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Southern Dusky Salamander
Desmognathus auriculatus
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Desmognathus auriculatus - Southern Dusky Salamander
Appearance: Salamanders in the genus Desmognathus (dusky salamanders) can be very difficult to distinguish. Fortunately, D. auriculatus is the only dusky salamander present in most of its range. This dusky salamander is dark brown or black dorsally, with a grayish brown or black belly. One or two rows of light spots (sometimes called "portholes") run lengthwise along each side of the body.  A light line is present on each side of the head connecting the eye and the angle of the jaw, a characteristic which distinguishes the dusky salamanders. Adult length is about four inches.

Habits and Habitat: Dusky salamanders typically prefer habitats associated with mature hardwood forests and with access to slowly moving water, such as near springs, seeps or small streams.  Standing water habitats are used less frequently. This species spends a significant amount of time in waterside burrows.

Reproduction/Egg Description: Nests are almost always located within a few meters of water, and are usually found under moss, logs, or in small depressions or cavities. Eggs are usually laid in small, grapelike clusters of 15-20 eggs, which females may guard during development.

Distribution and Abundance: D. auriculatus occupies the Coastal Plain region from southeastern Virginia south to the northern half of Florida and west to east Texas. Little is known about the status of this salamander, but there are reports of locally declining populations.

SE ARMI Index Sites: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.



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Page Last Modified: Friday, 14-Dec-2012 13:09:22 EST