Desmognathus carolinensis Dunn, 1916

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

Desmognathus ochrophaea carolinensis Dunn, 1916, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 29: 74. Holotype: USNM 31135, by original designation. Type locality: "spring near top of Mt. Mitchell, [Buncombe County,] North Carolina, altitude 'over 6500 feet'", USA.

Desmognathus fuscus carolinensisPope, 1924, Am. Mus. Novit., 153: 4.

Desmognathus carolinensisBrimley, 1928, Copeia, 166: 21; Tilley and Mahoney, 1996, Herpetol. Monogr., 10: 23.

Desmognathus ochrophaeus carolinensisBishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 203.

Desmognathus (Desmognathus) carolinensisDubois and Raffaëlli, 2012, Alytes, 28: 144. See generic record for comment on the status of these subgenera. 

English Names

Carolina Mountain Salamander (Bishop, 1943, Handb. Salamanders: 203).

Blue Ridge Mountain Salamander (Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 30; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174).

Carolina Dusky Salamander (Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 6; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 11).

Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander (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; 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.: 43; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 25).


Southwestern Blue Ridge region from between Linville Falls and McKinney Gap (Burke and McDowell counties, North Carolina) on the Blue Ridge Divide and Iron Mountain Gap on the North Carolina–Tennessee boundary (Mitchell-Unicoi counties, North Carolina–Tennessee) to the valley of the Pigeon River (Haywood and Buncombe counties, North Carolina), USA.

Geographic Occurrence

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

Endemic: United States of America


Removed from the synonymy of Desmognathus ochrophaeus by Tilley and Mahoney, 1996, Herpetol. Monogr., 10: 1–42. Tilley, 1997, J. Heredity, 88: 305–315, noted that strong genetic differentiation over short distances. Mead and Tilley, 2000, in Bruce et al., Biol. Plethodontid Salamanders: 181–198, reported on a hybrid zone between Desmognathus carolinensis and Desmognathus orestes. Highton, 2000, in Bruce et al., Biol. Plethodontid Salamanders: 231, suggested that two species might be covered under this one name. See comment under Desmognathus fuscus and Desmognathus santeetlah egarding complex molecular and morphological patterns in eastern Tennessee. See Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 169–173, for a detailed account. Camp and Tilley, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 703–705, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Tilley, Bernardo, Katz, López, Roll, Eriksen, Kratovil, Bittner, and Crandall, 2013, Ecol. Evol., 3: 2547–2567. reported on a population morphologically indistinguishable from this species which hybridizes with Desmognathus carolinensis and Desmognathus santeetlah and another unnamed form.  Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 423, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 105–106, provided an account of larval morphology. Beamer and Lamb, 2020, Zootaxa, 4734: 1–61, in their discussion of Desmognathus mtDNA phylogenetics, discussed the intercalation of mtDNA haplotypes with various populations of Desmognathus fuscusRaffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 981–982, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). Tighe, 2022, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 654: 29, noted the current location of paratypes of Desmognathus ochrophaeus carolinensis.  

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