Northern Dusky Salamander
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Online Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut

Northern Dusky Salamander - Desmognathus fuscus

Description

This is a medium-sized salamander among those found in Connecticut. It reaches an adult size of 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm). Dorsal coloration of adults is usually brown or tan with darker brown markings usually forming a stripe down the middle of the back. Most diagnostic is the dark line extending from the eye to the corner of the mouth. The head is somewhat flattened and rounded with the jaws appearing to be muscular. The tail is “teardrop-shaped” in cross section, with a dorsal fin. The hind legs are more muscular than the front legs enabling this species to jump well, which it will do in attempts to escape.

 

Reproduction

Eggs are laid in clusters beneath rocks near water in middle to late summer. The larvae look essentially like the adults, although the pattern may not develop immediately. Larval development occurs in streams and some individuals will remain in larval form for many years. Paedomorphic individuals are known.

 

Habitat

Usually found in or near clear streams or shallow rivers. It can be found under flat rocks at the edges of such streams. Larvae are often in deeper water.

 

Food

Eats a wide variety of invertebrates.

 

Range

South New Brunswick and Quebec southwest to Louisiana (Behler and King 1979). In Connecticut it is found in every county, but it is not known from every town (Klemens 1993).

 

Status

Has no protected status in Connecticut.

 

References

Behler, J.L. and F.W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Knopf. 719 pp.

Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.

Klemens, MW. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.

 

Credits

Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photographs © Twan Leenders. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Animal featured in photographs on this page is from Connecticut.