly to the lower surface of a support, usually a stone and may be either submerged beneath the surface of the water or suspended above it. This salamander hides under rocks during the day or swims vigorously away. When caught, it may give a painless but startling bite.


This salamander is found in mountain streams of the Ridge and Valley region of Virginia. It is restricted to mainstem rivers and tributaries with permanent water. It is found in great numbers in mountain streams above 2,500 feet.


This group of lungless salamanders forages for food amongst debris, rocks, wood and litter.