Desmognathus auriculatus (Holbrook, 1838)

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

Salamandra auriculata Holbrook, 1838, N. Am. Herpetol., 3: 115. Type(s): Animal figured on pl. 28; listed by Dunn, 1926, Salamanders Fam. Plethodontidae: 98, as USNM 3901, but not mentioned in USNM list of types by Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220, and discounted by Adler, 1976, Holbrook’s N. Am. Herpetol.: xxxviii. Specimens of this taxon presented to ANSP by Holbrook according to Hallowell, 1858, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 3: 344. MNHNP 4675 discussed and designated lectotype by Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Zootaxa, 5134: 164. Type locality: "Riceborough, [Liberty County,] in Georgia", USA. Lectotype from "Georgie" but restricted to "Woodmanston Plantation near Riceboro, Liberty Co., Georgia" with discussion by Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Zootaxa, 5134: 164.. 

Desmognathus auriculatusBaird, 1850 "1849", J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 1: 286.

Cylindrosoma auriculatumDuméril, Bibron, and Duméril, 1854, Erp. Gen., 9: 81.

Plethodon auriculatumHallowell, 1858, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 3: 344.

Desmognathus fuscus var. auriculataCope, 1869, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 21: 116.

Desmognathus fuscus auriculatusBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 78.

Desmognathus auriculataLönnberg, 1894, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 17: 337.

Desmognathus fuscus carri Neill, 1951, Publ. Res. Div. Ross Allen’s Rept. Inst., 1: 25. Holotype: ERA-WTN 14188, by original designation; now in UF. Type locality: "Silver Glen Springs, in the Ocala National Forest, Marion County, Florida", USA. Subspecies status as distinct from Desmognathus auriculatus rejected by Rossman, 1959, Herpetologica, 15: 149-155, and Means, 1974, Bull. Florida State Mus., Biol. Sci., 18: 36. See comment. 

Desmognathus auriculatusValentine, 1963, Copeia, 1963: 130.

Desmognathus (Desmognathus) auriculatusDubois and Raffaëlli, 2012, Alytes, 28: 145. See comment under Desmognathus regarding the status of these subgenera. 

English Names

Eared Triton (Desmognathus auriculatus: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 22).

Eared Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus auriculatus: Löding, 1922, Mus. Pap. Alabama Mus. Nat. Hist., 5: 15).

Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus: Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 193; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 263; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 5; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 31; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 6; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 20; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 16; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 11; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 25; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 42; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 25).

Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus auriculatus: Viosca, 1949, Pop. Sci. Bull., Louisiana Acad. Sci., 1: 9).

Southeastern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus auriculatus: Carr, 1940, Univ. Florida Biol. Sci. Ser., 3: 51).

Coast Plain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 29).

Ocala Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus carri [no longer recognized]: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 29).

Peninsula Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus carri [no longer recognized]: Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174).


Coastal Plain of Georgia and adjacent northern Florida, western to southern Alabama adjacent to the Florida panhandle, USA. See comment. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - Alabama, United States of America - Florida, United States of America - Georgia

Endemic: United States of America


With the recognition of Desmognathus valtos, much of the earlier literature of nominal Desmognathus auriculatus addresses both species, so employ caution in using all literature prior to 2022. See detailed acounts by Means, 1999, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 681: 1–6, and Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 164–166. Beamer and Lamb, 2008, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 47: 143–153, discussed the status of populations of this nominal species on the basis of an mtDNA phylogeny and suggested that populations had previously been misidentified due to morphological plasticity convergence, rather than mitochondial introgression; specimens from eastern Texas previously assigned to this species are actually Desmognathus conanti. Further, they suggested that the population from which the type-specimen is restricted to the area of the Coastal Plain of Georgia and that populations, other populations formerly assigned to Desmognathus "auriculatus" being parts of nominal Desmognathus fuscus, Desmognathus conanti, or and unnamed species. Means, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 700–701, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 101–102, provided an account of larval morphology. Means, Lamb, and Bernardo, 2017, Zootaxa, 4263: 467–506, redlimited the species. Pyron, 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 composed of three lineages which they designatus A, B, and C. Pyron and Beamer, 2022, Zootaxa, 5188: 587–595, demonstrated that Desmognathus auriculatus A can confidently be assigned the name Desmognathus auriculatus, and B/C can be assigned to their new Desmognathus valtos. Pyron, Beamer, Holzheuser, Lemmon, Lemmon, Wynn, and O'Connell, 2022, Conserv. Genetics, 23: 375–386, suggested on the basis of DNA extracted from formalin-fixed specimens that nominal Desmognathus fuscus carri (and the associated Florida peninsular populations of Desmognathus auriculatus) may have formed a distinctive population of Desmognathus auriculatus, all now extinct. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 1000–1001, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map).

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