Desmognathus monticola - Dunn, 1916
Seal Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Desmognathus monticola Dunn, 1916 (TSN 173640)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102693
Element Code: AAAAD03060
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Plethodontidae Desmognathus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Desmognathus monticola
Taxonomic Comments: Two subspecies, monticola and jeffersoni, have been recognized by some authors. The latter has been thought to be confined to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but Folkerts (1968) noted several indications of intermediacy between the two described forms in Alabama, thus casting doubt on the validity of these subspecific designations. Because of the evident taxonomic uncertainty, Mount (1975) chose not to assign Alabama populations to subspecies. Recent major accounts of the species and subspecies of North American amphibians and reptiles (Collins 1990; Conant and Collins 1991) regarded D. monticola as having no valid subspecies.
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Feb2012
Global Status Last Changed: 17Oct2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure in most of the historical range in the Appalachian region of the eastern United States.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Florida (S1), Georgia (S5), Kentucky (S5), Maryland (S5), North Carolina (S5), Pennsylvania (S3S4), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Southwestern Pennsylvania southwest in uplands through West Virginia, western Maryland, western and northern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western South Carolina, and northern Georgia to central Alabama and disjunctly to southern Alabama and the extreme western tip of the Florida panhandle (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Evidently does not occur north or west of the Ohio River in the northern part of the range.

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout the range, based on available detailed distribution maps (e.g., Mount 1975, Green and Pauley 1987, Redmond and Scott 1996, Hulse et al. 2001).

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Data are lacking, but likely there are more than 40 occurrences with good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Unknown
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major pervasive threats are known.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Likely stable to slightly declining, but supporting data are not available. 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).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable, but supporting data are not available.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Southwestern Pennsylvania southwest in uplands through West Virginia, western Maryland, western and northern Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, western South Carolina, and northern Georgia to central Alabama and disjunctly to southern Alabama and the extreme western tip of the Florida panhandle (Conant and Collins 1991, Petranka 1998). Evidently does not occur north or west of the Ohio River in the northern part of the range.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
FL Escambia (12033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Escambia (03140305)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Help
Reproduction Comments: Females with 15-40 eggs have been seen June-October. Oviposition probably is concentrated in July in western North Carolina (Bruce and Hairston 1990). Eggs hatch late summer to early fall. Larval period varies in length, includes aquatic phase. In western North Carolina, larval period lasts 9-10 months, August-September to May-June; sexually mature usually not sooner than 2 years after metamorphosis; male require 4-5 years to attain sexual maturity, females first oviposit at 5-7 years (Bruce 1989; Castanet et al. 1996, Herpetologica 52:160-171; Bruce et al. 2002). See Bruce and Hairston (1990) for further information on life history of North Carolina populations.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, Moderate gradient, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Mountain streams, small rocky spring-fed brooks in hardwood- shaded ravines, seepeages, muddy section of streams. Hides under rocks or moss, and in burrows in mud banks. Sometimes perches on wet rocks. Eggs are laid on undersides of rocks or leaves in water or seepages; also under or in logs near water.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Occasionally eats small salamanders.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Length: 15 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary
Help
Management Requirements: Avoid impoundment of mountain streams, clearcutting, and intensive harvesting along streamcourses. Uncut buffers should be maintained along upland streams.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
Group Name: Aquatic/Wetland Plethodontid Salamanders

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy highway, especially with high traffic volume at night; other totally inappropriate habitat that the salamanders cannot traverse.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Separation distance for stream-dwelling species along riverine corridors: 10 stream km. Separation distance for other freshwater aquatic and wetland habitats: 3 km. Separation distance for upland habitat: 1 km.
Separation Justification: These salamanders rarely successfully cross roadways that have heavy traffic volume at night, when most movements occur. Salamanders in this Specs Group, except strictly subterranean species, tend to be able to traverse upland habitat when conditions are wet, and generally they can pass through atypical wetland and aquatic habitats to reach another patch of suitable habitat. However, Grover and Wilbur (2002) created replicated seeps at distances of 3, 15, and more than 30 m from streams or natural seeps and found that Desmognathus fuscus and Gyrinophilus porphyriticus colonized the new seeps at 3 m and 15 m but were rare or absent at new seeps more than 30 m from the nearest stream or natural seep.

Although these specifications do not include rivers as barriers, Adams and Beachy (2001) documented morphological variation among populations of Gyrinophilus porphyriticus in the southern Appalachian Mountains and found patterns "consistent with the hypothesis that large rivers restrict sizable gene flow." Large rivers probably function at least as unsuitable habitat for many species in this Specs Group.

Compared to larger ambystomatid salamanders, the movements of plethodontids are poorly documented, but home ranges likely tend to be very small, on the order of a few meters to a few dozen meters in length or diameter. Yet, on occasion, dispersing individuals likely travel at least several hundred meters, and stream-dwelling species likely disperse much farther along riverine corridors. Over a number of years, it is likely that these salamanders can spread multiple kilometers through suitable habitat.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .1 km
Date: 28Oct2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 21Mar2002
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Jul2002
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Barbour, R. W. 1971. Amphibians and reptiles of Kentucky. Univ. Press of Kentucky, Lexington. x + 334 pp.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

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

  • Bruce, R. C. 1989. Life history of the salamander DESMOGNATHUS MONTICOLA, with a comparison of the larval periods of D. MONTICOLA and D. OCHROPHAEUS. Herpetologica 45:144-155.

  • Bruce, R. C., J. Castanet, and H. Francillon-Viellot. 2002. Skeletochronological analysis of variation in age structure, body size, and life history in three species of desmognathine salamanders. Herpetologica 58:181-193.

  • Bruce, R. C., and N. G. Hairston, Sr. 1990. Life-history correlates of body-size differences between two populations of the salamander, DESMOGNATHUS MONTICOLA. J. Herpetol. 24:124-134.

  • CONANT, R. 1975. A FIELD GUIDE TO REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF E. AND CENTRAL N. AMERICA. 2ND EDITION. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN CO., BOSTON, MA.

  • CONANT, R., AND J.T. COLLINS. 1991. A FIELD GUIDE TO REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS, EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA, THIRD ED. HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. 450 PP.

  • Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84.

  • Folkerts, G. W. 1968. The genus Desmognathus Baird (Amphibia: Plethodontidae) in Alabama. Ph.D. diss., Auburn Univ., Auburn, Alabama. 129 pp.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Green, N. B., and T. K. Pauley. 1987. Amphibians and reptiles in West Virginia. University of Pittsburg Press, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. xi + 241 pp.

  • Hairston, N. G., Sr., and R. H. Wiley. 1993. No decline in salamander (Amphibia: Caudata) populations: a twenty-year study in the southern Appalachians. Brimleyana 18:59-64.

  • Hulse, A. C., C. J. McCoy, and E. Censky. 2001. Amphibians and reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press, Ithaca. 419 pp.

  • Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, and P. E. Moler. 2011. Atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Florida. Final report to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Submitted 15 December 2011.

  • MCCOY CJ 1982 AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES IN PENNSYLVANIA: CHECKLIST, BIBLIOGRAPHY, AND ATLAS OF DISTRIBUTION. SP PUB CARNEGIE MUS NAT HIST, NO 6 PG 1-91,74MAPS

  • MEANS, D.B., AND C.J. LONGDEN. 1970. OBSERVATIONS ON THE OCCURRENCE OF DESMOGNATHUS MONTICOLA IN FLORIDA. HERPETOLOGICA 26:396-399.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Moler, P. E., editor. 1992. Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida. Volume III. Amphibians and Reptiles. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville. xviii + 291 pp.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

  • ORGAN, J. A. 1961. STUDIES OF THE LOCAL DISTRIBUTION, LIFE HISTORY AND POPLUATION DYNAMICS OF THE SALAMANDER GENUS DESMOGNATHUS IN VIRGINIA. ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS 31(2):189-220.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D. C.

  • ROUDEBUSH, R. E., AND D. H. TAYLOR. 1987. CHEMICAL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN TWO SPECIES OF DESMOGNATHINI SALAMANDER. COPEIA 1987(3):744-748

  • Redmond, W. H., and A. F. Scott. 1996. Atlas of amphibians in Tennessee. The Center for Field Biology, Austin Peay State University, Miscellaneous Publication Number 12. v + 94 pp.

  • SEYLE, W., AND G. K. WILLIAMSON. 1988 (IN PREP). REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF GEORGIA: RANGE MAPS

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.