Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander
Desmognathus orestes

Common Name:

Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander

Scientific Name:

Desmognathus orestes



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


orestes is a Latin mythological name, the son of Agamemnon a mountaineer. This refers to the habitat of the species.

Average Length:

2.8 - 4.3 in (7 - 11 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

Virginia Wildlife Action Plan Rating Tier IV: - Moderate Conservation Need - The species may be rare in parts of its range, particularly on the periphery. Populations of these species have demonstrated a significant declining trend or one is suspected which, if continued, is likely to qualify this species for a higher tier in the foreseeable future. Long-term planning is necessary to stabilize or increase populations.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Members of the D. ochrophaeus complex are very similar in appearance. It is a medium-sized salamander. Dorsal color pattern could be blotched or wavy with stripes and varies from light brown through shades of yellow and bright red. This species can be easily confused with others.*11305* It is confined to the mountainous, forested habitats in the Blue Ridge Province from Mt. Rogers and Floyd County.

REPRODUCTION: Adults mate in spring, late summer and autumn. Eggs are deposited in grape-like clusters in depressions under logs, rocks, leaf litter or moss mats which are close to streams or seeps.*11305*

References for Life History

  • 11305 - Petranka, J.W., 1998, Salamanders of the United States and Canada, 587 pp. pgs., Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC


*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.

Verified County/City Occurrence

Buchanan County
Carroll County
Floyd County
Grayson County
Patrick County
Russell County
Smyth County
Tazewell County
Washington County
Wythe County
Verified in 10 Counties/Cities.

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