This is a large salamander that reaches lengths of 10-18 cm. It has a black stripe down the middle of the back that is bordered by yellow-orange to yellow-brown bands. There is another dark brown to black stripe along the side. The belly is mottled with green-gray and white blotches. The sides of tail have vertical black bars that may merge into a wavy band. Breeding occurs in standing water habitats, often spring-fed, in late fall and early winter. Females apparently deposit eggs in underground cavities in or near streams or seeps, as the eggs are rarely found.
This species occurs in the coastal plain and piedmont regions, generally at elevations below 800 meters. It is most abundant in floodplain forests, or under logs and rocks along streams, ditches, vernal ponds, and seeps.
The larvae eat small invertebrates in the vernal ponds, streams, and ditches in which they live. Adults eat terrestrial insects, worms, snails, and other small invertebrates.