Spotted Dusky SalamanderDesmognathus conanti
Formally considered a subspecies, along with Northern Dusky Salamander, of the Dusky Salamander, the Spotted Dusky Salamander coloration is variable from tan to brown to nearly black. It frequently has 6 to 8 pairs of golden or reddish dorsal spots, which are normally separated. This salamander is medium-sized (2.5-5 inches) and has a moderately keeled tail.
Closely related to 2 other species, Northern Dusky Salamander and Santeetlah Dusky Salamander, best distinguished by their ranges. Santeetlah Duskies usually have a light yellow wash on the underside of the limbs and tail (Spotted does not).
The tail in the Northern Dusky is laterally compressed and strongly keeled, whereas the tail is moderately keeled in both the Spotted and Santeetlah Dusky salamanders.
This species occurs along small lowland streams and in seepage areas.
Earthworms, spiders, mites, centipedes, millipedes, and other insects.
Mating occurs in late summer and fall with eggs laid from July to October.
Status in Tennessee:
The Spotted Dusky Salamander appears across most of TN (except extreme Western and North-eastern TN); very abundant at lower elevations (<2600 ft).
Genus name Desmognathus refers to the bulging appearance on the sides of the head due to the large jaw musculature.
Best places to see in Tennessee:
Low elevation streams in the Great Smoky Mountains and Cumberland Plateau.