Desmognathus planiceps Newman, 1955

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

Desmognathus planiceps Newman, 1955, J. Washington Acad. Sci., 45: 83. Holotype: USNM 143559, by museum records (formerly WBN 1316, by original designation). Type locality: "from a portion of the stream (approximate elevation 2800 feet) dropping down into the gorge below the Dan River Dam near Meadows of Dan. Patrick County, V[irgini]a.", USA.

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

English Names

Flat-headed Salamander (Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 174; Conant, 1958, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am.: 219; 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.: 50; Highton, Bonett, and Jockusch, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 26).

Flat-headed Dusky Salamander (Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 994).


Streams draining the southeastern escarpment of the Blue Ridge Mountains from southern Roanoke County, Virginia, southward to at least the headwaters of the Dan River, Patrick County, and eastward in the Piedmont to at least Pittsylvania County; specimens referable to this species are also known from a locality in the interior Blue Ridge Physiographic Province (New River drainage, Floyd County), Virginia, USA, possibly into adjacent North Carolina.

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - Virginia

Likely/Controversially Present: United States of America - North Carolina

Endemic: United States of America


Removed from the synonymy of Desmognathus fuscus by Raffaëlli, 2007, Les Urodèles du Monde: 334, and Tilley, Eriksen, and Katz, 2008, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 152: 115–130, where it had been placed by Martof and Rose, 1962, Copeia, 1962: 215–216. Raffaëlli, 2013, Urodeles du Monde, 2nd ed.: 426, provided a brief account, photograph, and range map. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 103, 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 Desmognathus planiceps is genalogically cohesive with some hybridization with Desmognathus fuscus as previously noted. Raffaëlli, 2022, Salamanders & Newts of the World: 994–995, provided an account summarizing systematics, morphology, life history, population status, and distribution (including a polygon map). Tighe, 2022, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 654: 30, noted the current location of paratypes.

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