Desmognathus amphileucus Bishop, 1941

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Plethodontidae > Subfamily: Plethodontinae > Genus: Desmognathus > Species: Desmognathus amphileucus

Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucus Bishop, 1941, Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 451: 12. Holotype: UMMZ 89767, by original designation. Type locality: "Demorest, Habersham County, Georgia", USA. Subspecies status rejected by Pope, 1949, Nat. Hist. Misc., 44: 1–4. See also Neill, 1948, Copeia, 1948: 218, who redelimited the race.

Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucus — Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 214.

Desmognathus amphileucusPyron and Beamer, 2022, Bionomina, 27: 14.

English Names

White-headed Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus amphileucusBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 214).

Nantahala Black-bellied Salamander (Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Bionomina, 27: 17

Southern Black-bellied Salamander (Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Bionomina, 27: 17).

Southern Black-bellied Dusky Salamander (Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 1009).


Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains south of the Great Smoky Mountains and mostly west of the French Broad River (southwestern North Carolina, extreme western South Carolina, extreme southeastern Tennessee, and northeastern Georgia, USA); a possibly introduced disjunct population in the Broad River drainage of Madison County, Georgia, USA. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - Georgia, United States of America - North Carolina, United States of America - South Carolina, United States of America - Tennessee

Endemic: United States of America


As part of a major revision of black-bellied salamanders, removed from the synonymy of nominal Desmognathus quadramaculatus by Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Bionomina, 27: 14, on the basis of molecular, allozymic, and morphological evidence. This taxon is cvbn,./A of  Pyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2020, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 146 (106751): 1–13, and Pyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2022, Ecol. Evol., 12 (2: e8574): 1–38. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 1009–1011, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). Camp, Felix, and Wooten, 2022, Amphibia-Reptilia, 43: 133–140, reported on morphological homoplasy among semi-aquatic species (Desmognathus welteri, Desmognathus folkertsi, northern "quadramaculatus" (now Desmgnathus kanawha), and southern "quadramaculatus" (now Desmognathus amphileucus). Hutcheson, Pierson, and Maerz, 2024, Southeast. Nat., 23: 29–42, reported a possibly introduced population in the Broad River drainage of Madison County, Georgia, USA, as part of a natural history study. 

Under the pre-2022 taxonomy, one widespread nominal species, Desmognathus quadramaculatus was known to be a complex of species. Complicating this was the fact that the name Salamandra quadramaculata Green, 1818, was actually a synonym of Salamandra nigra Green, 1818 (Pyron and Beamer, 2020, Zootaxa, 4838: 226–228). This left a widespread complex of "Black-bellied Salamanders" largely without names (although excepting Desmognathus folkertsi, previously named). Subsequently Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Bionomina, 27: 1–43, remedied this situation with the naming/recognition of Desmognathus amphileucus (former Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' A), Desmognathus gvnigeusgwotli (former Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' F), Desmognathus mavrokoilius (former Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' C, E, and G), and Desmognathus kanawha (former Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' D). As a result, the literature of former Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' is only to be used cautiously for any of the daughter species. 

The former comment under Desmognathus 'quadramaculatus' follows: See detailed accounts by Valentine, 1974, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 153: 1–4, and Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 206–213. Rissler and Taylor, 2003, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 27: 197–211, presented molecular evidence that suggests that this nominal species is a composite of cryptic species, forming a paraphyletic series with respect to Desmognathus marmoratusBeachy and Bruce, 2003, Amphibia-Reptilia, 24: 13-26, reported on a miniturized populations in the Bald Mountains of North Carolina, USA. Watson, Pauley, and Camp, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 723–726, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Jones, Voss, Ptacek, Weisrock, and Tonkyn, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 38: 280–287, and Wooten and Rissler, 2011, Acta Herpetol., Firenze, 6: 175–208, suggested that neither Desmognathus marmoratus nor Desmognathus quadramaculatus are monophyletic, instead being species complexes composed of multiple inter-related lineages. See comment under Desmognathus marmoratus for additional relevant literature. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 430, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 106–107, provided an account of larval morphology. Beamer and Lamb, 2020, Zootaxa, 4734: 1–61, in their discussion of Desmognathus mtDNA phylogenetics, confirmed the intercalation of apparent cryptic species under this name with apparent cryptic species of Desmognatus marmoratusPyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2020, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 146 (106751): 1–13, suggested on molecular grounds that this nominal species is a complex. Pyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2022, Ecol. Evol., 12 (2: e8574): 1–38, provided molecular evidence that nominal Desmognathus quadramaculatus is composed of 4–7 lineages of which one, other than Desmognathus quadramaculatus, already has a name available. 

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