Desmognathus orestes 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae

Scientific Name: Desmognathus orestes
Species Authority: Tilley & Mahoney, 1996
Common Name(s):
English Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (7 July 2014). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-31
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A.
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution and presumed large population.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province, USA, from Floyd County, Virginia, to somewhere 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 about 1.5 km northeast of Iron Mountain Gap on the North Carolina-Tennessee boundary (Tilley and Mahoney 1996). This headwaters area is in Mitchell and Unicoi counties, according to Tilley and Mahoney (1996), or in Avery and Carter counties, according to Petranka (1998).
Countries occurrence:
United States (North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is common at higher elevations throughout its range (Petranka 1998).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found at lower elevations and in winter usually concentrates near seepage areas, springs and small streams. Animals may range into adjacent wooded areas in wet weather. It is more terrestrial at higher elevations, characteristic inhabitant of floor of spruce-fir forests. It is often abundant on wet rock faces. Eggs are laid in wet rock crevices or under rocks, logs or moss in seepage areas or near small streams. The larvae develop in water.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): "Local populations are often severely depressed after clear-cutting, and low-elevation populations might take many decades to recover following intensive timbering" (Petranka et al. 1994, Petranka 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is in minimal need of protection (Petranka 1998). It occurs in several protected areas.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2014. Desmognathus orestes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T59255A64000800. . Downloaded on 30 November 2015.
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