Desmognathus conanti Rossman, 1958

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

Desmognathus fuscus conanti Rossman, 1958, Herpetologica, 14: 158. Holotype: AMNH 62223, by original designation. Type locality: "400 feet el[evation]., near U.S. Highway 60, 2.1 mi. S. Smithland, Livingston Co[unty]., K[entuck]y", USA.

Desmognathus conantiTitus and Larson, 1996, Syst. Biol., 45: 462.

Desmognathus (Desmognathus) conantiDubois and Raffaëlli, 2012, Alytes, 28: 144. See comment under Desmognathus regarding the status of this subgenus. 

English Names

Spotted Dusky Salamander (Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 262; 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: 21; 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.: 44; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 25).


Lowland drainages east of the Mississippi River from extreme southern Illinois and extreme western Kentucky south throughout Tennessee (and likely into extreme western North Carolina) to northwestern Georgia, all of Alabama to the Panhandle of Florida, and northeastern Mississippi to southeastern Louisiana east of the Mississippi River, USA, below 900 m elevation. Possibly formerly in Arkansas, 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, United States of America - Illinois, United States of America - Kentucky, United States of America - Louisiana, United States of America - Mississippi, United States of America - Missouri, United States of America - North Carolina, United States of America - Tennessee

Likely/Controversially Present: United States of America - Arkansas

Endemic: United States of America


Karlin and Guttman, 1986, Herpetologica, 42: 283–301, reported on genic variation in Desmognathus fuscus (as including Desmognathus fuscus conanti) and noted that northern (Desmognathus fuscus fuscus) and southern (Desmognathus fuscus conanti) populations may not represent a single species. Titus and Larson, 1996, Syst. Biol., 45: 451–472, subsequently recognized Desmognathus conanti as distinct. Petranka, 1998, Salamand. U.S. Canada: 176, continued to recognized Desmoganthus conanti as a subspecies of Desmognathus fuscus. Bonett, 2002, Copeia, 2002: 344–355, studied the contact zone in Tennessee of Desmognathus conanti and Desmognathus fuscus and confirmed the distinctiveness of these species and further noted that Desmognathus conanti might be a composite of two species, one in northeastern Alabama to South Carolina and the other in western Kentucky to northern Alabama and southwest-central Mississippi. Kozak, Larson, Bonett, and Harmon, 2005, Evolution, 59: 2000–2016, provided a molecular phylogenetics study that suggested four species under this name. Graham, Timpe, and Giovanetto, 2008, Herpetol. Rev., 38: 494-495, provided a record for Marion County, Georgia, USA, the southernmost record in that state. Means and Bonett, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 705–706, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Beamer and Lamb, 2008, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 47: 143–153, reported on phylogenetics of Desmognathus on the Gulf Coastal Plain and redelimited the species and its range. See comment under Desmognathus fuscus regarding complex molecular and morphological patterns in eastern Tennessee. Tilley, Bernardo, Katz, López, Roll, Eriksen, Kratovil, Bittner, and Crandall, 2013, Ecol. Evol., 3: 2547–2567, suggested that populations in eastern nominally of this species of unique mtDNA genomes, suggesting cryptic species. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 427, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 13, provided an account of larval morphology. 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. Pyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2022, Ecol. Evol., 12 (2: e8574): 1–38, provided molecular evidence that Desmognathus conanti is a lineage-species complex. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 995–998, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). Pyron and Beamer, 2023, Zootaxa, 5311: 451–504, restricted the name to the matrilines conanti B/D, conanti C, and conanti γ of the stated range, also noting that the Crowleys Ridge, Arkansas, population, which otherwise would require confirmation, is extirpated. These authors also detailed morphometrics, molecular markers, and a hybrid zone with Desmognathus santeetlah. Literature of nominal Desmognathus conanti prior to 2023 also may address other species now named as new, such as  Desmognathus catahoula

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