Black Mountain Salamander
Desmognathus welteri

Common Name:

Black Mountain Salamander

Scientific Name:

Desmognathus welteri



desmos is Greek for  "ligament",  gnathos is Greek for "jaw"  - This refers to the bundle of ligaments holding the jaw.


welteri is in honor of  Dr. Wilfred August Welter (1906-1939).

Average Length:

3 - 5 in. (7.5 - 12. 5 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

6.7 in. (17 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: 80-170 mm; brown; usually with scattered dark spots but occasionally uniformly tan above; venter is yellow, lightly mottled with dark pigment; toes dark-tipped *1014*.

REPRODUCTION: Clutch=26; eggs laid in spring and summer *1014*. Habitat: Large turbulent brooks; live under stones and crevices in splash zone; larvae and juveniles inhabit spring seep tributaries *1014*; found in mountain springs, brooks, and pools; under stones and logs either in or near water *2077*; female coils around eggs; larval stage lasts nearly 2 years *1014*.

References for Life History

  • 1014 - Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., Harrison, III J.R., 1980, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 264 pgs., UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 2077 - Russ, W.P., 1973, The rare and endangered terrestrial vertebrates of Virginia, Ph.D. dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg, 339 pgs.


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Verified County/City Occurrence

Grayson County
Lee County
Russell County
Scott County
Smyth County
Wise County
Verified in 6 Counties/Cities.

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