This is a small salamander with a short tail. The adult is 2.5-3.75 inches in length, yellowish brown, and has light and dark streaks or lines on the lower sides. An indistinct band of dark spots runs through the eye to the tail. The belly is pale dusky yellow with scattered brown flecks. The head is small, narrow and flattened. They have a relatively short tail that is keeled and laterally compressed. In midwinter, the female deposits a clutch of 60 eggs that hatch in early spring. The female deposits the eggs on aquatic moss, twigs, or under the surface of submerged logs. She remains with the eggs until hatching.
This salamander is widespread and abundant in the Coastal Plain south of the James River. It inhabits swamps and shallow cypress or gum ponds in savannahs. It is aquatic, and in dry weather the adult hides under leaf litter, sphagnum mats, or rotten logs. It is most abundant in pools, slow streams, and swampy woods.
A wide variety of invertebrates are taken, with amphipods, isopods, chironomids, and ostracods the most common prey items.