Seal Salamander
Desmognathus monticola

  • Seal Salamander
  • Seal Salamander
  • Seal Salamander
  • Seal Salamander - Pulaski Co.
Seal Salamander1 Seal Salamander2 Seal Salamander3 Seal Salamander - Pulaski Co.4

Common Name:
Seal Salamander
Scientific Name:
Desmognathus monticola
desmos is Greek for  "ligament",  gnathos is Greek for "jaw"  - This refers to the bundle of ligaments holding the jaw.
monticola is Latin and means "mountaineer" or "highlander". This refers to the habitat where this salamander is found.
Average Length:
3.3 - 5 in. (8.3 - 12.5 cm)
Virginia Record Length: 
Record length:
5.9 in. (14.9 cm)


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Robust; boldly patterned above; pale below; dorsum with strong black or dark brown markings on a ground of buff, gray or light brown; markings are extremely variable; venter white in juveniles becoming lightly and uniformly pigmented in old adults *1008*.

REPRODUCTION: Courtship in fall and spring; males sexually mature at 3.5 years; females sexually mature at 4.5 years; clutch size=27; eggs found June 16-September 4; eggs deposited in late spring and early summer; eggs hatch late summer and fall; remain with eggs through period of development to hatching; sex recognition may be related to aggressive behavior of males towards other males during courtship season; eggs attached either to underside of rocks or tree roots *953*. The eggs are attached individually by a single peduncle *10812*.

BEHAVIOR: Streambank species; inhabits banks of large and small streams at lower elevations; absent from headwaters of streams above 4300 feet; most nests in banks of aquatic sites; nest sites in the vicinity of rotting logs on stream banks; nests in the interstices between rocks; tranformed individuals hide in burrows in stream banks *953*; sometimes found in rocky streams, prefers muddier areas; enters water readily to escape danger *1008*; mainly nocturnal but sometimes appears in open in shady spots during daylight *883*; inhabits banks of swiftly flowing mountain streams *953,3817*.

ORIGIN: Native *953*.

POPULATION PARAMETERS: Survivorship of female similar to that of male *953*.

AQUATIC/TERRESTERIAL ASSOCIATIONS: Desmognathus quadramaculatus *953*; D. ochrophaeus; D. fuscus fuscus *953,1008,3817*; Plethodon cinereus cinereus; P. glutinosus; Rana sylvatica; Eurycea bislineata; Liriodendron sp.; Rhododendron sp.; Tsuga canadensis *953,970,3817*.

References for Life History


*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.

Bath County  
Pulaski Co. Pulaski Co.  


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