Desmognathus ochrophaeus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Species Authority: Cope, 1859
Common Name(s):
English Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Taxonomic Notes: Populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee have recently been described as a new species; D. ochrophaeus (Anderson and Tilley, 2003).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the USA. Ridges of the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province, including Brumley, Clinch, Walker, and Potts mountains of southwestern Virginia; Cumberland Mountains and Plateau of southeastern Kentucky, and the Allegheny Mountains and Plateau of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York through the Adirondack Mountains to southern Quebec (Tilley and Mahoney 1996). Populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee have recently been described as a new species; D. ochrophaeus (Anderson and Tilley, 2003).
Canada; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It can be found at lower elevations and in winter it 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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats of widespread significance.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None needed. It occurs in many protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Anderson, J.A. and Tilley, S.G. 2003. Systematics of the Desmognathus ochrophaeus complex in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. Herpetological Monographs: 75–110.

Barbour, R.W. 1971. Amphibians and Reptiles of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington.

Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York.

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

DeGraaf, R.M. and Rudis, D.D. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of New England: Habitats and Natural History. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA, USA.

Green, N.B. and Pauley, T.K. 1987. Amphibians and Reptiles in West Virginia. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 November 2004.

Sharbel, T.F. and Bonin, J. 1992. Northernmost record of Desmognathus ochrophaeus: biochemical identification in the Chateauguay River drainage basin, Quebec. Journal of Herpetology: 505-508.

Species at Risk Branch. 2002. Species at Risk Range Maps. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. (, Ottawa.

Tilley, S.G. 1973. Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-4.

Tilley, S.G. 1974. Structure and dynamics of populations of the salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus Cope in different habitats. Ecology: 808-817.

Tilley, S.G. and Mahoney, M.J. 1996. Patterns of genetic differentiation in salamanders of the Desmognathus ochrocephalus complex (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). Herpetological Monographs: 1-41.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Desmognathus ochrophaeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 02 April 2015.
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