This species is highly variable in color and pattern. In Virginia, it is generally black above, with a red patch on the side of the head, red legs, and the lower sides and belly dull bluish-gray. This salamander grows to a length of 3.5 to 5 inches. They court slowly in the fall and deposit a single highly successful spermatophore.
This salamander is found in the Appalachian mountains in southwest Virginia. It inhabits the forest floor and is active on the surface at night when the humidity is high and temperatures are mild. During the day it occupies burrows under stones and logs, or tunnels formed by rotted roots. This species is normally found above 3000 feet.
Nothing is recorded about the diet but it probably eats small invertebrates.