This is a slender species up to 13 cm in length. The dorsum is black or very dark brown with abundant brassy metallic spots or blotches occasionally forming an irregular stripe. The sides and ventral surface are plain, dark gray to black. The body has purplish reflections due to blood and visceral pigments and the body and tail are slender and elongate. The body and tail base is rounded, slightly flattened, and has a median dorsal impressed line. The number of mature ova averages 11.5. The reported clutch size is ten.
This salamander is found in localities along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is endemic to the Peaks of Otter region in central Virginia. This species has one of the most restricted ranges of any salamander in the United States. The entire range is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Botetourt and Bedford counties between Apple Orchard Mountain and the Sharp Top Mountain. They are found under downed logs, among wet leaves in middle to late successional stages of deciduous (oak, maple) woodland at elevations above 760 meters.
This species will consume almost any invertebrate available.