Desmognathus aeneus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae

Scientific Name: Desmognathus aeneus Brown and Bishop, 1947
Common Name(s):
English Seepage Salamander

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson, Julian Harrison
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Near Threatened because its Extent of Occurrence is probably not much greater than 20,000 km2, and its habitat, and the number of mature individuals, are in decline, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in relatively isolated, localized populations in south-western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, northern Georgia, and north-central Alabama, USA. In Alabama, an apparent hiatus exists between western populations in the Fall Line Hills region and eastern populations in the Blue Ridge and adjacent piedmont regions, and an apparently disjunctive population is also present in the piedmont of north-eastern Georgia (Harrison 1992). This species occurs at up to 210-1,340m asl in the east, and as low as 30m asl in west-central Alabama. A record from Transylvania County, North Carolina, is based on a misidentified Desmognathus wrighti. There are an estimated 21-100 extant locations in North Carolina (H.W. LeGrand pers. comm.), while Redmond and Scott (1996) mapped 14 collection sites in Tennessee. Williamson and Moulis (1994) mapped 52 collection locations in Georgia. There are possibly 6-20 extant occurrences in Alabama (J.R. Bailey pers. comm.). It was recently discovered at two locations in South Carolina (Livingston, Spencer and Stuart 1995), where the conditions of the occurrences were considered good, although these occurences have not been extensively surveyed (S.H. Bennett pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The total adult population size of this species is unknown. Overall, it is common to sometimes very common in undisturbed, suitable habitat. However, it is sometimes not present in what seems to be suitable habitat. It was not considered rare by the Scientific Council on Reptiles and Amphibians in North Carolina during the late 1980s (H.E. LeGrand pers. comm.). In the southern Appalachians, populations fluctuated over a 20-year period (early 1970s to early 1990s), with no apparent long-term trend (Hairston and Wiley 1993). This species is declining in Alabama (J.R. Bailey pers. comm.), and possibly also in North Carolina (A.L. Braswell pers. comm.). It is listed in Tennessee as in need of management (Redmond and Scott 1996), and is believed to be stable in South Carolina (S.H. Bennett pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It can be found beneath leaf-litter or surface debris on the ground in mixed hardwood forests near small creeks, springs, and seepage areas, and also occurs in damp shaded ravines. Females usually oviposit beneath clumps of moss or other objects within or near seepages or in the vicinity of small streams. Development is direct, so there are no aquatic larvae. Outside the breeding season these salamanders are usually found beneath leaf-litter on the banks of small streams or in the vicinity of seepage areas. They are seldom active on the surface and are probably not very adaptable to habitat degradation.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A significant threat to this species is logging, which has evidently extirpated some Alabama populations (Folkerts 1968). Southern populations are also vulnerable to intensive forest management practices such as clear-cutting. It is moderately threatened in Alabama by conversion of hardwood forest to pine plantations (J.R. Bailey pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species does occur in several protected areas, but to assist its conservation forest buffers should also be left around seepages and headwater streams in areas scheduled for logging (Petranka 1998).

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson, Julian Harrison. 2004. Desmognathus aeneus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T59243A11905725. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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