Black-bellied Salamander
Desmognathus quadramaculatus

  • Black-bellied Salamander
  • Black-bellied Salamander
  • Black-bellied Salamander
  • Black-bellied Salamander Venter
Black-bellied Salamander1 Black-bellied Salamander2 Black-bellied Salamander3 Black-bellied Salamander Venter4

Common Name: Black-bellied Salamander
Scientific Name: Desmognathus quadramaculatus
Genus: desmos is Greek for  "ligament",  gnathos is Greek for "jaw"  - This refers to the bundle of ligaments holding the jaw.
 Species: quadrus is Latin and means "four-fold", maculatus is Latin and meaning "spotted". This refers to the four rows of small light spots (two rows on each side of the salamander).
Average Length: 3.9 - 6.9 in. (10 - 17.5 cm)
Virginia Record Length:   
Record length: 8.3 in (21 cm)


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This species is from 100-210 mm. It is large, robust brown or dark greenish gray back with a black belly, a short, keeled tail and two rows of conspicuous white spots usually visible on each side of the trunk. The subadults belly is unpigmented and older subadults have patches of black interspersed with areas of yellowish white *1014*. This is the largest member of the genus *970*.

REPRODUCTION: The eggs are laid in the spring and summer with a clutch size of 26 *1014*. The eggs are attached singly to the lower surface of a support, usually a stone and may be either submerged beneath the surface of the water or suspended above it. Each egg is attached by a slender pedicel, an extension of the outermost of the two jelly envelopes *1009*. The eggs hatch in summer or early fall *1014,1009*. Eggs are attached on the undersides of rocks or onto tree roots in the gravel in streams; egg clusters ranged from 21 to 62 eggs *10812*.

BEHAVIOR: The adults prefer large turbulent brooks, living under stones and in crevices in the splash zone. The larvae and juveniles inhabit spring seep tributaries *1014* in and along the mountain streams above 2500 feet *1009*. The population density is associated with available streambed rock substrate *888*. This species is found in swift mountain streams. The eggs are laid under rocks or logs in streams. The female stays with the eggs until hatching and the larval period is 24 months *1014,1009*.

References for Life History




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Ventral View
Pulaski Co.


Verified County/City Occurrence

Alleghany County
Amherst County
Bedford County
Bland County
Carroll County
Craig County
Floyd County
Franklin County
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Grayson County
Henry County
Montgomery County
Patrick County
Pulaski County
Rockbridge County
Smyth County
Washington County
Wise County
Wythe County
Verified in 19 Counties/Cities.

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