Maryland's Salamanders and Newts  (Order Caudata)

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)

Adult Photo of Northern Dusky Salamander courtesy of Brian Gratwicke CC by 2.0

2½ - 4½ in; Record – 5 in.


Difficult to identify due to the highly variable coloration and pattern.

  • Grey to brown body.
  • Many individuals have a light stripe on the back extending from head to tail.
  • Younger individuals may have paired round yellowish spots bordered by a dark wavy band.
  • In older individuals the spots are gone and the wavy band may be indistinguishable from the body color.
  • Two key features:
    1. a light line extends from the eye to the angle of the jaw, and
    2. a keeled tail, somewhat triangular in cross section. Base of tail is typically lighter than the rest of the back.

Habitat Photo for Northern Dusky Salamander
courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
  • Most common along the edges of woodland streams under flat rocks and coarse woody debris.
  • May also be found in springs and seepage areas in woodlands.
  • Usually found in or immediately adjacent to water.

Distribution in Maryland: