Carolina Swamp Dusky Salamander
(Desmognathus valtos)

Formerly known as Holbrook’s Southern Dusky Salamander or Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus), this species split 2022 restricting the range of the Southern Dusky Salamander to Georgia and Florida. The recently described Carolina Swamp Dusky Salamander is found in the coastal plain of Virginia, the Carolinas, and a few counties in Georgia. As their name suggests, they inhabit very muddy floodplains with thick levels of humus as well as blackwater cypress streams and can be extremely aquatic.

Being so aquatic, they have a very keeled tail. Their ventral patterning is a dark gray with white spotting on it and their dorsal patterning can vary from spotting to a large stripe to a nondescript brown. They have characteristic white or red “porthole” dotting down the sides of the body.

This species most similarly resembles the Spotted Dusky Salamander, but their ventral coloration is the inverse of one another. The Carolina Swamp Dusky has a dark belly with light flecking, while the Spotted Dusky has a light belly with dark flecking. 

Contributed by Kevin Hutcheson (6/21/2023)