Desmognathus orestes Tilley and Mahoney, 1996

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

Desmognathus orestes Tilley and Mahoney, 1996, Herpetol. Monogr., 10: 27. Holotype: AMNH 146066, by original designation. Type locality: "a seepage area at 1329 m above sea level in the headwaters of Daves Branch, along the Elk Garden trail just north of Elk Garden on the divide between Mt. Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Smyth Co[unty]., Virginia", USA.

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

English Names

Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Tilley and Mahoney, 1996, Herpetol. Monogr., 10: 27; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 6; 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: 12; Tilley, Highton, and Wake, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 26; Powell, Conant, and Collins, 2016, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. North Am., 4th ed.: 49; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 26).


From Floyd County, Virginia, to between Linville Falls and McKinney Gap on the Blue Ridge Divide (Burke and McDowell counties, North Carolina) and to the headwaters of Toms and Clark Creeks ca. 1.5 miles northeast of Iron Mountain Gap on the North Carolina-Tennessee boundary (Mitchell–Unicoi counties), USA.

Geographic Occurrence

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

Endemic: United States of America


See comment under Desmognathus carolinensis. Tilley and Mahoney, 1996, Herpetol. Monogr., 10: 1–42, Tilley, 1997, J. Heredity, 88: 305–315, and Highton, 2000, in Bruce et al., Biol. Plethodontid Salamanders: 233, suggested that two species might be covered under this one name. Mead, Tilley, and Katz, 2001, Evolution, 55: 2287–2302, discussed molecular geographic variation in the species. Camp and Tilley, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 721–723, provided an account containing a detailed summary of the literature and range. Kozak, Larson, Bonett, and Harmon, 2005, Evolution, 59: 2000–2016, provided a molecular phylogenetics study that suggested two species under this name. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 422–423, 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. Pyron, O'Connell, Lemmon, Lemmon, and Beamer, 2022, Ecol. Evol., 12 (2: e8574): 1–38, provided molecular evidence that the population on Unaka Mountain, North Carolina, shows some hybridization with Desmognathus ochrophaeus, but may be a distinct species. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 980–981, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map).

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