southern dusky salamander

(Desmognathus auriculatus)


This is a medium-sized salamander that grows to lengths of 7.5-16 cm. The back is dark brown to black with one or two rows of spots along each side. The belly is gray-brown to black with white speckling. The tail is keeled. The dorsal surface of the tail has an anterior russet band, irregular edges, and often a dorsolateral row of small light dots and a second row on the lower sides between the legs and basal half of the tail. The light mark on the side of head from the eye to the angle of the jaw, is narrow to broad and bright, orange-red to russet. This species lays 9 to 20 eggs in cavities under logs or moss near water. The female stays with the eggs until they hatch in early fall.


This salamander is found in the coastal plain in or near cypress ponds or in stagnant or nearly stagnant pools that are muddy and acid. This species is abundant under leaf litter and rotten logs in swamps and bottomland forests.


This salamander eats small invertebrates.