Spotted Dusky Salamander
(Desmognathus conanti)

Another wide-ranging and complex dusky salamander, Spotted Duskies are found in first and second order streams and seepages across the Southeastern US. They are often considered in a complex with Northern Duskies, but are in fact a complex of several species – this is one of two species of this complex found in South Carolina. They do occupy a similar niche as their northern counterparts though and are found at low elevation when they range into mountainous areas. They are typically the most common dusky salamander in their range.

They are highly variable in appearance. They come in a variety of colorations and patterning but generally have some form of dorsal spotting or diamonds. They have a slightly keeled tail with light toe tips and a salt and pepper ventral area.

They are best differentiated from thier sister species, the Foothills Dusky Salamander, by range. As for species they may overlap with, Spotted Dusky Salamanders are most likely to be confused the Carolina Swamp Dusky Salamander as well as Seal Salamanders. All of these salamanders have a similar body shape but the Carolina Swamp Dusky has a black ventral with white spotting, while the Spotted Dusky has more of a light ventral with black flecking. Seal Salamanders have a completely plain belly with no black. Spotted Dusky Salamanders are also identical to Northern Dusky Salamander, however they two are allopatric from one another.

Contributed by Kevin Hutcheson (6/21/2023)