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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de 
Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Desmognathus ochrophaeus
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander /
Salamandre sombre des Montagnes

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander

The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander varies enormously in colour and pattern, but Canadian populations are less varied. Generally it has a wide band running down its back with dark V-shaped marks. A key diagnostic feature of dusky salamanders is the pale line that runs from the eye diagonally to the jaw. It has a rounded tail. The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander can grow to 11 cm in total length, counting its long tail.

Confusing Species
The most similar looking species is the Northern Two-lined Salamander, which has a yellowish band running down its back, bordered by two dark lines. However, in some individuals the line is broken or faint. It lacks the diagonal eye line. There is also the closely related Dusky Salamander. It can be tan to dark brown in colour and be either plain or mottled. It also has the line from eye to jaw, but the shape of tail is triangular rather than round.

First discovered in Canada in the late 1980's, the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander is found in extreme southern Quebec and has recently been discovered in the Niagara Gorge close to Niagara Falls in Ontario. It is possible that other populations remain undiscovered in the area. The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander has a limited range outside of Canada, being largely limited to the area of the Appalachians.

The preferred habitat for the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander is spring-fed rocky creeks in forested areas. They are rarely found far from water.

Breeding generally occurs in the spring. Females lay up to 25 eggs in grape-like clusters attached to moss or rotting logs near water. The female generally remains with the eggs until they hatch. The larvae are less than 1.5 cm long when they hatch. They transform sometime the following summer and become mature in three to four years.

Natural History
Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamanders are frequently found under rocks next to creeks. They eat a variety of insects and other invertebrates. During the winter, they can remain active in the water.

Conservation Concerns
Given the limited distribution in Canada, the Allegheny Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander has been designated Threatened in Québec and Endangered in Ontario by COSEWIC.