Desmognathus ochrophaeus - Cope, 1859
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
Other English Common Names: Allegheny Dusky Salamander, Allegheny mountain dusky salamander, Mountain Dusky Salamander
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Desmognathus ochrophaeus Cope, 1859 (TSN 173641)
French Common Names: salamandre sombre des montagnes
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100634
Element Code: AAAAD03070
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)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Tilley, S. G., and M. J. Mahoney. 1996. Patterns of genetic differentiation in salamanders of the Desmognathus ochrophaeus complex (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). Herpetological Monographs 10:1-41.
Concept Reference Code: A96TIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Taxonomic Comments: Based on patterns of allozyme variation, Tilley and Mahoney (1996) split Desmognathus ochrophaeus into four species: D. ochrophaeus, D. carolinensis, D. ocoee, and D. orestes.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 26Apr2005
Global Status Last Changed: 16Oct2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in eastern North America; often abundant; many stable populations; no major threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2N3 (08Aug2017)

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 Kentucky (S4), Maryland (S5), New Jersey (SH), New York (S5), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (S5), Tennessee (S5), Virginia (S4), West Virginia (S4)
Canada New Brunswick (SNR), Ontario (S1), Quebec (S1)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):PS:E,T
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: 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 and southern Ontario (recently confirmed in the latter province; K. Vlasman, pers. comm., 2005, based on information from David Green); populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee have not been studied electrophoretically and may or may not represent this species (Tilley and Mahoney 1996). Elevational range at least 168-1,280 m (based on data in Tilley and Mahoney 1996).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy is unknown but likely more than 20,000 sq km.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout the range.

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 Comments: No major threats of widespread significance.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Likely stable to slightly declining, but no data are available.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Probably relatively stable in extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, and population size.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Narrow to moderate.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) 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 and southern Ontario (recently confirmed in the latter province; K. Vlasman, pers. comm., 2005, based on information from David Green); populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee have not been studied electrophoretically and may or may not represent this species (Tilley and Mahoney 1996). Elevational range at least 168-1,280 m (based on data in Tilley and Mahoney 1996).

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: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States KY, MD, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
Canada NB, ON, QC

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

Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Lays up to about 30 eggs in spring, summer, or fall. Female remains with eggs until hatching. Larvae hatch summer to fall, metamorphose in 2-8 months.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Cliff, Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: At lower elevations and in winter usually concentrates near seepage areas, springs, and small streams; may range into adjacent wooded areas in wet weather. More terrestrial at higher elevations, characteristic inhabitant of floor of spruce-fir forests. 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.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats a variety of small terrestrial invertebrates. Worms, beetles, and fly larvae are important foods.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Active at all seasons in mild weather in south. Annual activity season (spring-fall) longer for populations in seepage areas. Most active at night but diurnal activity also is common.
Length: 11 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Uncut buffer zones should be maintained along upland streams.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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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
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Apr2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 18Oct1997
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
  • Alvo, R. ET J. Bonin. 1998. COSEWIC Status Report on the Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) in Canada. 23 p.

  • Alvo, R., and J. Bonin. 1998. COSEWIC Status Report on the Mountain Dusky Salamander, (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 23 pp.

  • Alvo, R., and J. Bonin. 1998. Status report on the mountain dusky salamander, Desmognathus ochrophaeus, in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 51 pp.

  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques d'amphibiens du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 2 pages.

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

  • Beaulieu, H. 1992. Liste des espèces de la faune vertébrée susceptibles d'être désignées menacées ou vulnérables. Ministère du Loisir, de la Chasse et de la Pêche. 107 p.

  • 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.

  • Bider, R. J. et S. Matte. 1994. Atlas des amphibiens et des reptiles du Québec. Société d'histoire naturelle de la vallée du Saint-Laurent, Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune, Direction de la faune et des habitats. 106 p.

  • Bishop, S.C. 1941. The salamanders of New York. New York State Museum Bulletin No. 324. Albany, NY.

  • 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.

  • Bonin, J. 2001. Update on the status of Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Extract from the original document: Strategie de retablissement des salamandres des ruisseaux du complexe appalachian: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus, Desmognathus ochrophaeus et Desmognathus fuscus. Unpublished report to the Canadian Wildlife Service and Societe de la faune et des parcs du Quebec. March 2001. 7pp.

  • COSEWIC 2007. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus (Great Lakes/St. Lawrence population and Carolinian population) in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. viii + 32 pp. (www.sararegistry.gc.ca/status/status_e.cfm).

  • Chambers, R.E. 1983. Integrating timber and wildlife management. State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp.

  • DEGRAFF, R.M. AND D.D.RUDIS. 1983. AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF NEW ENGLAND. HABITATS AND NATURAL HISTORY. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS PRESS. 83PP.

  • DeGraaf, R. M., and D. D. Rudis. 1983a. Amphibians and reptiles of New England. Habitats and natural history. Univ. Massachusetts Press. vii + 83 pp.

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  • Desrosiers, N. 2003. Fiches de caractérisation et mesures spécifiques d'atténuation des espèces fauniques menacées, vulnérables ou susceptibles d'être ainsi désignées. Fiches préparées pour les espèces présentes dans la zone affectée par la tempête de ve

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

  • 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

  • Markle, T. M., and D. M. Green. Molecular identification of Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders, Desmognathus ochrophaeus, in Southern Ontario. Report for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Redpath Museum, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. 8pp.

  • Mccoy, C.J. 1982. Amphibians and Reptiles in Pennsylvania. Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Special Publication No. 6, Pittsburgh. B82MCC01PAUS.

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  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 1985. Checklist of the amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of New York State, including their protective status. Nongame Unit. Wildlife Resources Center. Delmar, NY.

  • 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.

  • Oldham, M.J. 2007. COSSARO Candidate Species at Risk Evaluation Form for Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus). Natural Heritage Information Centre. Prepared for Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough. April, 14 pp.

  • Sharbel, T. F., and J. Bonin. 1992. Northernmost record of Desmognathus ochrophaeus: biochemical identification in the Chateauguay River drainage basin, Quebec. J. Herpetol. 26:505-508.

  • Société de la faune et des parcs du Québec. 2003. Les espèces menacées [en ligne]. Disponible sur le site Internet. - Accès :«http://www.fapaq.gouv.qc.ca/fr/etu_rec/esp_mena_vuln/index.htm». La société, 2003 [Réf. 3 novembre 2003] .

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  • TILLEY, S. G. 1973. DESMOGNATHUS OCHROPHAEUS. CAT. AM. AMPHIB. AND REPTILES. PP. 129.1-129.4.

  • Tilley, S. G. 1974. Structure and dynamics of populations of the salamander Desmognathus ochrophaeus Cope in different habitats. Ecology 55:808-817.

  • Tilley, S. G., and M. J. Mahoney. 1996. Patterns of genetic differentiation in salamanders of the Desmognathus ochrophaeus complex (Amphibia: Plethodontidae). Herpetological Monographs 10:1-41.

  • Tilley, S.G. 1973. Desmognathus ochrophaeus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 129:1-4.

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