Common Name: Dusky Salamander

Scientific Name: Desmognathus fuscus


Kingdom: Animalia

Phyla: Chordata

Class: Amphibia

Order: Caudata

Family: Plethodontidae

Genus: Desmognathus

Species: D. fuscus


My report is on the Desmognathus fuscus, also known as the dusky salamander. Dusky salamanders are usually 2.5” long, to 4.5” long. D. fuscus is widely varied in colors, and the dorsal surface is marked with a yellowish-gray/tan stripe, which is bordered by irregular black or dark brown stripes. Young ones, or juveniles, have 5-8 yellow or red dots that fade with age. Their tail is laterally compressed and they have a yellow line that goes from their jaw to their eye.


The D. fuscus primarily eats spiders, small insects, centipedes, isopods, such as woodlice, and oligochaetes. Dusky salamanders are preyed upon by raccoons, birds, striped skunks, shrews family, water snakes, garter snakes, spring salamanders and red salamanders. Their skin is not that toxic, so they rely on their speed, jumping ability, slimy skin, and the ability to lose their tail and regenerate it. Juveniles, however, have been known to squeeze under rocks or jump into the water.


Dusky salamanders live in northern North America, including Virginia, Quebec, the Carolinas, or basically anywhere with a stream or river. They need to be near water because they need moist skin so they can breathe, as they are lungless.


There are easily 100,000 in the world easily. As such, they are not really world endangered, but they are endangered in Illinois. They seem to be growing in some places, and shrinking in others.


I learned that it is a lung less lizard, so they have to be near water to live. I also learned that they are divided into Northern and Southern Dusky salamanders. I learned their habitats, and that they are endangered in some places, and common in wooded areas. I hope you are duly impressed and that you learned some things too.


Author: Gregory G.

Date Published: February 2010



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