This is a small, slender salamander that has a broad dorsal band that is bright greenish-yellow to orange-yellow, with small black flecks forming a line down each side. The sides below this dark stripe are uniformly grayish or mottled. There is a glandular protuberance on the base of the tail in the adult males. The adult can grow to lengths of 6.5-12 cm. Breeding occurs in the fall and eggs are laid in the winter and spring. The eggs are deposited on the undersurfaces of rocks, logs, usually in running water. The female remains with the eggs until hatching.
This salamander is found in the northern and northwestern part of Virginia. Adults inhabit margins of small, rocky streams and seeps, hiding beneath stones and logs. They may also occur in upland forested habitats. Coastal plain populations are found in bottomland hardwood swamps. In breeding season, adults are found in streams beneath stones or debris. Larvae live in slow-moving pools in streams.
Larvae forage on the bottom of streams for small aquatic invertebrates, such as insect larvae. Adults and juveniles come out at night to prey on small invertebrates along streambanks or on the forest floor.