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South Central ARMI

Guide to Louisiana Amphibians

Spotted dusky salamander (Desmognathus conanti)

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  Image of Spotted dusky salamander (Desmognathus conanti)
  Photo: Jeromi Hefner
Click on the image to display a larger version.
  Range Map for Spotted dusky salamander (Desmognathus conanti)
  Range map source: USGS National Amphibian Atlas, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Medium-sized, stocky salamander ranging from 3 to 6.4 inches. Dorsum is dark orange to golden brown in coloration with reddish orange line outlined in dark brown running from jaw to eye. Venter is light and mottled with black, white, or gold flecks. Back limbs are stocky when compared to fore limbs. There are two morphologically different types in Louisiana: ravine dweller and muck land form. The ravine dweller has fewer gill filaments while in larval stage and is lightly colored and heavily patterned as an adult. The muck land form is dark in coloration and has one or two rows of "portholes," spots outlined in white. Both varieties are very active at night. Females lay up to 36 eggs in small, damp cavities beneath the ground from July to early September. Females guard eggs aggressively for about a month. Eggs hatch in late October and early November. Larvae grow quickly on land but may eventually enter water. Individuals are abundant around seepages, under logs and debris, and in very shallow water and stream banks. Species occurs throughout the State in swampy areas or ravines.

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