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Desmognathus fuscus

Common Name: Northern Dusky Salamander
Desmognathus fuscus
Desmognathus fuscus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Urodela
Family: Plethodontidae
Genus: Desmognathus
Species: Desmognathus fuscus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Northern dusky salamanders are usually gray to brown color, with darker black markings along the back. They have hind legs that are larger than their front and can grow up to 2-4 inches in length.

Habitat & Range

Northern dusky salamanders live in rocky creeks, seeps, and springs throughout central-eastern parts of Canada and the United States. As larvae, they are mostly aquatic and remain in pools of water. As adults, they are terrestrial and will remain near edges of water to forage and nest.


In shaded canopy areas, dusky salamanders will leave their hiding spot to forage despite almost any weather condition. In areas with direct sunlight, they will spend most of their time hiding under burrows and emerge at night to forage.

Life Cycle

Dusky salamanders are late breeders and undergo extensive courtship rituals, with males performing various behaviors to impress the female. Females will lay their eggs in damp soil and aggressively guard the eggs until they hatch. Larvae are born with functioning limbs and gills, but are predominantly aquatic and will remain in the water.

Featured image by James Dake.


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