***NAME CHANGE AS OF 2022. ONE OF FOUR NEW SPECIES SPLIT FROM THE NOW INVALID "BLACK-BELLIED SALAMANDER (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)***
Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 4 - 8 inches
Range: Southern Blue Ridge
Status: Least Concern
Though common in springs and creeks in the southern Blue Ridge, the newly named Kanawha Blackbelly Salamander is a true herper’s salamander. They are big, beautiful Duskies, aptly named for their deep, dark gray venter. This species can often be found under rocks and logs, that are down along rocky rivers, streams, and ditches.
This species has a very frog-like face, with large eyes that are set very forward on their head. Their back has a unique orange and black camouflage-type patterns, often with two rows of orange, lateral spots that fade with age. They usually have a row of sub-lateral spots down the flanks or a granite texture. Their tail is noticeably flat, and keeled.
Similar Species: Northern Duskies are similar, but their head shape and pattern are very different; as well as having a white, cream, or textured belly. The Seal Salamander has a gray venter as well, but they have a spotted dorsal pattern as adults, and larger, alternating spots as juveniles.
Maps and External Sources
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.