Mountain Dusky Salamander

(Desmognathus ochrophaeus)

Distribution of the Mountain Dusky Salamander (from the AR MI Atlas)

An adult Mountain Dusky Salamander.

Description: The presence of a straight-edged, light middorsal stripe extending from the head to the tail best differentiates this species from the closely related Northern Dusky Salamander. The stripe may be colored gray, brown, yellow, orange, or red, and may change throughout an animal’s lifetime. Darker areas border the stripe and the sides of the animal are usually mottled. As with other members of this genus, a light line extends from the nostril to the angle of the jaws.
Distribution in Ohio: Found only in eight counties in extreme northeastern Ohio.
Status in Ohio: Locally abundant within its range.
Habitat: Small creeks, headwater streams, and hemlock ravines are the preferred habitat. The Mountain Dusky Salamander is often found on forested hillsides some distance from a source of water.
Life history: Female Mountain Dusky Salamanders attach a cluster of 12 eggs to the underside of a rock in a seepage bank sometime between March and September. The aquatic larvae hatch in October and complete metamorphosis 4-6 months later. Three years later, they reach sexual maturity and may live to be 15 years old.
Conservation: Populations of Mountain Dusky Salamanders are most threatened by destruction, disturbance, or pollution of their small aquatic habitats, including ravines, creeks, and headwater streams. Pollution, runoff, and stream channelization and scouring are all major threats to these habitats in Ohio. Removal of forests in their habitats increases siltation, water temperature, and evaporation, and alters the prey base and foraging opportunities for the species.

Last modified:
Thursday, May 05, 2005

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