This is a large salamander that produces sticky secretions from the tail when handled. The entire ventral surface is slate-colored; the back and sides are darker and sprinkled with silvery-white or metallic gold markings. The total length is 11.5-20.5 cm. The average egg is 5.5 mm in diameter, creamy white, and are often suspended from the ceiling of a cavity, such as a crevice of a shale bank, but may be deposited under rotten logs or moss. In the coastal plain, the eggs are laid annually in the late summer or fall. In the mountains, the eggs are laid every other spring. This species may be found under rocks or logs during the day, or wandering the forest floor at night.
This is a terrestrial forest species found statewide in Virginia. It is locally abundant in many areas in the coastal plain, where it inhabits bottomland hardwoods and other wet woods. This species is found among stones, in crevices in shale banks, along the sides of wooded gullies and ravines or in moist humus.
Adults feed at night and on a wide variety of invertebrates.