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Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander

Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander
   Photo: Frank Burbrink©2007

Features: The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus) is a medium-sized salamander that can grow to about 10 cm in length. Adults are brownish and can have a widely variable coloration pattern. Usually, it has a light stripe down the back, with a row of dark spots on the centre and flanked by dark pigments. As in all members of the genus, the hind legs are larger and stouter than the front legs. This species belongs to the "lungless salamander" family (Plethodontidae), and adults must keep their skin moist to breathe. It is a somewhat terrestrial salamander that can be found under stones, logs, and bark near springs, streams and other areas where the ground is saturated with water.

Status: Endangered Provincially, Threatened Nationally

Range: The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander is an Appalachian species that ranges from New York south to northern Georgia and Alabama. In Canada, it was known from only two localities in Quebec, but recently it has been discovered on the escarpment of the Niagara Gorge in Ontario.

Threats: The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander is at the edge of its range in Ontario and was likely never common or widespread here. Its proximity to a relatively large urban centre (Niagara Falls) means that human activity could be a threat. In particular, pollution of the streams or reduction in water flow as a result of water extraction could be significant threats.

Protection: Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007 protects the Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander from being killed, harmed, or possessed. Salamanders are protected on Niagara Parks Commission property under the Niagara Parks Act, which makes it illegal to hunt,trap, or molest any animal without a government permit. A Dusky Salamander Recovery Team has been established to develop a strategy for the recovery of this species and the related Northern Dusky Salamander (D. fuscus).

Text Sources: Conant and Collins 1998

Last Modified Date: October 2008

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